By GalTimer Dana Keller
Patricia. Galen. Mary. Cheryl. Myra. Barbara. Kathy. All very, very close friends of mine at one period of time in my life or another to whom I never or rarely speak anymore. I have heard the sayings about some friends being friends for a time and others for a lifetime, but I've never been able to reconcile my heart with my head on that one. That I have somehow managed to lose so many close friends over the years has been a source of pain for me for quite some time.
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Other women talk about their best friends from grade school or high school, girls that grew up in their neighborhood and were Maids of Honor at their weddings. Girls, now women, that they meet once a year in Vegas, or go on cruises with, giggling about old times. I don't have that. I just don't. And I've struggled to understand why.
I didn't move around growing up. I didn't change schools or have any of the common circumstances you would think might cause this lack of a posse. I lived in basically the same neighborhood until I was 38 years old, so why have I not been able to maintain lifelong friendships? Sometimes I wonder if, rather than being due to some shortcoming of mine, it's part of my mission in life. I am the short-term best friend.
Although my physical surroundings didn't change a lot over the years, I think I have. I think in most cases with the women I mentioned above, our lives just took different paths. We shared short, intense friendships at very difficult times--whether it was struggling to fit in at school, or to parent new babies, or to face our husbands' depression--and our relationship was a venue for us to share, vent, and feel understood. Once those circumstances changed, along with our needs, we simply moved on.
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I did finally relocate at age 38, from Washington to Arizona. That further complicated the friendship issue. Friends who I felt were like sisters to me, suddenly fell off the map. And making new friends has been much, much harder than I anticipated. So here I find myself at 43 in a friendship crisis, thanking God that my husband is my best friend, because I'm not sure what I would do without him!
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But all women know, as great as husbands can be, you need girlfriends. There is something about the camaraderie of your gal pals that can't be replaced by anything else. Now don't get me wrong...it's not as if I have no friends. I've got some very good friends that I really enjoy spending time with, even if it's less often than I'd like. But I don't have that gaggle of friends that just knows you. I can probably think of eight or ten women between Seattle and Phoenix that would protest at reading this, saying, "But DANA, I am your good, better, best friend!"
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