Gill says: ‘When I got back to work after maternity leave, she blanked me, as if I wasn’t in the room.

tell your best friend your dating his sister-50

What was so hard was not even knowing what I’d done wrong, so I had no idea what to apologise for.‘Had I been boastful? I went round in circles trying to work it out, and even texted Louisa’s husband to find out what was going on, but he didn’t reply, either.‘My husband told me to forget her. But I really thought our friendship was special.‘It took me a while to get over it. She says: ‘Your only weapon was to cry if you needed feeding or to be kept warm, and your whole world was your mother, who either responded or didn’t.‘When she didn’t respond, your brain wasn’t developed enough to understand why she wasn’t coming at that instant.

You simply felt abandoned.‘When similar events happen, such as a girlfriend no longer being available, these unconscious memories can come to the fore.’It doesn’t even have to be a life-long friend for the pain to be intense.

She was the friend I trusted most and we confided in each other.‘When I first started dating my husband, I wanted to keep it quiet until I was sure we were going to last, but Louisa knew everything.‘When she became pregnant, she asked me to be godparent, although sadly, she lost the baby.‘Like any friendship, we’d gone through stages where we’d seen less of each other, but we had never argued.

The moment I was certain she didn’t want me to be part of her life was when I spotted on Facebook five months ago that her surname had changed.‘She’d married her long-term partner and never even told me. I sent her a text, saying “Congratulations”, in the hope she might get back to me, but I never heard a word.’Terri adds: ‘I remember crying so much at the thought I’d lost such a good friend. I find it hard to trust women and am wary of being hurt again.’Female friendships are complex, and experts believe being dumped by a close girlfriend involves a special class of pain.‘Part of the reason why this pain is so different is because it awakens long-buried memories that harken back to your earliest years, when you had so little control over things in your life,’ says Dr Jane Goldberg, a psychoanalyst and author of My Mother, My Daughter, My Self.

‘She was fun, bubbly and, as neither of us had children in those early days, we’d hang out a lot, going out for drinks and dinners, sometimes just the two of us and sometimes as a foursome with her husband.‘She was kind and generous, and we’d confide in each other.‘For about four years, we had great fun together, until I got pregnant in 2011 when — for obvious reasons — I couldn’t drink and stopped going out as much.‘But even then, we were still great friends.

I remember she lost her nan and I raced over to her house, despite being heavily pregnant, and was a shoulder for her to cry on.We had babies within a month of each other.‘I loved spending time with her and I thought she did, too.‘When she met her new partner and moved across town with him, we saw each other as much as possible, and when I had my son in 2005, she was one of the first people I told.‘But it was during that year that she started not returning my calls. With good friends, you can go a long time without speaking.‘But when six months passed and I’d left messages on her house phone and mobile, I began to get worried something had happened with her partner — perhaps he was cutting off friends and family.‘So I went over to her former in-laws’ house to check she was OK. At one point, I sent her a long message through Facebook, asking her why she’d hurt me.‘You can see when someone has read your message so I knew she’d read it, but she didn’t respond.I was so upset, it was like grief.’The wall of silence that greets most victims appears to be one of the hardest things to deal with.For Jo, at least, a chance confrontation helped lay her own ghost to rest.‘About two years after I’d last heard from her, I saw Erica in a shop,’ says Jo.‘At least she had the decency to look embarrassed, but there was no way we could just ignore each other.‘She said: “Hi, how are you?Gill Akers, a 41-year-old events manager from Essex, admits she was mortified when she realised her close friend of five years, Maxine, had unceremoniously dumped her.‘Maxine and I had both been store managers for a coffee chain when we met in 2007.