Upon the demise of my own relationship and in speaking to others about their own break ups, it goes without saying that individuals deal with love, loss and grief in different ways.
Why is it that some of us try hold on to a friendship post break up, while others turn their back on the one they loved and run a mile – as if they never you knew them? It’s an age old debate that has divided many. Can exes be friends?
I personally think this is a very difficult thing to do. Sure, there are some cases of this scenario working, but I believe these are the exception.
Throughout my three year relationship, He would always insist that should we ever break up, he would want to maintain a friendship with me. I was openly hesitant to the idea, I didn’t think it would be possible for me to do. How on earth could I remain friends with a man I loved, only to watch him move on and be happy with someone else?
Ironically, when we did part ways, it was me who wanted to try and salvage a friendship, but he completely turned his back on this idea and me. To be fair, I think I wanted a friendship for the wrong reasons. Perhaps if I stayed in his life, he would give our relationship another chance, I thought. I’m thankful he had the guts to cut ties, even though I considered it nasty and cruel at the time.
But what baffled me the most, was how easy he made it seem to just switch off the light, and act as though I wasn’t an important part of his life over the last three years. Why is it that some of us have the ability to mimic a horse that bolts after a fright – running a mile and never looking back?
The reality is, if I had it within me to cut ties this easily, the relationship would have ended a long time ago. And so, you put up with the pain, the unhappiness, the repressed feelings and the cycle continues until your mind, body and soul become emotionally exhausted.
I found myself in a similar situation last week. As mentioned in a previous post, the guy I had been seeing over the last few months decided it would be best for us to remain friends for now. Granted, I still have my own things to work through, however I am putting myself out there and getting the support I need.
Unfortunately he has his own fears as well but is yet to seek a helping hand. And so, I found myself in the same cycle of hurt and repressed feelings, questioning everything he said (or didn’t say) to me. Reading into things, and overthinking his actions. All these factors coupled with some unfortunate information which came to my attention lead me to my breaking point.
It took every once of strength in my body to tell him that I could no longer be friends with him for now. I’m hopeful that in a couple of months time, my feelings for him will have subsided and a friendship will be able to continue. But for now, space is what I need.
I never thought I’d have it in me to break the cycle. And while I haven’t cut contact completely, it took a lot of effort on my part to distance myself so dramatically.
The sad part is, I know he cares about me quite a lot, but if he’s going to continue running away from his true feelings while I face mine and keep hurting myself in the process, it’s simply unfair. It’s unfair on me, to do this to me. I needed to stop leading myself into rejection and a big part of my therapy was learning to acknowledge my self worth.
Sometimes, we need to be a little more selfish and not so selfless all the time and that’s bloody hard for an empath to do. As they say, nothing worth having ever comes easy. But I am deserving of self love and self care in order for someone else to give me the same, and you are certainly deserving of this too. I had to do this, as a favour to myself.
“There’s nothing wrong with trying to hold on and there’s nothing wrong with letting go. The trick is deciding which one is best for you.”
Please be mindful of how your relationships make you feel whether it be with family, partner or friends. But be even more aware of the changes you can make for you – to better yourself and potentially the relationship in question. If it’s not serving you as it once did, don’t cling onto the hope that things will change. You have every right to make the decision yourself, and turn your back. Do your soul a favour, and take that leap of faith.