To make a very long story short, I lost 3 relationships that meant a lot to me in a very short period of time. Losing the first two put some cracks in my armor but the last one shattered me. I was in a state that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I’m talking not eating, sleeping, or properly functioning for a week. I didn’t think that I’d ever be okay again. I lost my best friend but more importantly, I lost myself.
Flashforward 3 months. Life has gotten better but it didn’t happen overnight. I had to go through a process of rediscovering myself. I’ve prayed and read more devotionals in the past few months than I did all of last year. I’ve cried a lot. “Inspirational” quotes and mantras have become my thing. You can find them on sticky notes all over my room. I’ve found new hobbies, reconnected with old friends, and remembered that my happiness should never be dependent on another person. Basically, I became the cliche protagonist in every rom-com who’s on a journey of self-discovery. At least I know there has to be a happily ever after around the corner.
Things improved but I still wasn’t completely happy. My friendship with the person who broke me, let’s call him X, was different from the other two. X was my person at uni. The kind of person who I could be my most authentic self with and know that I would still be accepted and loved. The person who’d been there for all of my highs and lows. X willingly put up with my crazy, pretended to like my favorite shows, and constantly made my heart happy.
That’s not to say that our friendship was perfect. X was an idiot. I say that in the most loving way. The boy drove me crazy. His communication skills were non-existent, his memory was worse than my grandma’s, and he never understood why I wanted to rant without him offering suggestions “to make things better.” I was very aware of his faults, as he was of mine, but that was part of the beauty of our friendship. We were willing to accept the other’s flaws and work on our own. He was an integral part of my life and I didn’t want to let go of our friendship.
It’s taken some time and a lot of thought but we’re trying to rebuild. Putting it mildly, other people haven’t been supportive of this decision. All of my friends are giving me grief for trying to start over. I know they mean well and I’m sure that I’d be saying the same things if I were them but no one is willing to see things from my point of view. Although I know that I can live without X, I don’t want to. I no longer have to question what my life would look like without him because I’ve lived through it. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the kind of friendships I need. I’ve had time to weigh the pros and cons of my decision and I’m 99% sure that I’ve made the right choice.
Call it naivety or unwarranted optimism but I have faith in this new beginning. Things won’t be the same but they can still be good. In order to make sure that this fresh start works, I’ve come up with some new friendship rules. Shoutout to Dua Lipa for the inspiration.
- Don’t pick up the phone too often. I know you want to tell him every little thing like you used to. Don’t. If you call him crying, he will pick up and try to help every single time. That leads to an unhealthy dependency. You’re a big girl. Figure some things out yourself.
- Don’t let him in too quickly. Trust is earned. He lost yours and it’ll take time for him to earn it back. Don’t rush the process. Yes, you love him but you have to love yourself, and your wellbeing, more.
- Be his friend. Nothing more. Set clear boundaries and stick with them.
I’m ready to move on, even if my friends aren’t. Like I said, I understand where they’re coming from but I’ve also realized how quickly people try to make decisions for others that they wouldn’t make for themselves. I’m definitely guilty of doing the same. Though the intentions are good, the impact is not. That’s not to say all the advice I’ve gotten is bad. Of course, the opinions of people who care about you are important. They offer insight that you might not be able to see on your own. That being said, no one can completely understand a situation that they’re not a part of. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to see things as black and white when they’re really a million shades of grey.
No relationship is perfect. Pain is inevitable.You have to decide whether keeping a person in your life is beneficial or detrimental. Be brutally honest with yourself. Remember, it takes a lot of strength to leave a relationship but it takes an equal amount to stay. If leaving is really the best thing for you then go. Don’t allow yourself to stay in an unhealthy relationship. If the relationship is salvageable, without having to sacrifice your wellbeing, then stay. Find solutions while still taking care of yourself. Whatever you decide, make sure it really is your decision. Everyone will have an opinion. They’ll try to make you do what they assume is best. Don’t let them. Do what you have to. No explanation needed.