Your Heart

I Changed My Mind About Being Friends With My Exes. It Doesn’t Work.

By November 19, 2015 0
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When I first moved to New York, I fell in love.

It wasn’t love at first site (I couldn’t STAND him the night I met him— he talked WAY too much), but it also wasn’t the sort of slow, drawn out “lets take as many romantic carriage rides through Central Park as it takes for us to be head over heels for each other” kind of love you watch Kate Hudson fall into time and time again.

This love took two weeks. It took a few blacked out hookups, one minor sex injury that resulted in him making me apology mac-and-cheese the next night, and one very nervous dinner date for us to get there, but we did.

Describing what it was like to be in love with him would be a waste of time, because anyone who’s ever actually been in love knows exactly what it feels like. Here’s what I will say: when I was with him, I had never been happier or felt more comfortable in my own skin. No one has ever laughed quite so genuinely at my jokes, or known quite so accurately what to say when something was wrong. Really, it was just that no one had ever really gotten me the way he did. No one had ever made me feel so amazing about simply existing as ME, and it was the most incredible feeling in the world.

Because of timing and circumstance and all kinds of other practical things that tend to get in the way of love, it didn’t work out. We ended things for all of the appropriate reasons, but it never meant I stopped loving him. It’s worth noting that I never told him ANY of this.

Time went on, and realized we didn’t want to completely lose each other, so did the logical thing and decided to be friends. We cared about each other a lot — probably, even, still silently loved each other — so it made sense to stay in each other’s lives in the only way we knew how.

And for a while, it worked. Or so I thought. We were really, really close— he was often the first person I spoke to when I woke up, and the last one I called before I went to sleep. We filled  a void in each others lives that probably should have been reserved for real, romantic relationships (which we both did have — though they were always casual, and always brief), but we couldn’t let go of each other.

That is, until he met someone else.

At first, things were totally the same. As always, he told me about her, about their dates, about how great things were going. But then, he stopped.

Stopped telling me about her, stopped answering my texts, stopped Facetiming me at 2am, stopped being around for Sunday dinner.

He had finally, officially, found one of those “real, romantic relationships” that was worth replacing me with.

Eventually, I told him I thought it was best that we weren’t in each others’ lives anymore. He was ignoring me, his girlfriend hated me, and the whole thing was literally tearing me apart. It was the first time in two and a half years that I realized what we were doing was horribly, horribly unhealthy, and it was hurting me.

So, I literally had to break up with my ex-boyfriend AGAIN. Only the second time was even more painful, because it meant losing one of my best friends.

I cried on the subway platform sending the text. People were staring. It sucked.

“I get it,” he told me. And that was pretty much it.

So here’s what I learned: Trying to turn a romantic relationship into a real, meaningful friendship is impossible. I truly believe you can’t just TURN off how close you want to be with each other, which is something I had to learn the hard way. There are too many feelings, too much history and WAY too much baggage for it to actually work. Take it from me: Cut it off from the beginning and save yourself the pain of having to breakup twice.

People come into your lives at certain times, and for certain reasons, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re meant to be there forever. Relationships, and friendships, run their courses, but people and circumstances change. And sometimes the best thing you can do for each other, and yourself, is let go.

 

Image: Pexels

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