Most of us have gone through the gut wrenching experience of breaking up. That very serious, romantic relationship that you thought would end up with a walk down the isle and 2.5 children that ended before the fairytale proposal. Maybe you actually made it that far, but 6 years into the marriage something happened and life was not only a huge divergent from the fairytale you envisioned but you also realized that you couldn’t stand your spouse and you decided to divorce.
The feelings associated with these breakups are so powerful. They can be devastating. Even if you can’t stand to look at your ex, the loss of that relationship and what it signified along with the loss of your hopes and dreams for the future is enough to drive anyone to eat an entire container of Ben and Jerry’s. Everyone sympathizes with you because odds are, we have been there too!
But have you ever broken up with a friend? If you have, you probably recognize that the feelings of loss are similar to breaking up with your boyfriend but unfortunately, the sadness isn’t always recognized by others.
There are so many reasons why friends might breakup. Maybe over time you developed differing values or interests or have new and different goals in life or are in different life stages. Maybe something happened: you can’t stand their husband or their kids are rotten and you can’t handle being around them. Maybe they did something to you: you finally realized that friend is a bully, they wronged you or insulted you or your family, they talked about you behind your back. Did you finally recognize that they don’t respect you? Over time, we all grow, develop and learn about ourselves. When we don’t grow at the same rate or way as our friend, we can come to the realization that the friendship doesn’t have a future.
Sometimes we keep a grip on friendships because “we have been friends for over half our lives!” or because that person was there for you during a really hard time in your life and you feel some sort of loyalty to them or maybe they know something about you that you haven’t shared with anyone else and you can’t quite let that go. But I would encourage you to take a good look at these friendships. If you decide to breakup, you might feel like eating the whole box of Girl Scout cookies, but in the end, will you be happier and healthier for it?
I have remained friends with people for some of these reasons but as I have gotten older, I have realized that I don’t need, don’t want, and honestly don’t deserve, to continue relationships with friends who, in the end, don’t act like a friend.