Relationships are so strange. You spend every waking minute with this one person. You are each other’s best friend in the whole world. You know all there is to know about each other. And then, at one moment, the clock turns to midnight, and the love story suddenly disintegrates right before your eyes.
The question you are left struggling with is what place should this person hold in my life now? Will we continue to be best friends and tell each other everything? Or will we act like complete strangers, as if nothing ever happened? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The answer to all these questions...the world may never know.
When my ex-boyfriend and I broke up, I would not dare to imagine anyone else as my best friend that holds that special place in my heart and life. As blurry as those gut-wrenching, heartbreaking moments were, we still said “I love you” and told each other we considered the other our best friend. It got hard for both of us, and as days turned into weeks, we stopped all communication, and as weeks turned into months, he might as well have been a stranger to me at most.
As fall approached, we were going to be at the same college now, which was drastically different from our long-distance relationship. I reached out and asked to FaceTime a few weeks before school started. We made small talk: classes, housing, and summer activities. I am thinking to myself, who on earth was on the other end of the screen?
Eventually, we met up at school, and mostly for me to get closure. But as we sat and discussed the events from the previous months, I did not know who this person was sitting beside me. I did not even recognize him. The way he acted, the person I hugged goodbye. This was not the person I was crying over; this was someone completely different from the person I was once in love with. I was not even that upset by the way things ended because I was more upset about the fact that my best friend was actually gone. He was still alive, still breathing, still a phone call away, but gone.
Obviously, this is only me and my story. But, what I can tell you...it is really f*cking hard to be friends with your ex. Sometimes it is right, and you can find a comfortable place in each other’s lives. Other times, that person is only meant to be a fading memory. Either way, it is never easy to be just friends with someone who knew you better than anyone else in the world.
If you want to be friends and they do not, accept it. If they want to be friends with you, but it is too soon, be honest and tell them that. The world has no fixed agenda, and whether you are meant to be friends or not, life will naturally play out. What is meant to happen will happen. If you are friends with your ex, that is great, and I am very impressed. But if you are not, I admire you for knowing your limits.
No matter your choice, it is essential to include people in your life who want to love and care for you, and want only the best for you. Whether your ex plays a role in that picture is completely up to you.
P.S. To my ex-best friend…I wish you nothing but the best!
Written by: Jessica Norris