Can You Be Friends After a Breakup?
I once went through a breakup that I saw coming…
When the conversation finally happened, she said, “…but I’d really love to still be friends.”
Classic, right? To try and soften the blow, she extended the ol’ olive branch of platonic friendship, because she didn’t want to look like a bad or heartless person.
In response, she expected me to do what most people would in this situation: half-heartedly agree, then slide into an awkward twilight zone relationship that either drifts into radio silence or creates a lingering mess.
Well, imagine her surprise when I said, “Uhh, nope. I don’t see that happening. I have enough friends. And transitioning to a friendship just seems unrealistic to me. In order for myself to heal, I think it’s best we just break up….”
Now, let me invite you into that heart space…
If you feel like you’re compromising the connection to yourself—in any way—in order to stay in relationship with someone…
You are dishonouring yourself.
And if you’re afraid that you’re going to lose them forever if you take space for yourself, because they might not choose to reconnect with you…
Know that the opposite is almost always the case. If you tell your ex that you don’t want to speak to them because you need space to heal, they’ll actually respect you for standing in your truth. And if they don’t respect you for respecting yourself, then thank them for exiting your life.
When someone who’s afraid of being disliked has their offer of maintaining a friendship turned down, they’ll often flip and angrily jump on a high horse, saying, “Wtf? You don’t care about me? Why don’t you want to be friends with me? Why are you being a dick?”
And that’s all manipulative bullshit. After breaking up, there is only one priority: tuning into what you want and what you need to do in order to heal…
And then going and doing that sh*t.
I tell people all the time: When you’re on social media and your ex’s post shows up, or you see they’ve been watching your stories, and it disrupts your day, UNFOLLOW AND BLOCK THEM. Do anything you need to do to protect your inner space, and make sure your day and emotions don’t get derailed.
Some people like to say, “I’m going to take the high road. I’m an adult. I don’t need to block them. I can maintain contact and just process the discomfort. It might even make me stronger…”
Sigh. The whole concept of “the high road” is total crap. We use it to create a hierarchy, so we can create the feeling of being “the bigger/better person.”
No, you’re not the better person. You’ve just found a sneaky, self-righteous way of playing the victim and making excuses for being boundary-less. Meanwhile, you’re suffering. And you’re not taking care of yourself.
The most important thing in the world is having your own back first. Make your healing the number one priority. And anything in your life that doesn’t contribute to your healing needs to f*king go.
And if you don’t acknowledge that, or won’t do that, all you’re doing is making other people’s feelings more important than yours. Which will be a lot of the reason why you’re actually heartbroken.
Your healing is your responsibility. So, if you needed someone to say it…
After a breakup, taking space to care for yourself is not selfish, cruel, or wrong in any way. It should be the rule. And anyone who says otherwise is more concerned with their own neuroses than your wellness.