Boyfriend to Friend…. Does it Ever Really Work?
One of the hardest things about a break up is often the concept of completely losing someone from your life who up until now has been a focal part. For whatever reason, romantically things aren’t working anymore but does that mean you have to turn your back on that person completely?
Relationships are built on so much more than romance. For months or years this person has been your best friend, your support, the one you go to for advice, the one who makes you laugh and everything in between. When the romance fades or in some cases comes to an explosive ending, what happens to the rest of it?
When the dust settles is there a friendship somewhere among the rubble?
I’ve always been a big fan of trying to be friends with an ex. To me, it seems like a waste to let years of friendship just vanish and fade. Just because you can’t kiss or flirt anymore doesn't mean you can’t enjoy each other's company in a platonic way. But from my own experience, it’s always harder than the movies make it out to be and is definitely not something you can jump straight into. Boyfriend to friend over night is never going to happen. Let the dust settle first and see if there's anything left among the wreckage. For some there isn’t and that’s fine too. Saying goodbye completely can be hard but sometimes it’s what you both need. And it doesn't mean you can’t have a catch up in a few years. Don't force a friendship if it’s simply too painful or there’s nothing left to salvage.
If you’re determined to make the friend thing work you need to give it time. Both of you or maybe just one of you is going to be feeling a little broken and you need to focus on putting yourself back together. It will be so much harder to heal if you cling on. Stop messaging them, stop checking their instagram and hoping to bump into them at the pub. If you want there to be any hope of a friendship one day you need to have a clean break. You need to get used to being just you again.
After a few months you might be feeling healed enough to give this whole friendship thing I try. But before you do, here's a checklist to make sure you’re ready.
Do you still get butterflies when you see them?
Does the thought of them and another girl make your heart weep or your blood boil (or both)?
Are they still the first thing you think about when you wake up?
Are you still wearing their hoodie?
How many times did you cry about them this week?
Do you think you can be around him without wanting to rip his clothes off?
Are you still rereading old texts and love notes?
Have a long hard think about whether or not you are ready to go down the friendship road. Do you want to be their friend for the right reasons? Do you genuinely care about them and want to keep in touch or are you secretly hoping spending time together will reignite the flame?
So often we cling on to the idea of friendship because we aren’t ready to completely let go. We think it will ease the pain if we can still text and call and occasionally hang out. It sounds great in theory but more often than not, it’s just prolonging the inevitable. Keeping them in your life is keeping the spark alive. Even if it’s faint, it’s still there and as long as it is, neither of you can fully let go.
I'm not saying give up on the idea of friendship completely but let it stay in the future for now. A ‘one day’ plan. Your right now plan is learning to be okay without them and that is never going to happen if they’re still in your life. You have to let them go if you one day want to let them back in.