Break ups suck. They’re painful, exhausting, and excruciatingly challenging. No matter what anyone tells you, it’s difficult to go from giggles and cuddles to zero contact and awkwardness. The go-to cliché post-breakup is to say, “We can still be friends.” Sometimes, totally, you can. But sometimes that’s just not in the cards. The truth is that the idea of being friends with someone you were once in love with is not only scary, but confusing.
I am currently fresh off a breakup, experiencing my first real heart break. After almost two years of being in an on-and-off relationship, my ex-boyfriend and I finally called it quits a week ago. The final straw, the final goodbye. To borrow the words of the queen of break ups, Miss Taylor Swift, “We are never, ever, ever, getting back together. Like ever.”
When my ex-boyfriend broke up with me over the phone, he ended the conversation by saying, “I’d still like to be friends.” And in response, I hung up the phone.
There are the breakups that are gentle and mutual and painful in a manageable way and there are ones that…aren’t that. First of all, it’s okay to not want to be friends with an ex, or anyone for that matter. Who cares if you can’t come up with a specific reason why you want distance. The choice is yours. Your heart and mind are in need of mending and having space will give you time to think and to decide whether or not you want to begin a new friendship.
Not everything lasts forever, and that includes relationships. If you’re in a relationship with someone, chances are you’re going to break up. And that’s okay! We can care a lot about a person, but we can feel ourselves growing apart and going in different directions. This is when you both mutually agree that it’s best to go your separate ways because the relationship has run its course.
I know the cool thing is to be friends with an ex, but I don’t care. I don’t want to be a cool girl. I want you out of my life.
Sometimes we want to stay friends with our exes because we’re not used to their absence, we don’t know what to do when they’re not around. I tried the cool route and became friends with my ex, and we would always ended up back together. It was especially hard because we shared a group of mutual friends. This meant I was bound to run into him again, so I thought the civil thing to do was remain friends. Except we became friends too soon after our many break ups, and that started to blur the lines. I was getting into the habit of having him around and being a fan of routine, I fell back into the cycle.
I thought it was the right thing to do. I felt pressured to move past my feelings and maintain a friendship, since we shared the same friends. I thought it was my responsibility to make sure that nothing changed. I put someone else’s needs ahead of mine. He wanted to be friends, but that didn’t mean that we had to be. Being a people pleaser, I often put others before myself. What I needed to do was spend some time with myself. I needed to set boundaries and draw the line. Setting these limits doesn’t mean you’re intentionally trying to hurt your ex, or that you hate them. It means you’re just not ready to be near that person.
I’m not saying that it’s impossible to be friends with an ex, but that it’s okay if you’re not. The choice is ultimately yours, and you shouldn’t let anyone influence your decision. If you’re not ready, then take your time. If you’re never going to be ready, then that’s perfectly fine too! In the mean time, why not blast Taylor Swift’s classic, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and spend some time being friends with yourself before anyone else.
Vicki Le is a walking contradiction and is learning how to adult by watching YouTube videos. She writes because her friends are tired of her talking to herself in group chats. You can find her talking to herself on Twitter @xovicks, Tumblr, and Instagram @heyvicks.
[Image courtesy YouTube]