We all know that there are friendships that are easy to think about, talk about and write about. And then there are those ‘friendships’ that are much more complicated.
Best friends are so vital to our lives, especially for us girls. They become our go-to’s when we need a bit of emotional fuel, our pick me ups when everything seems to be getting us down, they are the person who you want to support in all their hard times, and people who we invest so much time in. We give a piece of ourselves to them that is hard to let go of. They are the best.
Yet we rarely talk about what it’s like when we lose them, not through death but through what I refer to as friend divorce.
Friend divorce is when a good friend just drops you, a permanent falling out.
2016 was an amazing year for me and my family. But while we had such a good year, I’ve also experienced some very hard but valuable lessons.
I suffered not just one friend divorce, but two. (A couple ‘sigh’ where of course when one divorces you, the other becomes disconnected too) I lost two of my extended family. And when those people have been as close as family, it hurts.
Part of me thinks us girls should take more notice of how men maintain their friendships. That by keeping things less emotionally connected, it’s easier for them to accept when it’s all over and walk away unhurt. The trust no one fully approach.
However I also feel that, getting hurt we may be, but by never getting emotionally connected, by always staying guarded with a wall up, is it then ever possible to have the continued friendships we girls desire and need……. Nope, …….without that level of connection, I would never have had the memories. And they are priceless. Worth the hurt….. What’s that saying “better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all”.
Losing a husband, wife or family member through death or divorce fits within our society’s understanding of loss and grief. But, unfortunately, we have no recognized guidelines for losing friends—and they are the people who may outlive our other relationships, or who when they disappear take the best part of you with them.
Sometimes, especially when you live away from family as I do, your best friends are the people you tell your news to first, the first person you call when you want to take a trip, the first person you call up when you want to be silly and spontaneous and want someone by your side, the people who you work through all problems with.
They, above everything else, are the ones who hold your hand when your family is not there for you, and who you do all of that in return for. They become your family. And trust me, I had my fair share of needing that support network while being in Colombia, with a young baby, and post natal depression, and then stabbing myself amongst other things. (Although the have a baby point is enough to need a real friend to stick by you just by itself). Thank god for the friends I had then.
The hardest aspect of a friend divorce, as well as in a spouse divorce, I imagine, is when the person walks away from you, and never returns, without ever giving you a reason why. Because it was never your choice, never your plan and you never saw it coming. You just get left there one day wondering what happened.
Some days you wake up hating the other person and …..yes I’ll admit it…. Wanting them dead, other days you just wish they would come running back to you, so you can hug it out. It’s a very confusing time of loss and misunderstanding and other people just don’t seem to always understand how it’s affecting you.
I know I’m not the only person that has been friend dumped. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Someone who only wants you when it suits them, is not a friend. Someone who you have to watch your behaviour around in case you say or do the wrong thing is not a true friend. Someone who regularly makes you feel like you need to try too hard, is not a friend.
I have realised something about myself too, (Apart from the fact that family really do come before friends)….
I’ve realised that…..I didn’t lose out. I learned.
I CARE….. I care enough for another human being, that since I have been a divorcee, I miss helping you and looking after you.
I’M FORGIVING….. Despite the lack of communication, some of the last things you said were hurtful and cold, and I forgave you. I told you that I knew you were going through something bad, and rather than being angry (the fight was mine for the taking), I offered you help and a chance to move on. I didn’t have to do that, but as a FRIEND, I did.
And perhaps the best yet…… IM BETTER OFF Now. I embraced the change. You can too.
Divorce hurts, even friend divorce. Probably more so as your doing it by yourself, people aren’t there to offer you support like they would during a normal divorce. at times it feels that you’ll never get over it, but you will. With certain people out of your life, whoever they may be, you realise that there are other people around you, that before there was no time or space for.
You can surround yourself with new friends and new circles of people.
I am a firm believer that, strangely, people are attracted into our lives when we need them and are able to support us somehow through being in similar situations, but that we don’t need them forever, that they may not be compatible with our personalities long term.
It’s strange how life works out isn’t it. Maybe writing this has given me the final closure to this chapter I needed, maybe someone going through a similar event will find hope, maybe YOU will read it and understand that I’m not bitter, I no longer need or want you in my life, but that I wish you well.
I’ll leave you with a quote.
“Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny.”