Friend break ups are harder than relationship break ups.
Break up’s are hard; at least one person usually cries, and more often than not, both parties end up feeling crappy about it, even if it was mutual. It’s a big change, there’s always the question of if you will stay friends, or how you will manage your social lives if you have mutual friends, who gets what jumper back… But I think friendship break ups are harder. Usually there’s no clean cut, there’s no conversation to say that it’s over, you usually just drift apart and one day you realize that it’s been weeks or even months since you saw them… and neither of you even noticed.
It’s a tragic moment and they’re some of the hardest times for me; realizing a friendship had run it’s course. I’ve had the usual childhood friendships that were years old but fizzled out after we got to secondary school, mostly because we had different classes and were on different schedules but also because we outgrew each other and realized that we just had more in common with other people. These are the more pleasant break ups, because while it’s sad to look back at all the good times you had together, you would still say hi if you passed one another in the hallways on your way to class, or have a drink together at a mutual friends wedding years later and reminisce about the good old days.
The hardest one for me was when we had a huge fight, and then he left. Well it wasn’t a fight; he hurled abuse at me to try and hurt me like he always did, but this time, instead of trying to soothe his temper tantrum, I just watched it happen. When he realized I wasn’t reacting the way he wanted… he left. Deleted me off every social platform but one, and then went on a rampage over the next couple of days making stuff up about me to everyone he could think of to try and make it so that I would have to come back to him and apologize for his mood swings.
But I didn’t, I just left him at it, I let him walk again and I didn’t chase him. I had a solid group of friends behind me and I didn’t need him so badly like I used to. I realized that it had been a toxic relationship, he threw abuse at me non stop, and I used to just laugh it off, I’d never pull him up on his bad behavior, and whenever he had a particularly bad tantrum we would just go silent for a few days and then just go back to talking as normal and act as if it had never happened. I never heard him say the word sorry in all the years that we had been glued at the hip. We went through so much together, some of the biggest events of our lives in fact. Massive milestones for both of us; from his first real love to my first real loss. We were thick as thieves and I wouldn’t change that for the world.
I miss him so much sometimes; it’s been over a year since we have spoken properly. I guess you could say he tried to reach out to me at one stage but it was so demanding and matter of fact that I laughed to myself when I read the message and didn’t respond. It had been a year and he had clearly learned nothing. He hadn’t reflected or thought of the situation we had been in critically at all; he fully believed he had been in the right and nothing was going to change his mind. He had always been abusive to the people around him, and so many before me had walked away from him. By letting his bad behavior slide all the time I was sending him the message that the way he treated people was acceptable. I was his living proof that he wasn’t actually that bad. I was his enabler.
After thinking long and hard about it for a few months, despite the fact that I missed him terribly, I decided it was best if we went our separate ways. I wished so hard that he would change, only slightly, be able to just say the word sorry, even just once. I so badly wanted him to acknowledge that he goes off the deep end sometimes and that he was going to try and work on it. I prayed that would grow up and even just show an inkling of progression in character so that I could go back to him and we could understand one another again like no one else. I ached for all the weekends we had spent just driving around different places running errands together and saying whatever we wanted to one another without fear of judgement. I longed for our hours of just sitting in the dark talking about whatever we wanted and not worrying about what anyone else thought. I cried for all the years that I had lost when I lost him, and at first I felt that they had been wasted.
But I realized that they were not years wasted, because I loved him so so much, and I know he loved me too. But that was just it. It was over, we were no longer any good for one another, and we were toxic for each other in a way. But I don’t feel bad for missing him… or for wanting him back in my life. I also know that I am doing the right thing by not trying to fix what has shattered into a million pieces.
The best I can hope for is that we will meet again in a few years and that we may become friends again, in a way that is healthy for both of us. Until then, I wish him all the best.