I “broke up” with a friend the other day. It was one of those “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” kind of things. But I also think it was maybe a test for me...
This “friendship” actually started out many months ago as something more. But as quickly as the connection was felt, it became clear that neither of us was in an emotional space to be in that kind of relationship. So he ended it. In a way that triggered many of my anxieties, insecurities, and cynicisms about love and relationships. Which was unfortunate because the time we spent together had actually begun, or so I thought, to heal those things as well. If you've been reading along, then you may realize that I used this triggering experience as an opportunity to work on healing those things for myself; an opportunity to face their roots, let go of the pain, and move forward with renewed hope. That is the blessing, the hope I take from this pain.
I have looked back to this not so distant-past, and thought to myself, “I should have known better...” I heard parts of his story... I know mine. I know things - theoretical and actual things, because of my education and own life-story - about the human emotional experience. And so I think to myself, “I should have known better...”
But he was cute. And he made me smile. He challenged me in conversation in ways that I thrive off of. He liked me. He brought me good wine! And - my emotional-saviour complex kicked in - he was going through a hard time which I wanted to help ease. As a friend, if I couldn't be more.
I reconnected with him to “debrief” as sometimes happens after a time when a relationship has ended, and we both expressed interest in remaining friends... whatever that might look like. Perhaps it was simply too soon for us to try to be friends. Perhaps the reason we'd met had passed, and our trying to hold on only made things worse. For both of us. I am sad to see this friendship end, for sure. And I do hope he is able to find his own peace and healing. But I will not be someone's emotional verbal punching bag. That is not healthy nor loving for either of us. And my ability to so clearly see that; to so clearly stand up for myself; to so clearly let go of a troubled friendship by my own deciding power is new. That is where I feel this was a test – to see if I truly have been able to let go of some of those insecurities and anxieties; to reduce the pull of my emotional-saviour complex; to accept that my situation is not what I wanted it to be and move towards change; to believe that I, and my reasons, are enough; to embrace the hope for different in the future.