When Breakups With Friends Hurt As Much As The Real Thing

 Abo Ngalonkulu
Abo Ngalonkulu

Break-ups, when you think about it, are a common part of our everyday lives. Most people will experience at least one break-up, and many will experience multiple ones. Sometimes break-ups are a good thing – especially if we’re the “dumper”.

I’ve only had two serious relationships in my life.

The first, I did the dumping, although it still wasn’t an easy break-up.

I survived the ending of that relationship partly because of the people that helped me through it – my friends and family that were willing to listen and hold me when I cried.

However, recently, I’ve had a good friend decide she no longer wants to be a part of my life anymore. It came as quite a shock – we’d once been so close that many people referred to us as inseparable.

I’d told her a lot of my deepest secrets, and I felt like I’d made a life-long friend. There weren’t very many people that I felt as close to as I did to her. I loved her, and would have done anything for her (within reason) as that’s what friends do – right?

However, when I got ill and couldn’t go out as much anymore, and something changed. At first, I didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t do as much as I used to, and sometimes things change in life. However, it got to the point where “coincidence” seemed more like “denial”. I learnt, through mutual friends, that my instincts were right – apparently, despite the fact that no one else had let me know, including her – we were no longer friends.

She wasn’t the first friend I’ve ever lost – and I’m sure she won’t be the last.

I certainly don’t think, for a second, that I am the only person ever to experience this type of “break-up”. However, when comparing it to relationship break-ups, reactions of others are truly different.

Despite the fact that I’d been friends longer with this girl than I had been in my past relationship, people don’t seem to get that losing a friend hurts – especially if you don’t understand why.

If, quite simply, they just decide that you aren’t friends anymore – and you’re left to actually work out this break-up has actually taken place, it makes it very hard to move on. After all, who in their life hasn’t doubted their self-worth? To the few people I’ve discussed this “break-up” (for want of a better word) with, many people say, “Just move on, forget it”. Which makes perfect sense – I mean really, what else can you do? But I’ve certainly noticed the fact that people offer less sympathy. There’s no, “Oh, what such-and-such did was terrible” it’s more of a, “Oh, well. Life goes on” sentiment.

While I have spent the past few months sorting through my own emotions, it got me to wondering – why do we treat friendship break-ups differently? When we go through a relationship break-up, we are mourning a loss – after all, for however long a period, that person was your best friend, your lover, your admirer, your savior. Even if the right thing to do is break-up, it’s sometimes hard to accept. After all, you were originally with that person for a reason, and chances are even if you didn’t truly love that person, you shared yourself with them. That’s a big thing, and it’s not always an easy thing to accept.

So why are friendship break-ups any different?

There are some people that I’m incredibly close with – would share anything with, do anything with, do anything for – not all that different from my fiancé.

You could love someone in a few months as much as some people love in a lifetime.

Love shouldn’t be measured in days, months, years or decades – love should be measured by what each individual feels, and nothing more.

And, with that logic, I think that means that friendship break-ups can be every bit as devastating as any other break-up – a fact, I think, that we don’t always consider. TC mark

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