So somebody broke your heart. Or, more accurately, is currently in the drawn-out process of slowly breaking your heart. At this point you feel miserable more often than you feel happy, anxious more often than content, hopeless more often than excited. You are at the point where you recognize the relationship is not going anywhere and yet you still sincerely believe it can be rectified. If only X, Y, and Z could somehow be fixed through extreme, concerted effort on my part, well then everything would be fine,” you think. But that’s hard work and you’re losing steam, and losing yourself in the process of trying so hard to fix the relationship for the relationship’s sake.
Given that you are not the asshole in the relationship, you probably are generally considerate of other people’s feelings. This implies that you have good friends. Good friends tend to be there for you. This means you probably spend a significant part of your day chatting and/ or texting and/ or depressedly walking through a mall with someone who is willing to listen to your problems. Endlessly.
And that’s good, right? You probably can’t imagine having no one to talk to about your crappy relationship. If you actually paused to think about it you’d acknowledge fairly quickly that this is how your day goes: wake up feeling anxious as hell, worry about how this day is going to go with regard to The Person, contact friend(s) to talk through your feelings. If you didn’t have that you’d stay in phase one or two, worrying all day about where you stand and if their feelings have changed and when you’ll see them next and who they are with. Talking to your friends distracts you. Pro.
But unfortunately, there is a major, unforeseen downside to that. And that overwhelming con is the danger of friend equilibrium.
Because here is what you think is happening: you are depressed/ in a bad place and your friend makes you feel better.
Here is what is really happening: you are depressed/ in a bad place and your friend makes you feel better.
Key phrase: your friend. Listen, I’d never dream of begrudging you someone to talk to in a time of need. Lord knows I’d be in an asylum (or worse, married to a guy who works at Best Buy, seriously) if it weren’t for my friends’ advice and thoughtfulness.
However, the problem here is that it is your friend — not your significant other — who is making you feel better. Notice in the above explanation that you wake up feeling terrible and you only don’t feel terrible because someone hears and helps you out (and, honestly, coddles you a little bit) — not because the person who is hurting you and causing you anxiety in the first place hears you and helps you out and coddles you a bit.
What this all boils down to is the fact that as well-intentioned as they may be, your friends when so heavily relied upon end up creating an artificially comfortable atmosphere where you’re vulnerable to feeling like ‘things are okay again’ enough so that you stay with The Person.
The moral of the story is if you wake up feeling anxious and awful every day, it’s okay to look to others for support, but you should ask yourself if it’s the person who you’re dating that’s making you feel better, or an uninvolved third party.