I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
She told me she was moving across the country for him. When she left two years ago, she said that it was one of the only things she had ever felt certain about in her life. I was reluctantly supportive in a way that openly displayed my disappointment of losing a friend but I smiled and through my teeth, said, “Well, if you believe in this and you see a future in him – do what is healthiest for you and your happiness.”
She set her coffee down, stood up, and reached out to hug me. I hugged her back and said, “For as much as I don’t want you to leave, I truly am happy that you’re happy.”
Recently, their relationship came to an end. She texted and asked if I knew of any available one-bedroom apartments for rent. I told her I would look around and do whatever I could to make this time easier on her. There was a pause in our texting until she simply responded, “Two years wasted.”
I’ve learned that being a good friend is always better than being a “right” friend. Meaning, no one wants to hear you tell them what they did wrong or what they could have done better after a break up. It’s unproductive, and honestly a bit self-serving with a side of subtle “I told you so.”
Being a good friend means during those crucial days and weeks post-break up, your job is to sit back, shut up, listen, and only give your opinion when asked. Because we’ve all been there. We don’t need to you tell us that our ex was a bitch or an asshole – we just need you to listen to us and let us know that you’ll be there to take us out for coffee, or drinks, or sit around in sweatpants and watch Disney movies. Because the distinction between a friend and a good friend is someone who will support you when you need it because they truly love you and care about your happiness.
So I held my tongue and said I would get coffee with her the minute she lands back in my city. And I will respond to her ridiculously long and sad texts no matter how much I want to hate on her ex and when asked, I will give my gentle guidance, and I will shut the fuck up when she needs to vent. Because that’s what she needs.
I know she still loves him because if you’ve ever truly invested your future into another person and looked into their soul and whispered “You are my one” under the covers in a dark bedroom, you know well enough to know that you cannot just turn off love. It doesn’t go away. And it certainly doesn’t disappear when you yell “It’s over!” and move out. Distance and absence is what it takes to slowly allow the fire to burn out. And despite her venomous words, I know she still loves him – he just simply isn’t the one for her. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It happens most of the time. Most of our relationships fail and while that shouldn’t prevent us from jumping in with both feet, we should at the very least, walk away with a lesson. The lesson that no matter if you’re in high school or in a marriage – whether you dated for eight years or two years or six months, that the love we invest is real. It is a fire that shakes our core, warms our hearts to the beauty of the world, and allows us to believe that we are deserving of happiness. And when we whisper those words in dark bedrooms with smiles and hearts in our eyes, we should never regret those moments because those are some of the only real and genuine moments we get in this life. The words were real. He was real. His intentions were real. That future was real. And for that moment – that night – no other love existed.
But sometimes things change and you evolve past your partner. And it hurts to watch someone lose the fire with which they stared into your eyes. The way they would walk up behind you when you were in the kitchen and wrap their arms around you and playfully kiss you neck. That was real. And he might not be that person anymore, but that’s okay. It’s okay because you’ll be okay. Because historically, you always have been.
Those years weren’t wasted. They allowed you to feel some of the greatest heights you will ever experience. Those years were filled with fiery passion – good or bad, it was real and it made you feel alive. And you should never regret anything that makes you feel alive. Aware. In it. Anything that makes you feel like you can take on anything they throw at you with a smile and two swear fingers, well… it was worth it.
And maybe it was time to let it go and move on because it became toxic. And that’s a good thing. Because somewhere along the line, you realized that you truly are deserving of happiness and because there are going to be another two years ahead of you with someone who is going to be fucking stoked to kiss your neck and whisper the words you have earned in your ear. And trust me, there is someone out there right now that is your future and they just can’t fucking wait to wake up next to you.
And all you have to do is keep your fire… so they can find you.