The Kinky Green


On Breaking Up

Posted in The Social by Joy on June 8, 2009
Tags: ,

I’m on the phone with Ms. B for our semi-weekly philabuster-length chat, and she’s lamenting the ending of a friendship that’s seen coming-of-age and spanned more than a decade, when a revelation hits me.

Ms. B: I think I have to just resign myself to the fact that we aren’t friends. It just sucks, you know? I mean, we’ve been friends for so long, and she just acts like it doesn’t even matter.
Me: I know. I hate that you’re having to go through this… [Lightbulb] But, really, why should you put up with her treating you like this? We drop the men in our lives without a regret when they underperform in a relationship. I mean, yeah, it sucks, but, ultimately, we know getting them out of our lives when they become toxic is the right move. Why do we have so much trouble holding our friends to similar standards?
Ms. B: … You know? … You’re right.
Me: I had a therapist tell me once that sometimes friendships need to be ended. That it’s part of being an adult. At the time, I didn’t believe her, but now it’s starting to make sense.

Not long afterward, I found myself ending a friendship of my own.

Whereas Ms. B’s toxic friend had essentially been a non-participant in their relationship for a couple of years and seemed to drop out of it entirely without taking much note, the friend I let go was very aware.

And, yes, I felt bad for dismissing the friendship that had, beyond all my expectations, lasted through the passing of several years and cross-continental moves after having sprung, primarily, out of circumstances of loneliness and guilt and convenience.

Still, there is guilt. New guilt, fresh guilt. I know my summary dismissal caused pain. And I realize that the pain has long since hardened into anger. And if I’m to bear ill-will and angry thoughts being sent my way from afar from now until eternity, I understand and accept it as my burden.

I was surprised to find that the intense guilt was relatively short-lived. But less surprised to find that my life is happier and fuller now that I’m not regularly subjected to such vitriol and rage as had become the norm in that particular situation.

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