In my 26 years, my heart has never been broken by a guy. The boyfriends I have had, the men of my past, didn’t leave many scars when we moved on and went our separate ways. I never felt the horrible and painful ache that a broken heart brings. Instead, my heart has learned true pain and suffering from the destruction of my most trusted and valued relationships: my relationships with my friends.
I wish my heart had been broken by a guy instead. You enter romantic relationships with a sense that in the end, this is either going to work out or not. I never feel that way about friendships; to me, they are unending. They are a sisterhood comprised of laughter, moments, memories and trust. Friendships have no end, they should be a comfortable space between two people who are always there for each other.
But they weren’t always there; they left.
They woke up one morning, or maybe they woke up many mornings wanting to say goodbye, and actually said goodbye. They decided that whatever it was they couldn’t stand about me was greater than their love for me. I laughed in the moment because it was so unbelievable, it had to be a joke.
But it wasn’t a joke. They did leave. And they didn’t come back for years, others never came back.
I was so devastated that they abandoned our friendship. It was cruel and I sometimes wonder if they left me just because I was the only person in their lives that they knew would never leave them. I loved them at their best, I stood with them at their worst, I remained silent when they needed to talk, and I talked when they couldn’t find the words. I spent hours laughing with them, talking about the future, trusting them with my secrets, and being honored that I was trusted with theirs. I loved them wholeheartedly and I worked to invest time in our relationship to ensure that we didn’t grow apart or let life’s distractions distract us from each other. I wanted to be their friend forever.
But we both did things wrong.
I was young and combative. Every argument seemed necessary and I was ready and willing to fight when they were. I was opinionated and vocal. I hurt their feelings and I didn’t even realize it, my words cut them and I let them fly fast and often like daggers from my mouth. Instead of letting them make mistakes, I wanted them to avoid them. I was suffocating and controlling, which I thought was loving at the time, and I am sorry.
Through the ending of our friendships I learned forgiveness. I forgave them for needing to grow without me, for not growing with me, for abandoning me, and I forgave myself for making mistakes as well. I learned what qualities are important in friends and I have learned to choose them wisely. I only invest in friends that invest in me and it is not just my job to keep a friendship alive. I have learned that most times my friends don’t want my opinion, they just want to know I am here. Through the good, bad, ugly and sad. That I won’t throw their failures in their faces and that I will be their biggest fan no matter the season of their life. I hope the friends who left me behind have learned these things as well.
They’ve helped make me a better partner to my boyfriend. I am less self-absorbed and more self-aware. I have learned that just because someone says they will love you forever, doesn’t mean they will keep that promise. I don’t take my relationship for granted, I cherish it and I know it is fragile and valuable. I have learned to take criticism and I have learned to understand that just because I don’t see it the way someone else does, doesn’t mean I am right. I have learned that being right isn’t important, being respectful of someone else’s feelings is. I hope they have learned these things too.
Ironically, through breaking my heart, they have made me a better friend. I have unconditional love for my friends. I am intense and loving and that is the friend I want to be. I don’t have arguments with my friends because I only have time to enjoy them, to celebrate being with them, to treat our friendship as a gift I continually get to open, the way it should be treated.
For these things, I thank them. They broke my heart when they turned their back on me but I am better for it. I am stronger and I know what I have to offer is genuine and sincere. Our relationships have changed over the years, we have reconnected and then lost touch but whatever happens, I thank them for the millions of memories we have, I look back on them fondly and with a smile because the pain will never outweigh the happiness in my book.
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