Recently as I was listening to a CD I once made for an (ex) friend for her birthday, the Gnash song “I love u, I hate u” featuring Olivie O’brien came on. One line from the song just lingered in my mind “Friends can break your heart too.”
When I think of all the heart break in my life, most of them have been from friendships if I am honest with you. I mean, the irony that the song was on the CD I made for an ex friend isn't lost on me! As I think back to it, the end was heart breaking, for us both! That’s a bold statement considering we haven’t spoken since it all went down, how would I even know what she was feeling? Because there was such love between us that it feels impossible that she wouldn’t be as heart broken as I was I guess. And because I need to take responsibility and accountability for breaking her heart too.
So many women have broken my heart, but to play the victim would be inaccurate because regardless of who did what or who officially ended things, if we even know, at the end of the day, I have broken the heart of many women too. We don’t talk about this heart break nearly enough. We hide it, because we are not supposed to feel it, and quietly ruminate over it in the deepest darkest corners of our minds and hearts.
So today I wanted to talk about it, and some of the reasons I have broken the heart of women I loved deeply. It’s not always what you think, and it’s not always even about you. As they say, there really are 2 sides to every story.
Of course, for me, the most obvious conclusion is that one person had secret (or not so secret as the case may be) feelings a little deeper than friendship, and could no longer tolerate the sense of longing that comes from maintaining a closeness that feels simultaneously too close and too far away. That may cause the one with unrequited feelings to flee for any number of surface reasons, usually none of which relate to the root cause. Or it may cause the one who only wants platonic friendship to flee because the pressure to reciprocate or the guilt for not reciprocating is too great.
Another obvious reason could be that, somewhere along the line, you have discovered that your values differ greatly to those of your friend, just making you incompatible. One of you may have been left feeling used, or just that time has passed, taking you in different directions, leaving you without much in common. It may end abruptly or slowly fade away quietly to nothing, but that doesn’t make it less heart breaking.
Then, of course, there are the less obvious reasons that a friendship may end. If your friend is doing something that she doesn’t feel she can talk to you about, chances are she will pull away for fear of judgement. This can be true even if you have always shared EVERYTHING without judgement in the past. Maybe she has tried to tell you whatever it is and you knowingly or otherwise shut her down. Or maybe she knows telling you would involve you in something that would put you in a terrible position. She might be doing something illegal or immoral and trying to protect you from the fallout, or she may just know what you are going to advise her to do, although she doesn’t want your advice, and is uninterested in following said advice. Sometimes when we can’t explain bad behaviour, we move away from people who hold us accountable for it.
Speaking of protecting you… she may also be going through something. Health issues, relationship issues, mental issues, or family issues for example. If you are a particularly empathetic person, she may actually be trying not to involve you in her drama because it would hurt you to see her hurting. This might be because she doesn’t want you hurting, or it might be because she doesn’t have the emotional strength to deal with taking care of your upset and her own all at once. She may think hurting you with silence is better than telling you the truth. Alternatively she may know that if she told you it would cause you to become more involved in her life - albeit in a well intentioned way, when what she really craves is space to deal with whatever it is on her own. (Spell check is telling me intentioned isn't a word! It is now!! Lol)
Lastly, if someone feels that you are moving away from them emotionally it can cause them to lash out because they are hurting. If they are feeling insecure or threatened, for example, they may simply run away in an effort to try and avoid the rejection they feel from you. They may feel you have a new best friend, new interests which are taking you away from them, a new partner, a new job or location… or any other number of things they feel are threatening your bond. If they feel they are going to be rejected or abandoned eventually, they try to get in first and leave the friendship before you get a chance to hurt them first. Sadly, this hurts everyone anyway, and usually brings on the very abandonment they feared?
As you can see, most of these reasons have nothing to do with you? Most of these reasons are about her, and what she is feeling, fearing or experiencing. You haven't failed her or been a terrible friend. So please stop hiding. There is no shame in heart break. It means you loved. And that is a beautiful thing, even if it didn’t last. If there was love in your friendship then it was true. Friends CAN break your heart too…. And they do. But they are worth it, and so are you!
If you have ever experienced a broken heart over a friendship, please know this is normal. It is ok. It may have been the first time, but it will probably not be the last time sad to say… Still, I truly believe friendships are worth it, so put yourself back out there and make amends or make new friends. Love. Learn. Live. Repeat.
Your best Friend ForNever