Social Question

Smashley's avatar

How do you stay friends after so much pain?

Asked by Smashley (4082 points ) July 21st, 2010

After one of the saddest stories you will ever hear, my girl of five years left me for a man more able to care for her, and in the same career path as her. I know there’s a lot of hurt and more than enough blame to go around, but I just can’t imagine life without her. I want to move on, but it’s really important to me that we stay friends. Unfortunately, it’s proving difficult to maintain contact and our interactions have been less than amicable. How can I keep her as a loving friend, and not just a bitter memory?

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14 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

Give her space especially if things were rocky between you. The more you try to chase her down the more she’ll distance herself.

It is hard to remain friends after a failed love affair. The best chance you have is if the relationship dies a natural death and both of you realize it. Then there are no hard feelings and a friendship may bloom.

If one individual is still in love with the other…a friendship will probably be impossible because you’ll always be hanging on for more and she’ll sense that.

Seaminglysew's avatar

I agree with tranquilsea. You have to let go and give it time. I’m not sure that spending your energy on trying to keep her as a friend is the best for You. Let go and live for you!

Smashley's avatar

@tranquilsea
I do still love her, but I’m also doing my best to meet new people and move on. I just worry that if I don’t get a chance to tell her what I need to, that we’ll just move on, and leave each other behind forever. There are definitely some hard feelings, but thats what I want to deal with now, so these things aren’t hanging over us, preventing us from ever reconnecting.

Smashley's avatar

@Seaminglysew
We spent some amazing and meaningful years together, and helped each other go in the fantastic directions we are both now headed, despite the fact that they are totally opposite. She’s still just such an important part of my life that I feel that letting go completely, though easier, wouldn’t be right. She told me she wants to still be friends, but I wonder if that was just easier than saying “goodbye.”

Luffle's avatar

You need to be able to get over her first. If you want to stay friends immediately after the break up, it will be almost impossible because you had feelings for each other before. People that break up and remain friends usually hope that they might be able to overcome their differences and reconcile in the future. If you are sincere that you want to keep her as a good friend, give the both of you some time apart until neither has any lingering romantic feelings towards each other.

Smashley's avatar

Thanks for the support @Luffle. You’re probably right. I’m trying to move on, but some part of me still believes we could make it work again, and it could be better than before, for what we’ve learned about ourselves. I’ll give it some time.

Luffle's avatar

@Smashley Good luck. :)

LuckyGuy's avatar

You said it best “my girl of five years left me for a man more able to care for her, and in the same career path as her.”
She has moved on and is devoting her time and energy to the new relationship. Do not try to compete with that. You cannot. At this point anything you do will seem like you are weak and trying to get back together. Don’t put yourself in that position.
It is painful, but know you are not the first person in the world to go through this.
Do not email her; do not call her; do not look at her FB page.
Every day you do that is a small victory.
Good Luck.

Smashley's avatar

@worriedguy Thanks for the input.
My goal is in no way to compete with the new guy. I know her patterns well enough to know how hard she works on relationships, and even if this one isn’t meant to be for her, she’ll put enough effort into it to make it last for a long time. In truth, I really don’t want to interfere with her happiness. Though I still care deeply about her, I know there’s realistically no chance we’ll ever be together, and even a more than likely chance that we’ll never see each other again. But is there anything that can be done at this point, just to indicate to her how proud I am of her, and how much she’s meant to me, acknowledge her pain and offer to listen to her side of the story, without pushing her away?

At this point, it isn’t about getting back together, it’s about addressing the pain I caused so I can feel like I have a bit on integrity moving on, and offering her a chance to do the same.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Give her time and accept it’s up to her if she wants to have a friendship. She may be feeling a lot of relief to be out and on to a new relationship that for whatever her reasons is working better for her. She may feel uncomfortable around you and choose to just “move on”. It sucks but let her go and free up your energy to be open to a person who will be interested in you and who will want to take that place of the person you most respect, look forward to seeing and being with, etc.

Smashley's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Thanks for the kind words. Moving on is certainly the best thing for both of us, and I’m trying now to make new connections and start over with someone new, though I suspect it’s going to be a long time before I can bring myself to enter another real, long term relationship again. It just seems better to make new friends and see where it takes me.

The funny thing is that through all this, yesterday, she actually decided to contact me, and we spoke for a couple hours, and for the first time in six months. It was painful, yet amicable. I was so relieved to know that I could still make her laugh. Everyone who told me to wait was right, but what I didn’t reveal was that it had already been a long time since she has considered us broken up, even if I didn’t get it until a couple weeks ago. It turned out that she was done with crying and feeling hurt, and wanted to be able to move on happily as much as I do, not forgetting the past, but learning from it and putting those lessons into our new lives. Hopefully the groundwork is there to be meaningful friends, moving forward. I’m still not sure how well that will work in the long term after so many broken dreams and pain, but I’m feeling a lot better, and I’m sure she’s just a bit happier too.

Thanks again to everyone for the support.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@Smashley- that the ticket! Open communication, and cool objectivity regarding the discussion at hand. I am so happy for you that finally you can move on with your life and your newfound friendship. Happy Living! Keep smiling ;-)

Smashley's avatar

@SmoothEmeraldOasis – You know, recently I just can’t stop smiling. It still hurts but I think we’re both better off for what we shared, despite the inevitable pain that comes when two people just can’t make it work forever. It was totally worth it, and I think that the things I’ve learned through all this will both help me stay friends with her, and help me with all my relationships in the future. Thanks for the thought.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

I am totally elated for you. Happy Living!

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