Losing Your Love Was Difficult, But Staying Friends Is Heartbreaking

We are so far from where we began, and still I cannot decide if it is better or worse.

It’s unexpected, that’s for sure. I’ve never done this before, tried to maintain a friendship with an ex. It’s always felt like I’m giving my power away, clinging to them after we’re finished. Then again, none of them were my best friend, and you are. You are the only one who feels like a kindred spirit, someone with whom I could find contentment sharing my life. That is what makes this friendship both beautiful and incredibly difficult.

When I relinquished your heart, my own disintegrated. You are the person I think of telling first when anything happens in my life, good or bad. I trust your opinion, your advice, and your understanding of me. You are still the adventure companion I want to laugh with through it all. It’s rare to find someone who I feel so intrinsically sees and accepts me, but here you are. And yet, we are not together in the way I desire. 

You no longer feel the same way about me that I do you. That knowledge smashes my soul every single time I look into your eyes. 

I knew in every fiber of my being that it was too soon to start spending time with you again, and I agreed anyway. My willpower dissolves in the face of our connection. It’s tough to continue avoiding you when you live just around the corner. Eventually we ran into one another so often that it seemed less awkward to reestablish some sort of relationship. 

In truth, it is wonderful in many ways to have your friendship again. I don’t have to feel like our breakup completely erased you from my life, and I missed you terribly these last few months. We get along as well as ever – even better, perhaps, without the pressures and unspoken resentments that can build up under the foundations of a partnership.  Sometimes I feel closer to you now, free to discuss my truths and flaws honestly without fearing rejection. 

When we dated, I carried a constant paranoia that you’d leave me, my abandonment issues resurfacing despite my best efforts to heal. You, in turn, couldn’t handle my need for you, and pushed me away. You’d been hurt before and couldn’t stand to get too close. Now, those insecurities are irrelevant, and we share thoughts and feelings without constraint.

It would be a wonderful friendship, if it wasn’t for the inconvenient truth that I’m still in love with you.

I am deeply terrified that I’ll lose you for good, but I know that this has to end. My hope that I would see you through newly impartial eyes developed into the realization that our easy relationship only deepens my feelings for you. Every single thing I love about you is still true, cast in stark detail on the backdrop of my aching sadness. I can handle this for now, but I know that when you begin seeing someone new, it’ll shatter me. I cannot do that to myself, or to you. It’s unfair for me to put conditions on our friendship, or ask you to subvert your own forward progress because it upsets me. 

Even if I have to set a boundary with you now, I’m proud of us. We tried to take the positive elements of our relationship and turn them into something new, something that we can keep. I know that if I ever need you, you’ve got my back. You know that if you reach out, I’ll be there. 

I truly wish that I could stay your friend, but I can’t live with the reminder of everything I’ve lost hovering in my thoughts every single day. I have to trust myself, and choose myself, for once. Maybe someday I’ll feel differently, someday in the future, but I don’t know when or if that will happen. As much as I value you and keenly wish I could keep you in my life, I will never move forward if I do. Not when I secretly hold out the hope that something will change when it won’t, and want you to see this the way I do, when you don’t. 

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