Before Chad and I got married, we broke up. Like a lot. We met when I was 19, him 20; we went to different colleges that were two and a half hours apart; we were growing up.
Each time, it was heart wrenching, but absolutely incomparable to breaking up with a friend. Our friends know us in an intimate and irreplaceable way, often times better than we know ourselves.
Much like a romantic breakup, it feels like you’ll never get through it, that the sadness will never end. And no, you won’t ever completely get over it. But here are a few ways to navigate the breakup and come out on the other side.
1. Is it really over? Was it just a fight? Are you being overly dramatic? Or is this really the end. A little bit of communication can go a long way. So if it was just a fight and a conversation will fix it, just do it. If not, read on…
2. Be a grownup. No name calling. No trashing the other person. No passive aggressive social media posts. If you have mutual friends, leave them out of it. We’re all adults, so let’s act better than our teenage selves. Any contrary actions will only bring more pain.
3. Give yourself some space. Get rid of the constant reminders. Take down the pictures. Unfollow or hide them on social media. Do whatever you need to do to get some distance from your friendship. It’s hard to move on if they’re still in your face all the time.
4. Grieve and reflect. It’s perfectly okay to be sad and to mourn this loss. A breakup is much like a death, so similar reactions are normal and natural. But reflect on the happy times in your friendship. If you’re able to look back with fond thoughts and not solely focus on the cause of the breakup, this can help in moving forward.
5. Be realistic about your role in the breakup. It’s natural to want to point fingers and blame the other person. (Because we’re all perfect, right?) But chances are, you played some role in the demise of the relationship, so own that in order to diminish some of the anger.
6. Crush the loneliness. Fill your time so you’re not sitting alone with your sadness. Go for a run, get lost in a book, take on a new project at work, build a deck on the back of your freaking house! Whatever you need to do to occupy your mind and time.
7. Find new friends. Easier said than done, right? Did you know that I made most of my current dearest friends within the last 5 years? What is something you enjoy doing? Going to the gym? Volunteering? Working? You know there are other people there, right? And you already have something in common! So go to coffee and talk about that thing and grow the friendship from there.
8. Forgive and move on. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the hurt goes away, but it means that we no longer have to shoulder the burden. Even if the other person never repents, forgiving them will free you of the bitterness that is weighing heavy on your heart.
Remember that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Or maybe even a combination of those things. We are a part of every person that we meet, and we can learn from every relationship, even if it’s painful. If you’re in a season of breakup, I’ve been there, sister. I’m praying for you, and I hope these words help your heart.