Something nagged at me today. I had a conversation a couple years ago with some stranger online. The conversation turned to past relationships, I remarked how I’ve managed to remain friends with most of my exes. Granted that we’re not all bosom buddies, but we can hold a conversation without suddenly breaking out in a rage. Half the time, it’s like we were never into each other in that way.
I’m a proponent of remaining friends with a former romantic interest. There are a few obvious exceptions to the rule. If your ex happens to be a manipulative, abusive, or toxic dick asshole*, then it’s best to cut that person out of your life to the fullest extent.
However, if the relationship ended on good terms, I don’t understand why being just friends is taken off the table. Of course, it isn’t an easy or quick transition. There is a sense of rejection no matter how mutual the break up. Time is needed to heal. There are tears. Days of pondering. Trust me. I know. Depression alone is a dizzying roller coaster. Throw in a heartbreak and you have a ride that’ll leave you puking up your bowels.
“If you can be friends with her, then you never really loved her,” said the Tinder profile pic**.
“It’s just plain truth,” she replied.
We’re taught several misconceptions about love. One of the greatest being that love is easily defined and pigeon-holed into a single idea. The true love lie. Believers flock up religiously to yell into the void: “If you really loved someone, then you’ll love them forever.” Thing is people change. Who you fall in love with isn’t necessarily the person you end up with. Or, in several cases, the person you fell in love with remains in stasis, a case of arrested development.
You grow apart. You become two puzzle pieces forced to fit the other.
“Yeah, ok, but if you’re still friends with her, it’s obvious you still love her.”
And I do. Just differently. Love is something fluid. Like gender, it’s not just a binary idea that you can bend to your will. Romantic love can evolve into platonic love. And the reverse is just as likely.
“Ok. But you obviously want to fuck her.”
“I don’t have sex with my friends.”***
It’s years later. It’s earlier today. We’re in the waiting room when the lady looks at both of us and smiles. “I like how you two get along so well. I’ve seen a few divorced families and I wish they could get along as well as you. You’re one of the good ones.”****
When we’re left alone again, she turns to me and asks, “Have you established anything with V?”
“No. We’re just friends.”
“Like friends, or people who say they’re just friends but do boyfriend/girlfriend stuff.”
“Define boyfriend/girlfriend stuff.”
“I mean, I’ve done a lot of boyfriend/girlfriend stuff with girls like Miranda. She used to make me carry her pads when we’d go to Walmart.”
“Yes. Something like that.”
“No, I don’t do that with her.”
“Well not that that, but you know…”
“I pay for everything. And we hang out almost every weekend.”
“See stuff like that.”
“But she wasn’t really that comfortable with the whole me paying for everything at first.”
“Are you ok with being just friends?”
“Yes. And no. I don’t know.”
“I asked Shaun about her.”
“Yeah. He’s there sometimes when she is. So he was talking about her and you and him. And I asked him, ‘Shaun, who’s V?’ and he said, ‘Daddy’s girlfriend?’ Like he didn’t really know. I just thought you should know that.”
Something to mull over, I guess.
*Thank you Crissy for that phrase.
**It wasn’t Tinder. I promise. But for the purposes of this post, it was most definitely Tinder.
***This may not be as honest as I had intended. It also goes without saying the conversation halted shortly after. We unmatched and went our separated ways.
****This quote is heavily reworded, paraphrased, and may not represent the quoted 100%. However, because some elements of my personal life shall remain personal, I took the liberty to rework this into something that fits the post. If you don’t like it, suck it.
Addendum: Another lie that we’re told is that we only have so much love to offer. As if we can’t love people equally but differently. This idea was in the original post, but WordPress crapped out and erased a good chuck of my post. I left it out because the subject turned. I’ll visit it again later.