Breaking Up With My Boyfriend Made Our Friendship Even Stronger

Breaking Up With My Boyfriend Made Our Friendship Even Stronger

We're soulmates, but in a friend way.
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Being friends with your ex: yay or nay?

I'm willing to bet most people say nay. And in most cases, I would agree. I have ex-boyfriends who hurt me so badly that I wouldn't give them the time of day now.

But the truth is that I'm best friends with my ex-boyfriend.

It isn't a secret either. We dated for two years, from 2013-2015. I decided to break it off because it became obvious that we just weren't meant to be together romantically. I knew we would be better off as friends.

Two years later, Dan and I have remained the best of friends. We talk every day, and hang out at least once a week, whether it be hanging out at home cooking pasta in the kitchen, running to WalMart, or going out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

We binge watch "Law and Order: SVU together," while eating ice cream on the couch. We play video games together and roast each other the entire time.

He is still a part of my family, and I am still a part of his. Every summer I accompany him to his family's beach house for a family reunion. I was his date to his mom's wedding. When my grandfather was in the hospital, Dan came with me to visit him. When Dan graduated college this year, he gave me a ticket, and when his name was called during commencement, I cried like a baby.

I've helped him move homes several times, including into his freshman year dorm. We give each other birthday and Christmas presents every year (even though most of the time they are gag gifts).

To most, this probably sounds really weird. How can you be that close with someone you dated?

Our connection is so strong that we have never felt awkward with each other, even though we often make people around us feel awkward. We joke around and have fun just like we always have. He's the best friend I could ever ask for. He's always there for me to lift me up when I'm feeling down, and he is my biggest supporter.

He literally knows me better than I know myself.

Our relationship makes people uncomfortable, including guys I have dated since. I don't expect anyone to understand how our relationship works. It may be unusual, but that doesn't make our friendship any less valid than anyone else's. Almost everyone questions it though. How can you be just friends with someone you were with for two years?

To us, the labels don't matter. We've been best friends for over four years now, and although we tried dating, it just didn't work out. We're soulmates in a friend way, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Cover Image Credit: Dahlia DeHaan

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Falling In Love After Heartbreak IS Possible, Keep Your Heart Open

Something so scary yet exciting, here's all about my personal experience with falling in love after healing from heartbreak.
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Falling in love after having your heart broken time and time again has got to be the most terrifying, exciting, crazy thing to happen. While I can only speak from personal experience, I hope this article resonates with at least one person or promises hope to others that heartbreak isn't the end of the world.

About 7 months ago, my world was turned upside down when the guy I was dating cheated on me.

My heart was absolutely shattered and I didn't think I'd ever get over it. I know, I know, such a naive and childish thing to thing, but I'd say that's pretty typical. Any teenager who has their heart broken by someone they love has a melodramatic breakdown and thinks the world is crumbling down around them for a while.

At the time, I truly believed I would never heal. I ached every day, my heart physically hurt. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, I totally isolated myself from everyone and everything around me. Eventually, I started to feel better- and then one day, it just clicked. I realized that the boy I was missing so much was the guy I had met nearly a year before and the guy who cheated on me and broke my heart was completely different.

The boy I missed wasn't the physical boy who hurt me - it was the idea of him I had in my mind that I had fabricated and polished so well in the absence of him.

The idea I made up of him in my head was a perfect, ideal version of him— the way he seemed when we first met, before I ever imagined he'd do me harm.

The day that I realized I wasn't in love with him but rather than this perfect idea of him was the start of a new beginning.

It's been months since this has happened. Time has gone on, seasons have changed, and I've healed. I started living my life the way I wanted, making tons of friends, going out, and even flirting around again. I sort of accepted that maybe love wasn't for me or maybe I just wasn't meant to find someone perfect for me for a long, long time. Until the perfect guy stumbled into my life at the craziest and most unexpected time - and the rest was history.

From the moment I met him, he swept me off my feet. He's got words that could keep me listening until the end of time - the way he speaks has the cadence of my favorite song. He's intelligent, kind, selfless, and incredibly handsome, both inside and out. Before I knew it, I realized I was falling in love again. My first thoughts were "holy shit," and "oh my God" and "oh my GOD, what am I doing?"… you get the gist.

I was wholeheartedly ready for this kid to break my heart.

Eventually, we ended up becoming a couple and here we are still together today! We haven't been together long, but time really doesn't define feelings. I'm the happiest I've been in a LONG time. He pushes me to strive for greater things. He believes in me and in my goals and aspirations. He makes me laugh my head off and he's so good at cheering me up when I'm down.

I could talk forever about him, but all I'm going to say is that he's the dream guy I never knew I wanted or needed, but now he's here and I can't imagine life without him.

To those who are dealing with a broken heart right now or think they don't have someone out there who's going to love them for them— I promise, it'll come. When you least expect it, when you start to have doubts, it'll come and it'll sweep you off your feet.

If anyone ever needs anyone to talk to, I'm here to listen. Your heart is resilient— it'll be broken time and time again most likely. And when "the one" comes along and puts all the broken pieces back together and makes your heart feel fuller than ever before, you'll know.

Keep your heart open, love infinitely, and believe in the good things coming.

Cover Image Credit: @jordanleedooley

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To the Boy Who Tried to Destroy Me, Thanks For Rebuilding Me

For those who need to find positivity in toxic relationships.
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We all know those people in our lives, that came in and changed everything we seemed to know. You can pinpoint them in your mind, relive the things they did that turned your world upside down and inside out. Those are the people we don’t want to remember. Often, they’re the people we remember the most.

How unfortunate, right?

I have a person like that in my life. For a long time, he was the name I wanted nothing more than to forget, yet I used to consider him one of the closest friends I’ve ever had.

January of my junior year in high school, I met him in Anatomy class. He was a year older than me but no more mature. He had watched me for months, I found out later, he was just waiting for the right time to make his move. The right time being once his girlfriend had left him, of course.

This should have been flag number one for me, and to any girl out there, if a guy is interested in you while he has a girlfriend, who’s to say he won’t be interested in other girls when he’s with you? This was a lesson I had yet to learn.

At this point in time of my life, I had never had a boy like me before. I had never been on a date, had a first kiss, or anything. He wanted to give me those things. Unfortunately, I wanted all those things more than I could admit, more than I had enough self-control to overcome. For years, I was mocked because I was never pretty enough to have a boyfriend. To this day, I’ve still never had a boyfriend. Yeah, I’m almost 20. Age is a number, but body count is too.

We spend so much time exploiting ourselves to others, that we give entire pieces and parts of our bodies away. I fell victim to that.

My desperate 17-year-old self, tired of being laughed at for her lack of beauty, decided to give him a chance. He and I were very similar, we got along well, but we fought plenty too. Since we were so similar, we knew exactly how to get under the other person’s skin. He was my best friend and my worst enemy at the same time and my brain has never hurt more at trying to understand something that complex.

How can someone you care for, ultimately be the one destroying you?

In the first month that we knew each other, my feelings grew immensely for him. He became the person I wanted to see when I woke up, and when I fell asleep, and all the hours in-between. And he was. We talked constantly. Every breathing second of the day.

I guess that’s why it was so difficult for me that no one knew that we were friends. He hid me in the dark, so no one would know about me. He claimed it was because he was going to college in 7 months and didn’t want a committed relationship, and I believed him.

We tend to believe the things we hear, without considering the context of the situation.

Fresh into March, I was replaced overnight, literally, with a girl who he had been chasing behind my back for a month. I had never considered the reason he didn’t want people to know about us was that it gave him every opportunity to shop for someone better. Since we weren’t in a relationship, you can’t really classify this as cheating, but it felt pretty damn close.

Being replaced is worse than being left.

We coexisted in silence for a few weeks, acting to everyone around us as before, as if we didn’t know each other. Under my skin, every part of me ached, ached for being stupid enough to fall for someone who just wanted a toy to play with, ached for not being good enough, and ached, missing him.

It’s hard to just immediately give up on someone you care about. No matter how long you’ve known him or her.

After a few weeks, he broke the silence. Apologizing for what had happened, what he had done. It was the same day he and the other girl went ‘public’. I hated her, and I blamed her for what happened, immediately forgiving him and running back to him. We became friends again, immediately, except this time, I was the only one holding a mess of feelings in my hands. There’s no such thing as ‘just friends’ after the end of a relationship.

The month of April I grew to learn more and more about him. We both struggled with depression and would bring our problems to one another to get help and advice. To this day, no one else has understood my depression and myself, more than he did. To those without depression, it’s extremely hard to conceptualize.

We both also had insomnia, a condition that prevents one from sleeping, usually caused by depression. So, we would spend countless nights up when we couldn’t sleep, talking about the worst parts of life, and what scared us.

By May, his relationship with the other girl was withering, they constantly fought and wanted different things. They also had beliefs on the opposite sides of the religious spectrum - she was a Mormon and he didn’t believe in anything.

He came to me with all of their relationship problems, sending countless screenshots of their conversations for my advice on what to do. Although it hurt every piece of me to read the texts, it was even worse having to pretend to be supportive.

Through all of this time as friends, my feelings for him had grown even more. Watching the way she treated him made me so angry, I knew I would have treated him so differently, so much better. I kept my mouth shut and tried my hardest to be the best friend I could be for him.

And then, one day, they broke up.

I remember the morning so clearly, I was putting away my laundry when I received the news, she had ended things with him. His exact words were,

“I’m free!”

At the time I remember it being funny, but now as I look back, I think, what a horrible thing to say about someone. She may not have been a great girlfriend to him, but no one is perfect, and there is something positive to find in every situation.

The next day he kissed me, and my world was shaken. I wanted nothing more than to be with him, and I was going to do anything it took to have him. This is where I went poorly wrong. If you take anything from all of this please, remember this:

Never change yourself for anyone, be true to who you are, and if they don’t like you, it’s their loss.

We went through the first month of summer, seemingly happy. Once again, he didn’t want anyone to know we were together, but I thought nothing of it because he had just gotten out of another relationship. As time passed from the first few weeks of bliss, he became mean. In passing, he would say hurtful things, insults, that dug deep.

He would tell me I was a little overweight, chubby, only pretty when I had my makeup on, not cut out to wear a swimsuit, and more. These might seem like trivial things, but when you’ve fallen for someone, hearing things like that from the person you love makes it hurt a thousand times worse. It also usually means you believe it.

He would also tell me he got me presents and gifts, things to remind me of him when he left for college, and then I would never get them.

Although he would tell me things like that, there were days where he would tell me I was perfect or beautiful, and it would light up my whole world. Even though there were more days where he would insult me than days he would compliment me, I was blinded by how much I loved him, so much so, that the insults seemed to travel to the unconscious part of my mind where I forgot them.

I haven’t forgotten them, two years later, when I look in the mirror and can’t leave the apartment without my makeup on, or take my shirt off when I’m at the pool, for fear someone else will see me the way he did.

This is when I should have realized that the relationship, the feelings I had for this boy, were completely and utterly toxic.

As June grew into July, things only got worse. He hardly smiled at me and was constantly annoyed with my presence. He threw extravagant parties and claimed the reason I wasn’t invited was that my parents were too strict. In reality, he was sleeping with another girl at these parties. I was unaware, of course. He would still, however, spend time with me when he was bored or didn’t have another girl to entertain.

In the time we spent together, he would constantly remind me of all the things I hated about myself, my pudgy stomach, my freckles, and pretty much who I am as a person. He made me feel so small.

Like before, we weren’t in a committed relationship. He wasn’t my boyfriend. So, let me be clear, cheating is not the right word for this situation, because he was smart enough to play me, and make it look like he did nothing wrong.

And I was stupid for loving him through it.

So, at this point you’re probably thinking, why is she stupid enough to stick around someone who trashes her self-image, and acts like he doesn’t really want to be with her? The answer is one simple word. The word that breaks people to their core, and yet is the most beautiful thing we can give.

Love.

Love is the most destructive, and yet the most regenerative action we possess.

I stayed because my mind couldn’t imagine a world where he didn’t exist in it. I couldn’t process him not being around. We talked about when he left for school, how he would keep in touch. I thought, even if things ended when he left, we would remain friends. Right?

August came all too soon. I was turning 18. I planned my birthday party around him leaving for school because I wanted him there the most. He was supposed to come early to help set up. He had told me about this beautiful thing he had found as my gift. As you probably guessed, he showed up late, and empty-handed. I figured he was lying about the gift.

That was the last night I kissed him. I know that seems dramatic, but I remember he tried to leave the party without telling me, and I saw him creep out the door. I ran after him to his car, and he gave me a quick and sloppy kiss goodbye, and tore off, leaving me standing in the middle of the street alone. He was going to meet another girl, for another date.

August 19th was the last time we spent together, civilly. I had been with a few of his friends, and we went to come get him to come to hang out with us. When they asked him if we were together, he laughed and practically screamed "no!". My heart sank into my stomach. Do you know what it feels like to mean nothing to the person that means everything to you?

I do.

He left for college the next day. Seven days later, I never heard from him again. He completely ghosted me, as if I never existed to him. As if I meant absolutely nothing. A week after that I found out he had been sleeping with another girl the entire time.

Every single inch of my body broke.

For weeks I didn’t even have the energy to get up from my bed, much less talk to anyone. I barely ate. I have never felt so worthless in my entire life. It took all of me, to stand up, go to school, come home, and go to sleep. He truly made me feel like I was absolutely nothing.

January of 2017, he had come to visit our old high school. A few people told me he was looking for me. I didn’t believe them. I should have. I walked into my last class of the day to find him sitting at my teacher’s desk, smug as can be, with his feet propped up on the desk, twiddling his fingers as if he had more important places to be.

I’m so thankful that God placed one of my longtime best friends in that classroom with me because when I collapsed to the floor with an anxiety attack, she was able to quickly get me to the bathroom where he couldn’t see my tears.

I was afraid of him. Terrified, to even be near him.

March soon came, and it was time to make a college decision. I had gotten accepted into 6 amazing colleges, but I had fallen in love with one: A&M. And for once in my life, I decided to not be afraid, to not fear him and what he did to me, but to choose what was best for me. That’s why I’m here today.

In my senior year of high school, I lost 35 pounds, to prove that I wasn’t chubby, or fat. I overcame the depression from his destruction and learned how to get out of bed, move on, and grow. I surrounded myself with people I knew I could trust, and who loved and supported me in ways that he didn’t. I healed.

To be completely honest, I’ve left out many details of what truly happened in this relationship. Details that stay in the back of my mind, the ones that don’t dare come out of my mouth. I, however, am not writing this out of spite for what he did to me, but in gratitude for how it impacted my life, so those details I will keep to myself.

For those of you girls that have experienced a relationship as toxic and horrible as this one, let me tell you this. It may be terrifying. It may be the hardest thing you’ve ever had to overcome in your entire life. However, you can’t let him win. For so long, I let him control my life and hang over me like a shadow. Now, I can walk by him in public, confidently, knowing that I’m loved.

This boy tried everything in his power to destroy every ounce of happiness and joy in my heart. He tried to ruin me and break me by hurting my self-image.

God had other plans.

God showed me, through this, that I have people who love me and would do anything for me. He taught me what it means to truly trust in Him, and that he loves me for exactly who I am. My relationship with the Lord has grown immensely because I’ve learned to rely on Him instead of a boy for my self-confidence.

I have never laughed louder, danced harder, sang brighter, or enjoyed life more than I have these past months. I know now that sometimes we just have to smile through the hard days. No matter how awful things get;

I’m still alive and breathing and I have every day to be grateful for that.

Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid to live your life for you. If someone tries to break you and hurt you, look for how you grew through it, look at the gain instead of what you lost.

To the Boy, if you’re reading this:

I hope you know I have forgiven you for everything. I’m thankful for what’s happened, in a weird way, because it showed me how to live my life, truly happy. I hope you’ve found true happiness too. I pray every day that you are living the life you’ve dreamed of. Thank you for introducing me to things like Tame Impala, How I Met Your Mother and Texas A&M.

Although I talked a lot about the bad parts of our relationship, you showed me what it feels like to be cared for. I know that deep down, some days, you did care. It might have been in a fraction of the way I cared for you, but it was better than you not even caring at all. I also know I was not perfect in any way, shape or form, and I did things wrong too.

I’m genuinely sorry for that. I’m sorry if I caused you pain. It was never my intention.

Thank you for showing me just how strong I can be. I wish you all the best.





Always,

HMS

Cover Image Credit: Author's Photo

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