It's hard to be friends with your ex, but it's worth it.

The Journey To Being Friends With Your Ex Is A Long And Hard One, But Trust Me, It's Worth The Trouble

Four years later and I'm grateful.

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The sun shone through the windshield of my little gray Beetle speeding along the Adirondack thruway as my friend and I were headed home from our trip to Montreal, Canada. The trip was everything I had hoped it would be—I was captivated by the beautiful city and its charm, rich history, and insanely good food. On top of all that, I got to experience it with a good friend, who also happens to be an ex of mine.

1. We met in high school, and got to know each other through band, something we both loved

We became close friends until we realized it might be more than that. We'd bop along to Taylor Swift, our band music (I know, I know, we're nerds), and play video games together for a year before realizing it wasn't for us.

The breakup was hard at first, for me at least. This was the first person I had cared about in such a profound way, and it was the absolute most fun I had ever had with anyone in my life at that point.

2. It's really hard losing your best friend when they're right there in front of you

All those things I would usually be able to tell him about — my day, how I was feeling, the consistency of this guac I just got with my bowl — seemed pointless to talk about. Of course, we cared about each other, but it was the hardest thing to see him in class every day after and not feel pain with all the memories that would flood my brain the moment I would meet his gaze. For a while, all I wanted was for everything to go back to the way it was.

3. It seemed like things would never be normal again

I was stuck at a crossroads, with people telling me that the only way to move forward was to completely remove him from my life. On the other hand, at the beginning of our relationship, my friend and I had promised we would try to remain friends if it didn't work out. We knew we would have to see each other in class and around school anyways, and it seemed unnecessary to cease talking altogether. We started out as friends, and we were determined to end as friends. As unlikely as it was, I hopped on board with the idea, much to the disapproval of my other friends.

4. You'll go through a time where you hate the other person

Weeks had gone by into our attempt to staying friends, but it was extremely difficult as feelings of frustration and animosity started to build. Our conversations became trivial, our interactions shy and reserved — we didn't know what to say. We'd dance around tough topics until it would die down to an awkward silence. It no longer felt genuine and I hated being part of something fake and worse than if we had just broken up and never spoken to one another ever again. I wanted to yell at him for suggesting we try this because it seemed that we would never recover from this awful, shattered relationship now.

5. We finally parted ways

He graduated high school a year before I did, and we would talk occasionally over text, but days would go by before we'd speak again. The distance was helpful, and eventually, I was no longer concerned or worried about what would become of us. I remember frequently wondering if this was finally the last time we would ever speak to one another. I was ready to let it go, and I had accepted that maybe this was the point our friendship would sail away. I was thankful for all the memories.

6. Years later, we both found love again

We never really did stop texting. Soon it became normal to see his name pop up on my phone, and each time it did, I could feel that pang of longing and sadness fade into... nothing. For the first time in forever, I thought of him as a friend instead of an ex. Our conversations, though they were only over text, started becoming fun again. I was no longer scared about upsetting the balance while texting. We both got into happy relationships in college for a time, and we found love with our respective significant others and in our own relationship with one another. We could finally talk about things again, our personal love lives, college, the music we loved, all without the weight that we seemed to carry before.

7. I had a crazy idea

We would see each other back at home when we'd be off of school. It wasn't weird seeing him again after so long, and it seemed like the conversation would pick up right where we'd left off. We have similar tastes in many ways and it helped that our easy-going natures would have us genuinely enjoy the time we would spend hanging out with our other friends. In the midst of the past fall semester, I had a crazy idea to go on a trip to Canada, but I didn't really know which of my friends would enjoy a trip like that as much as I would. And then I realized I should just ask him. I was scared because all of a sudden it wasn't me asking my friend to go on a road trip, it was me asking my ex if he wanted to spend three days in a beautiful city right around the holidays. I knew it was gonna maybe be weird.

8. Oops, we're in Canada

As nervous as I was about asking, I realized that I didn't care because it wouldn't affect our friendship, even if he said no. He told me he loved when he went to Quebec with his family and would be down to go back to Canada someday, but he wasn't sure when he'd be able to make a trip happen. A couple weeks later, he messaged me saying he had found some extra cash and asked if I was still willing to go to Montreal. We planned our trip and all of a sudden it was official and we were really going.

9. An experience like nothing else

The trip was comprised of everything we wanted to do — most of which were the same things. We knew each other well enough to pick up on whether we were having fun or bored and ready to move on to the next activity. Our similar tastes and easy-going attitudes made finding things to do and places to eat really easy. It was a relief to me that we were both enjoying ourselves together as friends. Looking back on where we started, I never would have thought we would end up on a trip to Montreal together and actually enjoy it. It's an experience I will always look back on with satisfaction because through all the hardship and pain, we finally made it someplace we can care about one another. It had made me realize that I look forward to all the places our friendship could take us, literally!

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Being A Military Wife Is Not The Same As Serving In Active Duty

It's about balance, and it's hard to find a happy medium between serving and supporting your spouse.

yahairas
yahairas
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I enlisted into the United States Air Force as a fresh-faced 18-year-old. I had just graduated high school and never experienced life on my own, away from what I knew and my loved ones and friends. The military was my first legitimate job. Thankfully, I knew independence since I had parents that ensured I knew how to handle myself. That does not mean I joined knowing everything there was to know. Far from it, actually, but that's OK.

My first and only duty station was Malmstrom Air Force Base. Before you think that Malmstrom is some exotic and foreign land, it's definitely not. My first base was in Montana. A very cold and unpredictable climate where you could experience beautiful summer sunshine one day and the next, find yourself running back up to your room to escape from the unexpected blizzard.

I was stationed in Montana as a security forces member (military police) for six very long years. During this time, I met some wonderful people as well as some people I know I would not mind never seeing again. I did a lot of my growing up at this location.

There were hard lessons that needed to be learned and experiences that I had to have in order to know what and what not to do in the future. Security forces is not the easiest or best job in the military. There are more challenges as a security forces member than most careers in the Air Force. There is the very likely chance of deployment into hostile locations where the member will face life and death challenges and have to make quick and ugly decisions and the schedule and duties are not ideal.

However, the good often outweighs the bad. The rewards for surpassing these challenges that seemed insurmountable at the time are some of the best in the world. I can say that the life lessons during my time in the service, no matter how uncomfortable it was at the time, is an experience of a lifetime. These challenges are unknown to the military spouse.

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Not long after separating from the military, I got married. We met while I was still in the military. My husband is still active duty in the Air Force, turning me into a military wife and dependent. It was a different role to take, knowing how many people in the military viewed military spouses. I found myself in a different bracket or tier than a lot of people. I was a military wife that was prior military. I understand the challenges my husband still undergoes in his enlistment because I knew the military life at one point. I did not have to be introduced into the military and the way it works blindly.

Throughout my enlistment, there were stories and jokes regarding military spouses, with emphasis on the military wife. Even now that I am no longer in the service, I still see memes on social media where military wives serve as a running joke. The jokes involving weight, attractiveness, infidelity or wives wearing the rank of their military spouse while attempting to utilize what power that rank may hold. Due to the stories I heard while I was in, I had a pre-conceived idea of what to expect as a military spouse. Some of the stories and jokes came from a center of truth. However, the stigma for a military wife would follow any and all military wives no matter the validity or lack thereof.

Photo of Yahaira Seawright at her Airman Leadership school graduation Yahaira Seawright

When I became a military wife, I wanted to make sure I did not fall under that stereotype. Becoming the dependent gave me something else to consider. It gave me the unheard side of those military spouses. There are so many challenges that we also face while being married to the military.

For example, we pick up and go at a moment's notice and often leave our careers behind if our spouses get moved. This makes it really hard to make friends and connections with other people. Plus, there's the reality that our spouses could lose their lives serving for our country.

A lot of the time, we become a single parent when our spouses are deployed. If we do go with, finding employment is really competitive and hard to do at all. It's hard on both of us because neither party will ever truly understand why things are done a certain way. Some things just aren't fair and that's a hard reality to deal with.

So, yes, the service of the military member is the military member's service, not ours. That fact does not mean we do not have our own sacrifices we made when we decided to marry into the military family.

The experience of the military member and the military spouse are two different sides, but they're both equally important.

yahairas
yahairas

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