Updated: Jan 21
Photo by Trinity Kubassek
We’ve all had those breakups that are hard to leave behind, and some of us have had those breakups that are for the best. The well known ‘let's be friends’ speech can be a lot of different things. It can be okay, or it can be awful. It all depends on you. How you felt about the breakup and how you felt about him.
Was your relationship closer to that of a friendship than it was a dramatic love affair? If that is the case, you are probably happy to hear that he wants to be friends. Do it! If you are comfortable with being friends, or if the thought of him with another woman does not break your heart, then go for it. Be his friend. It may be what you guys were always meant to be.
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People can mistake friendship love for romantic love. It happens. You loved each other. You just misunderstood what kind of love it was. If you split amicably just because you weren’t right for each other, then being friends could be a great move. A man and a woman can be friends, and no matter what people may think, it is up to you. Let that friendship thrive.
If you try to be friends because you think you can handle it but it turns out to be too hard, it's okay to end that friendship. You are allowed to change your mind. It's okay that you made a mistake. You underestimated your feelings. When that happens though, know you are obligated to fix the situation for yourself.
If you did have that dramatic love affair kind of relationship, do not do it. I’m talking about true romantic love — think The Notebook kind of love. You’ll feel like you’re losing your best friend, but remember that you guys are no longer together for a reason. The only thing you should hold onto is that reason.
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If he was your prince charming and he ended things, then he wasn’t your prince charming. A perfect relationship does not end for no reason. If he ended things with you, without real warning, that alone is enough of a red flag. Whatever his reason was is an even bigger red flag. If he did not want to be with you, then he wasn’t the one for you. Accept that.
He may just want to be friends, and you may agree to it because deep down you think it's a chance for him to fall in love with you again. Like I said before, he was not your prince charming. Being his friend won’t end the way that you secretly hope it will. He may care about you, but he knows that he cannot reciprocate your feelings. Asking you to be his friend is selfish.
Becoming his new bestie means watching him move on, watching him go on dates and eventually fall in love with someone else. If you can’t handle that, it’s okay. It’s completely normal, you just need to stand up for your own well-being. Just because he asked, does not mean you must comply. Your priority should be you. While you might be tempted to hold on to what once made you happy, recognize that it is time to move on. Focus on what you need in the long run, not what you want at the moment.
Letting yourself get caught up in the vicious ‘friendship’ cycle is never a good idea. More likely than not, you’ll end up staying in love with each other. There will be no room to move on, and one of you will inevitably want to give things another chance. No matter how tempting it may sound, giving it another chance is a bad idea. Like I said before, focus on what you need and not what you want. If your heart is broken, you need time and distance. Being their friend will only prolong your heartache.
The reverse of this situation has the same effect. You shouldn’t ask him to be friends either. It is okay to let him know you’ll be there for him. Try not to be selfish. You may not mean to pressure him, but he still loves you. He still wants to please you and make you happy. If you decided to break up with him then you know that you cannot give him what he wants or needs, respect your own decision. Don’t negate it by pulling the “let’s be friends” card yourself.
The ‘let’s be friends’ talk is tricky. It takes a lot of deliberation and self-searching. You have to be honest with yourself. At the end of the day, it’s okay to make mistakes, but you eventually need to fix the outcome if it is not good for you. Prolonging your heartbreak is never the answer.
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