I used to ask myself this whenever I'd been dating a guy for a long period of time: “Could this guy be it? Am I finally going to experience being in love?”
Sadly, after a few months of dating and reaching that "we were almost in an exclusive relationship" phase, it fizzled out. Either the guy wasn't feeling it, or I was running for the hills, all the while trying to figure out why I was so attracted to him in the first place.
Patiently dating guy after guy, I kept hopping myself back up every time I fell down. Then, the day finally came.
I met someone who made my heart flutter. He formed butterflies that danced around in my stomach, and he lit up my eyes each time he walked into a room. I fell in love with (let's call him) Jeremy*.
Jeremy was the person I looked forward to seeing every week. He was the person I excitedly shared stories with, and most importantly, he became the person I trusted more than anyone else. I couldn't imagine my life without him.
Each day we spent together was more than special. The night he told me he loved me felt absolutely magical.
Jeremy and I dated for almost a year. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.” Our relationship ended.
Like a vase shattering as it hits the ground, my heart felt like it had been broken into a million tiny pieces. Being such a carefree, independent person in the past, I'd always wondered why it was so hard for others to move on from a relationship. It wasn't until Jeremy turned around and told me he didn't want to be with me anymore that I finally understood why.
But what happens when time heals you, and when your heart eventually pieces itself back together? What do you do when you're ready to get out there and fall in love all over again?
Should you start a friendship with that person whom you loved so much? Well, I did.
Although I had moved on from the idea of being with Jeremy and had accepted the fact that what we had will never come back, I still love him. I didn't want someone I love and care for to disappear from my life, so I happily agreed to a friendship with him.
However, in reality, this is what really goes on when you decide to stay friends with someone you still love:
1. You become so high with happiness, you're blind toward the faults in the friendship.
Every time I hung out with Jeremy "as friends," it felt like we were still in a relationship. Our connection was stronger than ever, my heart filled with warmth and we shared stories of our lives, just like we used to in the past. The problem was, we became very cautious of our behavior toward one other.
Unlike in the case of my other friendships, where I would blurt every detail of my love life, speak out my honest (and sometimes brutal) opinions and vent over little things that annoyed me, I couldn't do so with Jeremy. We became so afraid of losing one another again, we started to avoid negativity.
We steered clear of hurting one another's feelings. Instead of trying new things together, we constantly relived the happy experiences we had had in the past.
2. Even though you've come to terms with the fact that your ex could be with someone else, seeing it will still hurt.
I remember walking through town when a tall, tanned brunette caught my eye. From a distance, I looked him up and down. Then, I realized it was Jeremy.
I had the biggest grin on my face as he smiled back at me, mouthing, "Hello." But as I got closer, my vision became clearer.
There he was, standing with a beautiful girl. He was on a date. My heart immediately sank, and my grin faded into a fake smile as I kissed him on the cheek and introduced myself to his date.
I had mentally prepared myself for this day. Whenever the thought crossed my mind, I felt certain I was OK with it. But I may as well have been standing barefoot on burning hot coal. The pain of seeing him with another girl was equally as bad.
3. At times, the realization that you are just friends will still sting.
Jeremy — being the charming guy he is — becomes friends with basically anyone he crosses paths with. He stops and give his full attention to friends he bumps into. He takes friends out for dinner and drinks, and he goes on road trips with them.
For some reason, whenever I engage in such activities with him, I am left thinking our time spent doing these things is more significant than the time he spends with his other friends. But, this is not true.
I am just another friend of his. I am no longer that special someone. Although I have found peace with this, my eyes continually fill up with tears every time the thought comes to mind.
Some people can love another with all their heart and still be able to stay friends with that person. There are exes who have dated for years, and they have become best friends after their breakup.
Friendships with someone you love or once loved can be some of the most beautiful friendships in the world. These friendships involve deep connections and bonds that can't be duplicated. Yet, such meaningful friendships come with a cost.
If you are adamant about becoming friends with someone you still love, just be sure you're aware of the consequences first. A friendship should not exist if you have to fool yourself into being happy.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.