I was 16 years old when we first met.
He was different from other guys right off the bat. He didn't run when I told him about my personal life. He embraced my hobbies, and he encouraged me to continue to make art.
He made me laugh when I was down, and he understood me in ways no one else could. But like any classic high school relationship, we didn't last.
In fact, he used the term "platonic" when he described our relationship. I was studying for the SATs at the time, and it became my favorite term on the vocabulary list.
I had never heard of this term before, and was baffled by it. I had never loved a boy I wasn't romantically involved with. What did it mean to be best friends with a boy, without having romantic feelings involved?
My friends doubted my ability to remain friends with him. In fact, everyone told me I couldn't be friends with an ex.
He was an "ex" for a reason, and I should just move on. We had our fair share of arguments, and we've spent time not speaking at all.
Yet, we always found a way to make up. We were connected as friends, no matter how many times we tried to move on.
Getting to a new level of friendship with an ex takes a lot of time and patience. Sometimes, old feelings can come about, and you both have to figure out how to get around it in order for the friendship to survive.
Other times, someone is fighting one's own battles, and we have to respect that.
No friendship is ever perfect. But the ones that mean the most to us are the ones worth saving.
Five years later, I have finally figured out how to be friends with an ex. You reach a level of respect and love for your ex that you didn't have before.
Maybe you both have moved on to other lovers, or maybe you've finally found peace in the friendship. My ex from my sophomore year of high school has remained my best friend through college. I love this boy in the most platonic way possible. We fight over stupid stuff one minute, but can be laughing the next.
We can joke around with each other without judgement, and provide unbiased advice.
We also give each other a lot of advice on our romantic relationships. Throughout these past five years, we have discussed, analyzed and learned from our past relationships with each other, as well as with other people. We encourage each other to go on dates with new people, and to give love a chance.
We tell each other when it's worth it to pursue a new relationship and when to wait for the right one to come along. My friend has listened to me cry over numerous guys at our local pizzeria. He's there for me whenever I need to vent or a shoulder to cry on.
I have learned about how guys perceive girls. I've gained insight into what guys look for in a girl, as well as what turns them off.
I learned guys like it when a girl has her hair pulled back and away from her face. They want someone who can make them laugh.
Sometimes, girls give too much of themselves away on a first date, and should know it's OK to keep a little mystery.
Not every guy wants to know your personal life right away, and that's OK. Sometimes, it's worth waiting for a guy who appreciates the quirky aspects of your life.
What I didn't realize about platonic relationships is you can really gain a best friend from them: someone who can talk sass to you, but also give his honest opinion. We protect each other like family, and we respect one another's boundaries.
It's nice to have someone to go to at both 5 in the evening AND 2 in the morning.
I never imagined myself becoming friends with an ex, but it was the best decision I ever made. We learn the types of people we really connect to as we get older.
If you had a romantic connection with an ex, imagine what a platonic connection could be like. Maybe you were just meant to be friends with an ex because you connect more on a friendship level.
These are the friendships to hold onto.