Breaking Up With Your Best Friend Is Heartbreaking & Here Are The 5 Phases You'll Go Through
You're dating your best friend. It starts off amazingly well: You don't feel like you have to impress them, you have fun doing any and every activity, and everything feels right. But then the relationship has to end for one reason or another and you have to face breaking up with your best friend. Your partner may begin to take advantage of the fact that they think you'll always be there. The chemistry may fade and you might no longer be attracted to them. A move or job might force you to confront whether you're ready for long distance.
Regardless of the reason, if you have to break up with your partner and best friend, there are many phases you experience navigating that. You go through rounds of denial, confusion, mourning, and acceptance. I know because I dealt with this exact situation a couple of years ago. Your emotions can be all over the place, and you might even wonder if breaking up is really the right answer. You could even break up and get back together. You do what you can to make it work, but ultimately, you have to face that the relationship is no longer what it once was, and that both of you deserve better. Here are the phases you go through when you have to break up with a partner who's also your best friend.
The first thing you probably experience when you're realizing that you shouldn't be with that person anymore is denial. You don't want to let go of the relationship, which will likely alter the dynamic between you two forever, because your friendship is the most important thing in the world right now. You write off signs of incompatibility because you click so well otherwise. You avoid breaking up because what it could mean for your friendship, and therefore, are in denial about the reality of the situation: You two aren't right for one another anymore.
You second-guess the reasons you think you may need to end the relationship. You think if you two work so well as friends, how could a romantic relationship not work, too? You get caught up in a lot of confusion over your feelings and how you should proceed with breaking up with that person. You wonder if you two could ever be friends again.
After the breakup, you miss that person constantly. They are the one you want to share how hard this is with, but of course, you aren't able to. You have to go on with your school or work and live your life with them no longer in the picture, at least in the immediate aftermath of the breakup. You wonder how they're doing, what's they're up to, and you feel a huge chunk missing from your life. You slowly but surely learn a new normal.
You may at times feel like it's fine to reach out to your ex or speak to them as if nothing has changed. You could very well hang out with them before you're ready, which may lead to more sadness and confusion. You might see them, or maybe even sleep with them. You want to tangibly feel that closeness you had with that person once again. You're denying how "over it" you are, and maybe not giving the relationship proper time to breathe after it has ended.
After going through the above stages, you feel a wave of acceptance. This stage can happen on any timeline, as everyone deals with breakups at varying paces. At some point, you feel OK with the fact that that person was the closest friend you had at one time in your life, but you're open and welcome to making a similarly strong connection with new people. You grow and learn from that relationship and are ready to share new ones in your life. Maybe at one point you and that person can be close again, but for now, you're OK with the fact that it is over.
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