Have you experienced it?
This magnetism was strong between my first girlfriend and me. No matter how many times we screwed each other over, there was always a random run-in that reunited us. At first I thought it was a sign that we were the real deal; that our love was just too precious to throw away. But after the second time she cheated on me, I could no longer pretend. This was a different beast. And I continued to lock horns with it.
We swore off the relationship and decided to just be friends. But friends don’t do what we did.
We visited each other for weeks at a time and did everything that couples do — the kissing, the cuddling, the intimacy. We just didn’t text in between.
Then there were desperate times that forced one of us to call the other, crying and blabbering about how we couldn’t live without the other. Even though I knew the inevitable outcome of being with Brie…I just couldn’t get over her. Actually, I wouldn’t.
I thought it was somehow noble to remain friends, and that friendship could make meaning of all the heartache we put each other through. But being friends only caused more heartache, more anxiety, more jealousy. So I entertained the idea that maybe ex lovers weren’t supposed to be friends.
The chemical bonds we make through sex are strong, after all — strong enough to keep a hold a marriage together for life. And strong enough to completely override our common sense. We just kept hurting each other.
I never wanted to say goodbye to Brie. She was a sweetheart, and she meant more to me than anyone else in the world. But none of that could change the facts: we weren’t good for each other. And we interfered with each other’s development.
So after our last split I decided I’d have to sacrifice our friendship if I wanted to preserve my sanity.
Even though we were still on good terms, I blocked her number. I deleted her Facebook friend requests. And I tossed out the tokens of love that I’d held on to for so many years, like the notes. And the panties.
Deleting our favorite songs together was like tearing out a chunk of my heart. I searched for everything that could possibly arouse those old feelings, and I made sacrifices of them all. It was painful, but I had to make the break. Once and for all.
Brie had been my security for so long that it was hard for me to imagine life without her. But life kept happening. I dealt with the anxiety and loneliness on my own, knowing that contact with her was no longer an option. And I grew up.
I missed her like crazy. And I still long for her on occasion. But instead of acting on those impulses by reconnecting — and halting my personal progress — I pray for her. I ask God for all the happiness she needs, to give her peace, and to keep an eye out for her. I ask that she can find her true calling and create the fulfillment that I’ve found on my own. And I feel better.
In praying for Brie just for her sake, with no connection to my wants, I’m finally doing what I should have done for her as her boyfriend — I’m loving her selflessly. And in those prayers, I’m strengthening my ability to love my future wife the way she deserves.
It turns out that I didn’t need a friendship with Brie to make our relationship mean something. Severing my connection with her was the hardest thing, but I wouldn’t be half the man I am today if I hadn’t done it. And in learning to let go, I’ve embraced Brie more fully than I’d done while we were together. I’ve realized that Brie will never be the answer to my problems — nor will any other woman. And I’ve finally grown up in my faith.
If you’ve had trouble letting go of the one you thought was the one, it might be time to let go of the friendship.
Originally published at medium.com