An Open Letter To My Ex’s Friends
Breaking up is never easy. That’s what they say, right? That it’s hard to do. And yes it really is, though both of those are understatements. But what happens after a breakup? When we see the aftermath of a break up in movies and TV the focus is primarily on the dumper, the dumpee, or both. It doesn’t really shine a light on all the other issues that ensue when two become one (yes, I know that reference is supposed to be about unity, but in this case, it is most definitely about a division).
In almost all of my breakups, I have (eventually) found myself in the extremely fortunate position of being on good terms with my ex. This hasn’t always been the case, but when it’s mattered, things have tended to work out positively. And why shouldn’t they? Apart from some tragic exceptions, those people were in my life for a very good reason, I loved them very much. I’m a big believer in the transition of romantic love to friendship love, after all, we know friendship love can turn into romantic love, so why can’t the reverse be just as possible and healthy? There aren’t many people who would know you better.
But this isn’t about me and my exes. It’s not about what I lost from splitting with them romantically, or what I gained from cultivating a friendship with them, it’s about those people who were Team Him before we were a couple, more subtly Team Him when we were together, and then categorically Team Him when we split – with a side of Grrrr. This is an open letter to my ex’s friends.
It meant a lot to be included in your lives, just as I tried to include you in mine, in ours. Because when my ex and I were together we were a strong unit, and it was our life. Our shared life. Making connections with new people, with his people, with YOU, was important to me. I made room for you in my life and considered us to be friends. Did you consider us to be friends? Maybe it’s too late to ever truly know the answer to that question, but honestly, I’m not sure I care to know anymore.
Originally when I thought about writing to you, it came from a place of sadness. I was gutted that you would ignore me in the street, that you didn’t want to have anything to do with me, and that you thought so little of me. The break up was hard, but I didn’t break up with you.
I didn’t break up with YOU.
Picking sides is never easy, but neither my ex or I asked you to do that. I’m so proud to have had friends who had my back, but also made it clear that they still wanted to maintain a relationship with my ex. They saw him for the awesome person that he was, and though things didn’t work out between us, that didn’t mean that the connections made had to be lost.
You didn’t feel the same. I couldn’t believe that the time we had spent together meant so little, that even though things got messy, you didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt. Was I never honest enough with you? Did I not seem genuine? Are you now just my ex’s friends?
The real me.
I suppose now that I think about it, you must have never really known the real me. And who is that exactly? Well, she’s someone who always tries her best. She’s someone who loves fiercely and passionately. She is smart, and strong, and independent. She is loyal to the end. This doesn’t mean that she can’t be misguided at times, or that she doesn’t make mistakes. The real me isn’t perfect.
She tried her best to make the split as painless as possible. She loved fiercely and passionately, and nothing will ever change that. She was smart when she made the choice to end things because she knew something wasn’t right. She was strong when she faced your insults and your snubs. And she was independent when she decided to make her own self-care her number one priority, because her loyalty had made sure that this was never the case.
It was me who ended things with my ex, yes, but a piece of me was torn out all the same. You rubbed salt in the wound. My ex’s friends.
Recently I’ve realized that I’m not angry with you, I’m not even upset anymore. In fact, I do admire your loyalty. But what I don’t understand, what I will never understand, is your close minded and cold indifference.
Thank you for showing me that I’m tough enough to deal with your shit.
Thank you for proving that I can move on from you and the pain that you caused me.
Thank you for being my ex’s friends. I’m glad you no longer pretend to be mine.
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