As I've got older I've come to realise that just like many romantic relationships, some friendships don't last forever. There are such things as unhealthy friendships. And yet I don't feel we're taught that enough when growing up. Maybe you had a different experience, but from the women I've spoken too, it seems that breaking up from unhealthy friendships isn't something that's done very often. And then we're left trying to hang on to the past or stressfully make something work that has run it's course. So often we're in a toxic friendship without either person even realising it.
I can't tell you why we feel the need to stay connected to unhealthy friendships or where the conditioning begun, but I can tell you that it's ok to have a break up. Any relationship in life, whether it's romantic or platonic, needs to be healthy, loving and respectful from both sides. In some cases, when the scales aren't balanced, when people have changed and when life has moved on, it's time to break up.
This isn't to say that any hurdle in a friendship means that it needs to finish, it's important to support each other of course. But we do need to draw the line somewhere and question where we are benefitting from being in something so unhealthy. And most of the time, even if the friend doesn't realise it at the time, if the friendship really isn't working, it will be best for them too, to have some distance and maybe even call it a day.
I struggled with this concept so much. Feeling like I was letting people down if I walked away, feeling like I was a horrible friend, but like I said before, people change (you and me included), and as we evolve in our lives, we might go down different paths. Some friendships will cope with that, but some won't. And that really is ok. You can still have love for someone and a friendship that once-was, but that doesn't mean it needs to be forever. Just like a romantic relationship... You can be grateful for the time you had with a loved one, still love them in many ways, and respect them, but also still know that the relationship wasn't serving you (and probably them). And when you bring it to an end, you end up happier and on a clearer path.
Who knows, maybe your friendship just needs a time out, a little breathing space and then you'll reconnect. But accept the time for what it was, stop forcing something that brings you down and is unhealthy.
The hardest part is the break up itself. Remember that just because you see it one way, doesn't mean your friend will understand and see it the same way as you. All you know in this situation is how you feel and that you don't want to feel like that any longer. There's no need to put blame on your friend, ultimately it's a two-way partnership, so just explain how you feel and that you need space.
I'm not saying it'll be easy. Maybe there will be tears. Maybe feelings of guilt, sadness, anger and longing. Maybe there will be feelings of relief and freedom. Whatever it is for you, know that it's ok. Just another reminder that a platonic friendship is just as much in need of care and attention as a romantic relationship and that at some point it might come to an end.
Honouring yourself, your happiness and what you want in your life, can be challenging sometimes, but it might be just what you need.
Have you ever broken up from unhealthy friendships? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below.
I filmed a video about a similar topic - check it out here.
Love, Cat x