When it Feels Like a Breakup, Except it’s Not

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Real Life Stories

Things they don’t tell you about losing close friends: Sometimes, it takes a while to get over your loss, similarly to how a breakup feels…except it’s not a breakup.

It takes a lot for me to dismiss people from my life — I tend to have a bit of a long fuse and give people second and third and fifteenth chances to get it right.

But once I decide you’re out, you’re out for good. Your chances have expired. You have no more money in the bank. I deleted a number of people I went to high school with off my Facebook friends list. They lost their chances. And while this thinking may sound harsh, I want nothing to do with them anymore.

However, that doesn’t make the “breakup” any easier, at least not initially.

“But they took advantage of you. You should be happy!”

Truth be told, I’ve echoed the same sentiment when I’m the person offering the helpful advice and the shoulder to cry on. That is absolutely correct. They did take advantage, and maybe, with time, I will be happy and realize that our “breakup” was the best thing that could have happened.

I’m already thinking of all the newfound time that I’ll have as a result, and of spending that newfound time with people who appreciate all of me. People I can trust. People who I have every confidence will fight for me. People who will never betray me. People who will never make me look or feel like an idiot.


But even knowing all of that, it still hurts. Sure, it’s possible that it hurts more for highly sensitive people, but I have every right to still feel hurt.

Yet I still find myself listening to a five-year-old mix CD that one person in this cohort made for me way back when, before things were different. I drive past the exit for one of their houses on my way to work and feel the telltale lump in my throat every single time, on the ride to work and on the ride home. I see their Facebook updates and can’t bring myself to click “Unfriend” just yet.

To have this on the record: I didn’t want it to end this way.

I miss what used to be, and the people they used to be (or, I should say, the people I thought they were). I close my eyes at night and cannot fall asleep because memories play on a loop in my head. I still wake up sad, knowing that I have to deal with the feelings of loss and betrayal and even humiliation all over again — they haven’t packed their bags and left town.

But one thing that I do know (as someone who has experienced these types of “breakups” before), is while it’s going to get worse before it gets better, it’s going to get better. Writing, of course, helps. Chats with friends help a lot, and being surrounded by people who know that I can’t just blink and be “over this” — and that I have their support — helps even more.

Yet, I have to keep reminding myself that it gets better, and that instead of focusing on who I’ve lost, it’s important to focus on who is still here and hasn’t left my side for one second.

5 thoughts on “When it Feels Like a Breakup, Except it’s Not

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