Is it possible to truly be friend with exes or former flings? Can you really go back to just being friends after all has passed, the good and the bad? Is there such a thing as friends with exes or do we just end up being ex friends?
A year ago, my two good friends started talking to each other. They had been friends for years, but it wasn’t until last year when things started to escalate from platonic friendship. They were happy for the brief moment they were “together,” but other circumstances complicated their romance. In the end it didn’t work out. It was hard seeing my friends avoid all contact after being through so much. I knew both parties were hurt, even though others think otherwise. They remained civil around social settings, pretending nothing ever happened. Time passed and I thought they were back to the state of being friends again. I was wrong. One friend confessed about still having lingering thoughts about the other person. I think the feeling was mutual. Today my friend informed me that the other person deleted them on Facebook. It seemed like my other friend wanted to completely sever whatever remaining ties they had left. After a year has passed, I thought it surprising that this is happeningnow rather than immediately after their end.
From personal experience, I know it’s hard going back to the state of equilibrium. I’ve never had official exes since I’ve never been in a relationship, but I’ve been through pseudo-relationships- spending every waking moment talking to that person, thinking about them, and doing things couples do without officially announcing it. After it didn’t work out, I felt broken. Though my defenses have been knocked down leaving me vulnerable to anything. It was hard even being friends on Facebook, everything he said or did devastated me. He was moving on with his life without me while I held on to a glimmer of hope that he’ll pursue me again. I couldn’t heal when seeing his activities was like tearing at the sutures of my heart. I resorted to blocking any visible reminders of him, but I didn’t want my pain to be obvious for people to see. After the initial effects of our demise, I masked pain with a volume of men I knew I had no future with. It soothed my ego knowing that others can still want me even if he didn’t. Eventually I got over it, and finally came to peace with reality on my own through introversion and a time of solitude.
It’s also been a year since it all happened for me, and I can’t say that seeing pictures of him happy doesn’t affect me. There’s still a tinge of pain that echoes in my heart though not as resounding as before. I don’t think I’m alone with this sentiment. When you encounter someone that you once cared for, the feeling never fully goes away. The physical presence may be gone, and the longing may not be so severe, but there’s a ghost of a memory still present in the corners of our minds. It looms in the shadows of our consciousness resurfacing when we least expect it. It’s a tragedy to feel like strangers again for a while. To pretend that the little things that used to make us so happy was all just a dream. To deny that us and we never existed, and that it was always just he/she and I. Eventually after ample time when wounds have healed, it may be possible to reconnect and try to forge a friendship, but the history can never be erased. Who knows, maybe it is possible to be saved from the fate of losing your former flame. Maybe after finding a better match for us all the haunting memories diminish and eventually disappear. Whatever the future holds, only time can tell.