Have you ever looked back at a past lover and thought ‘we should have just been friends’? I have, often. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I don’t mean that I’ve wondered ‘what was I thinking, we should have never dated’. I simply mean that some relationships are meant to be friendships.
Sometimes you meet people and there is an instant connection. You date them, because that seems to be the natural progression and for whatever reason, things end. You fall out of love. But that doesn’t mean you stop loving them altogether.
That ongoing love can be terrible or terrific. It can result in a heartbreak you struggle to get over, or it can give you a new lease on your relationship. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been really lucky with that ongoing love and that you definitely shouldn’t always stay friends once a relationship has ended. Everyone has to do what’s right for them.
That said, of the people I’ve dated, I now consider two of them best friends. Not just ‘we’re still Facebook friends and attend each other’s birthdays’ type friends, but actual best friends.
One of these best friends of mine has wisely answered the ever asked “why do you stay friends with an ex?” in the most simple and logical way. He said, “you spend all that time getting to know someone and you obviously enjoyed hanging out with them, why throw it all away?” I re-use his explanation all the time.
The people I have dated are still some of my favourite people in the world. They are people I trust with my life, people I know will look out for me, people who have seen me at my most crazy and know all my bad habits and still choose to be my friend. There is this unconditional love. They know more about me than most of my other best friends. They aren’t afraid to call me on my bullshit because they know I’ll still love them afterwards, and vice versa. It’s a unique relationship. It’s one I’m really grateful for.