I received a few days ago an email where I was very kindly asked to comment on the idea of separation and friendship… And because I want to make everyone of my readers happy, acknowledging of course that this a very popular and familiar topic to talk about, I decided I would give it a go!!! However, before I begin I would like to specify that each person should be responsible for the conclusion that he/she makes, as each case is unique and should be addressed differently. In addition, I would like to add that I would be more than happy to receive many more ideas, suggestions from the rest of you! So here we go…
The process of separation is undoubtedly a painful one, and I’m sure many of you have heard this before – “ok we broke up! Can we still be friends”? However, have you actually considered whether this is a good idea or not? Could this option potentially create more pain and suffering?
It’s quite common for ex partners to remain friends but sooner or later they have to face the music… A new partner involved in the equation! And then what happens to “but we said we would still be friends!” I need to move on with my life”, is not enough!
It is quite difficult for the partner, who still has unresolved feelings about the other one, to be able to accept his/her new role – the role of the friend. Being a friend is a very different role than being a partner. At times, the idea of establishing a friendly relationship may seem ideal but is it realistic enough?
Before we jump into conclusions, I would encourage each partner to realise, understand and come to a conclusion regarding the reasons why he/she feels the need to keep this relationship with the other person alive, even if a separation has taken place.
In order for this to happen, each partner has to understand the fact that there has been a major change in their current relationship, and both of them would ideally have to “grieve” for this relationship, before they can, separately, decide to move on to the next romantic one. This is a very important step as each partner is unofficially asked to learn to be on his/her own again, as opposed of being part of a dyad. Even though, the formation of a friendly relationship, as opposed of a romantic one, might seem like the ideal scenario, it does not allow each party involved to make the necessary change and accept the idea that they are single again; ready to open a new chapter in their life, both emotionally, and physically, and allow for new people, relationships and moments to come in.
Ηowever painful or difficult you might find this stage of your life, there will come a day when you will have managed to go through it all. This is the time when you will be ready to appreciate everything new in your life and enjoy it.
Human nature consists of various significant cycles that we all have to go through, appreciate, live and “grieve” in order to be able to move forward. Each day, we are always encountered with the unfamiliar path that life takes us, but that’s life…
In each life cycle change, in every stage, there is a change which takes place, involving upheaval, fear for the unknown, joy, excitement as well as anxiety and sadness for having to let go; letting go something which is safe, already acquired and comfortable.
Therefore though grief is usually associated with pain it should also be associated with progress, with human evolution!
Difficult situations are part of everyday life but however difficult they may appear initially, they are here to teach us, to enable us to grow and to move forward… Remember these words next time and once you make the change you will be able to appreciate that “everything happens for a reason”…
Eva Lychrou is a psychotherapist based in London and in Athens, helping people deal with family issues, relationship difficulties and self development in general.
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