I had a conversation over the weekend with my best friend. She and I have been through all kinds of highs and lows together. We’re going on ten years as best friends and I’m happy to say she’s been a real constant in my life. On this particular outing we talked about what a friends role is in your life and what it shouldn’t be. A friend should lift you up and make you the best version of yourself. You should do the same for them. You are they might get low sometimes and require love and support, but for the most part the people in your life should make you feel happy.
Yesterday, I saw me ex for the second time. For those of you who don’t know, it’s been a year and a half since I broke up with him. We’d been together for seven years and were living together. It was hard finally making the decision to leave. I was at my lowest point ever. I just packed up one day and decided I needed to find a way to be happy and I wasn’t going to be able to do it with him. He took it hard. After we figured out how to pack up all our things and give notice to our landlord, he told me in an indirect way that he didn’t want to talk to me unless it was an emergency. Because I’d been the one to leave, I decided that he was entitled to not wanting to see me and I did my best to give him that. I was really bummed of course because I hadn’t stopped caring about him, and I was used to him being my best friend. But I didn’t call him at all.
Fast forward. A few weeks ago we were at an event together and it was… weird, but fine. We were polite, we talked, we quickly caught up and said ‘let’s not be strangers’. He told me to text him if I was ever in his neighbourhood. So yesterday, having brunch with a friend in his neighbourhood, I casually texted him to say ‘as promised, letting you know I’m a few blocks away’. I was surprised when he told me to swing by his place. I thought we might go for coffee or something, but apparently he wanted me in his home! I was thrown off by this, but I sucked it up and went over. There was a time I’d been too self-conscious to even consider it, but I’m now able to trust myself to handle even the most awkward situations.
Nothing particular happened. I saw his place and it was exactly what I expected. He hasn’t improved in the decorating department at all. There are still wires everywhere, nothing matches, and it’s all about convenience over looks. It’s the kind of place a college student would live. It’s not that I’m snobby about how someone lives, but it was a major sticking point when we were together. I’m a little artistic and creative, and I love to make my living space reflect that.
Anyway, back to the point of this article. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should push for him and I to be friends. After leaving him yesterday, I felt… kind of not good. It’s not that we said anything mean to one another, but I was left with this feeling of unease. It took me a long time to place it. It was doubt. I haven’t spent much time doubting myself in the last year. Sometimes I struggle, but mostly I feel confident that I am a capable, intelligent person and I can figure things out and achieve anything I put my mind too. After leaving him, I wondered if any of my decisions have been the right ones. Not about the breakup, but about life. He’s spent the whole time subtly bragging about himself, making sure I knew that I hadn’t ruined him. I’m not sure he did it on purpose, but it was obvious that he had something to prove.
I feel like that answers my question about whether or not he and I should be friends. The answer is no. I realize now that being with him had brought me to my lowest point. Being with him again for two hours immediately started dragging me down again. That right there is a big, major, colossal sized red flag. Not only am I reassured that breaking up with him was the right thing, but I realize that for me, he’s toxic. The last year and a half I’ve spent time building up my confidence, learning to love myself again and generally being happy. When he and I were together, I never blamed him for my unhappiness. I assumed it was mostly to do with me. But I know now that it had a lot to do with him and the person I become around him.
This is a person that doesn’t make me the best version of myself, and I’m certain I don’t make him the best version of himself. Even though I miss the friendship he and I had, I’m not going to try and force anything. If it happens naturally I won’t fight it, but I’m not going to push to see him again. Like I did a year and a half ago when we broke up, I’m choosing me. My happiness is the most important thing in my life, and letting him go gives me the best chance to achieve and maintain it.