Why a breakup with a friend hurts more than a relationship split

Kylie and Jordyn pose for their beauty product collaboration
Kylie and Jordyn pose for their beauty product collaboration

I don't think that we ever consider that any of our friendships might come to an end someday. When you think about all the memories you have with that person and all the special moments you've shared, it can become inconceivable that one day they will simply become a contact on your phone or someone you used to know.  

READ MORE: Do you have to be friends with your ex?

They are not alone however, other people have also had to part ways with their dear friends. Here's a story that was shared with us: 

I met my friend in first year and we became a pretty close pair immediately. She really meant a lot to me and I thought we were going to grow old together, but in third year, we had a fight and she called it quits. This was in 2015 and it’s still the worst breakup I’ve ever been through. I cried and mourned for three months. Even though we’ve both apologised to each other since then, we don’t talk anymore. It was a tragedy, really, because I esteem friendship above every other kind of relationship.

Some Twitter users understand the pain that can come from a split with a platonic friend. 

This kind of breakup is heart wrenching and relationship expert Paula Quinsee explains that we hurt so much because we have invested our time, memories in these friendships. She says, "you would have shared a lot of things together, [attended] social occasions, shared memories, and been a part of each other’s lives".

Paula adds that there is also the fact that your closest friend is the person you would confide in about certain things, "You have shared a lot with each other so that is why it feels the same as a relationship with a romantic partner because this person has been so close to you and so involved in your life," she explains. 

Mimi Hewett who is a registered relationship and family counsellor explains that friendships end for different reasons. "Some friendships only last for a certain season in our lives and when the season has come to an end, it may seem that you don’t have all that much in common with this friend anymore."

For example one of the friends could be getting married or starting a family while the other leads a different life. "One friend could have moved to a different city or country and spending time together might get more and more difficult. Or you could find that you don’t have anything interesting to talk about with each other anymore," she adds.

READ MORE: Should you tell your friend that her partner is cheating?

In reality, breaking up with a friend is like experiencing a loss or experiencing some sort of grief explains Paula. "It is the same as when a relationship ends – you are feeling the loss of the relationship or the loss of the other person. That person is not in your life anymore," Paula elaborates. This means that you need time to go through the grieving process which can be difficult and painful. 

The best thing to do according to Paula is to work through the grief and also look into what caused the friendship to end and if you potentially had anything to do with it ending and if you haven't then you need to come to terms with the fact that your friendship may have just walked its path and it is time to let go.

Mimi says that it is okay to feel hurt and experience all the different emotions of grief "like denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance at different times – give yourself enough time to work through every stage".

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