current state of mind: breathless
It's not a matter of time, it's just a matter of timing
Do you ever wonder how you got to here?
Take it in; and hold on while you can
All the destruction will one day end
And you'll finally know exactly who you are.
~ “Timelines” by Motion City Soundtrack
Everywhere I go, I am constantly being told that exes cannot be friends. When I ask why, the responses vary by person – but most are so situation-specific that I think the truth is that some people, due to some circumstances, cannot ever be friends after breaking up. Therefore, I disagree that ex-romantic partners cannot ever be friends.
One of my best friends is NBF – and we all know how difficult that ending was. And this week I am going out for Happy Hour with Ex-husband #1. The fact is that I am remarkably talented at maintaining friendships with past loves. The tricky part, I have discovered, is what to do during the timeframe between the heartbreak and the healing. That transitional period is really difficult for me. I believe that this is for a multitude of reasons; but the likely two are 1) I have a very kind memory and 2) I am not able to retain anger. Plus, that whole unconditional acceptance thing gets in the way. How am I supposed to just shift gears from 5th to 1st without dropping my transmission in the middle of the road? So, I handle breakups like I do Lucius Verus . . . I engage the clutch and put the car in neutral. I have never been a fan of downshifting. It seems too contrived; plus, I hate the sound the engine makes.
Holding onto this metaphor, let’s continue . . . Sometimes, when in neutral, the laws of motion (and friction) take over and the car slows down gradually, allowing me to preserve my brakes. Other times, however, some eejit cuts me off and I have to rapidly apply the brakes or risk a painful collision. I hate doing that. It is hard on the car and makes my heart race in fear at the narrowly-missed disaster. That feeling sucks. Y’all have had it, I know; that moment when you want to pull over and just breathe. Well, when that moment occurs during the transitional period between “lovers” and “friends”, I get the same “want to vomit” feeling. It is especially difficult when the other person is already “over it”. Normally, I am the one who is well ahead of the curve in that process – so I don’t have a lot of practice at playing catch-up. Perhaps that is why I have always been able to remain friends – because my relationship metabolism is generally faster than everyone else’s.
The inspiration for this introspection stems from a comment someone made to me recently. I wasn’t able to coherently arrange my thoughts so that I could respond at the time. I guess I needed to take the time to write it out and try to filter the minutiae from the principal thoughts. All that matters, in the end, is that the wonderful things which draw us to a person exist, even when you are no longer romantically attached. For that reason, I hate to think that we should be forced to lose those things from our lives just because two people no longer have a mutual romantic attachment. It just takes a little time and heartache for everyone to get back on the same page. Most of the time, patience gets us through the “getting through” phase. So, don’t be afraid to wait for your friend on the other side. I know I have not yet regretted doing so.
PERSONAL NOTE: Motion City Soundtrack is from your hometown! Aren’t you a lucky duck?
CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: “Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.” ~ Top Gun – Still, you can claim this one.