Why is it so difficult to let go of a relationship that is not working anymore? What makes us hang on and try to be friends when we know it is time to move on? Can we truly switch the nature of a relationship that easily from intimate partner to friend? I know this has been very difficult for me since my divorce and I have seen many of my clients and friends struggle with this transition. I think we tell ourselves that if we know the relationship is not right for us long term we should be able to maintain a friendship. Of course this makes complete logical sense and is very reasonable, but we are dealing with the heart and its nature and with our complicated minds that will run through some creative scenarios when we feel hurt or not responded to. This creates even more pain and the scar tissue in our heart gets thicker. We can be so complicated in the logical space which swings in the polarities and yet when we go underneath to our essential truth we realize the simple nature of what works for us and what does not.
Communication through text or email makes this an especially challenging arena to navigate. Texting provides an instantaneous but not real connection. People can and will say things through text that they might not say face to face or even on the phone. We get used to having a lot of contact through the day with our partner so when the relationship ends there is a vacuum that leaves us with space for our emotions that we do not necessarily want to feel. We argue with ourselves about the harmless nature in keeping in touch with someone we care about.
Be really honest with yourself. There are no rights or wrongs in this scenario, only what is right for you. Where do you fall? Are you able to move into a friendship and feel as you would with any other friend if the person doesn’t respond promptly or include you in what they are doing or let you know what they are feeling? Or… are they occupying energetic space in your mind and your heart that keeps you from moving forward? What tricks do you use to keep yourself from letting go? What are the stories you tell yourself about being at peace with the shift in the relationship? Are you really? As usual, be gentle with yourself as you explore this. If this does not resonate with your life right now, ask yourself where else in your life do you hang on when you know it might be best to let go and move on.