One of the most beautiful parts of a relationship is that phase of getting to know each other.
When you’re realizing all of the things you have in common, and learning the other person’s passions, dislikes, and idiosyncrasies. It’s when you’re becoming friends with your partner while developing a romantic rapport at the same time. And, after a certain amount of time, you turn around and realize that your partner is your best friend.
But that also makes the loss harder. I’ve been in two relationships where my ex was my best friend, and losing that friendship hurt arguably more than losing the romantic relationship itself.
My most recent ex and I were together for years, and when you spend that much time together, the other person gets to know you intimately in a way that no one else ever could.
Breakups already feel like a hole in your chest – losing your best friend on top of that is almost unbearable.
Of course, you both may try to maintain the friendship – she may say that she is afraid of losing your friendship, but you know as well as anyone else that it is very hard (not to mention emotionally unhealthy) to remain friends with your ex in the direct aftermath of a breakup.
I feel for your if your ex girlfriend was your best friend. It’s a major loss, and it hurts.
So in this article, we are going to discuss how a deep friendship can complicate the breakup, but can also benefit you in the Ex Girlfriend Recovery process. We’ll begin with some coping strategies and first steps.
I Miss Her and Still Love Her
If you’re here, it’s a safe bet that you are in a pretty crappy place, emotionally.
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Chris has cited this many times before, but it’s worth repeating that what the brain looks like when going through a breakup looks exactly what the human brain looks like when it’s going through withdrawal from an addiction.
If you are overwhelmed with feelings of missing her and desperately wanting her to change her mind and just love you again, I think it’s fair to say that you are in a pretty heavy emotional place.
It’s good to express how you feel – and I find that men have a harder time doing it than women – but an emotional place is not a good place to be in what you have to make decisions or take action.
By all means, emote. Spend a good chunk of your No Contact period working through the feels. One of the most important steps of the Ex Girlfriend Recovery program is gaining control of your emotions.
The road to getting your ex girlfriend back is a tough one. It will be filled with a lot of unknowns, anxiety, and difficult situations that will demand you hold your tongue and don’t say what is on your mind or how you feel.
Take the time to come to an emotionally even place. Remember, No Contact is about resetting. Both yourself, and the relationship dynamic between you and your ex girlfriend.
The other thing you need to do during No Contact, of course, is to focus on self improvement.
Do things you’ve always wanted to. Make a list of things you want to accomplish or change about yourself, and start checking things off the list one by one until you start to feel more like yourself again. Going through a breakup can be ego crushing. It’s important to do things that make you feel like you are worth it.
I know you miss and love your ex girlfriend and you want to focus on that, and her, and how to get her back, but trust me: The first step is to give space and work on yourself. You want your ex girlfriend to be shocked both by the improvements you’ve made, but also by how well you’re handling the split.
I Can’t Accept That I Lost My Best Friend
I know the feeling. The feeling of waking up and having the face the reality that she is gone from your life and is no longer yours.
It’s hard to accept the breakup, especially in the first few days and weeks after, when seemingly not much else has changed in your life. It feels like the world should have stopped spinning, and everything should be dark, but somehow everyone else’s life continues to move on, with smiles and laughter and love.
I know it’s hard, but you absolutely need to face the reality of the breakup. Not processing those feelings is emotionally unhealthy, and can lead to emotionally crazy behaviors like gnatting and stalking. You have to play it cool. Facing the truth of the situation is the best thing you can do.
I tend to write a lot, and not just for the Ex Recovery sites. I also journal pretty consistently. But I always notice that after I go through a breakup, I write a lot more. It’s my way of working through things.
Sometimes, I don’t even know what I want to write about, I just sit down at my computer and type, or let my pen write whatever comes into my brain first. Sometimes I just write how I feel, other times, I obsessively go over interactions in my head, trying to dissect words and actions. Other times, I write fantasies of what I wish would happen.
A friend asked me a while ago what I get out of journaling. I thought about it for a second, and responded “I get anxious a fair amount, and when something is spinning and spinning in my brain and I’m unable to seem to let go of the feelings and thoughts, I sit down and write about it.
It’s almost like as the words leave my head and appear on the page, the anxiety leaves my body at the same time.”
It’s therapeutic, and it helps me organize my thoughts and process the events that have happened to me.
If you are having a hard time dealing with the reality that your love and your best friend are gone, I recommend writing. Even if it’s just for you and you destroy it after. It can really help to make things feel more concrete, and also motivate you and help you to figure out what your next steps are. It works.
I Want to Text Her
A handy dandy “should I text him?” map was making its way around the Ex Recovery facebook group a couple months ago:
(click to enlarge)
I’m going to do a similar question and answer thing here.
- Are you in No Contact? If yes, DO NOT TEXT HER OR YOU WILL HAVE TO START OVER. If no, you have the green light.
- Have you been drinking? If yes, please refrain from texting her. Give your phone to a friend. If no, see other points before proceeding.
- Are you feeling impulsive and wanting to text her something emotional? If yes, do not text her.
- What time is it? If it’s after 10pm, she may suspect your intentions. Plus, it makes you look desperate. Before 10pm? Go for it.
- Who has been initiating more? If you, maybe don’t text. If her, or it’s been even, feel free.
- Does the text you want to send have substance, or is it a clear ploy to just get her to talk to you? If you have something that will engage her, move forward. If it is a lackluster text, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
These are some examples of things that you should be asking yourself before each interaction you have with your ex. It is imperative that you are in control of yourself in every interaction between the two of you. Remember, the ex recovery process is a chess game, with you always trying to think five steps ahead.
I Feel Alone
I think another one of the hardest parts about your ex being your best friend is that once they are gone, a huge hole is missing from your life. Suddenly, the person who you ran to first for everything is no longer there. And the kicker is, this is when you want them most.
But resist the impulse to go to them to fill that emptiness, that loneliness.
Go out with friends.
Make new friends.
Maybe even consider going on a date, if you’re a little into No Contact and feeling better and confident. I know a lot of men scoff at emotion, but I’ve seen so many good guys step up when they see a friend is hurting. It may be scary to be vulnerable, but everyone has felt pain before, and your friends will likely be a listening ear if they know you are going through a rough time.
Therapy is another resource if you are feeling lonely. I spent a lot of time working things through with my therapist after my most recent breakup. It felt good to just have someone listen and validate the pain that I was going through. I know that it can be scary to pour out your soul to a stranger, but it is also freeing in many ways – they don’t know you so you are not afraid of them judging you.
Of course, if you are feeling so lonely and having a hard time coping and are having dangerous thoughts, sometimes talking to someone – anyone can help. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. And if you hate talking on the phone like I do, you can text “HOME” the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Remember, countless people have been through breakups in the past, and you ALWAYS recover. I don’t say that to belittle your feelings, but to let you know you are not alone, and it will get better. I promise.
Buffy: Giles, I’ve never seen her like this. It’s like it hurts too much to form words.
Giles: You’ve felt that way yourself and, uh, you got through it.
Buffy: Yeah. I ran away, and went to hell, and *then* got through it. I’m kinda hoping she doesn’t use me as a model.
Now She’s a Stranger
Breakups are sudden. Even if you know that things aren’t going well, they seemingly come up of nowhere. And even if you have the sense that it may be coming, nothing prepares you for the pain and anguish of having someone you love disappear from your life. And then, even harder, is when you don’t recognize the person in front of you. They went from being your best friend to a stranger.
Remember how important time and space is. I know it is painful to have someone who was a part of your life become someone you don’t even recognize, but it is necessary for you, and for your ex girlfriend to have some time away.
And then you can begin developing rapport. As you do that, subtly remind her of not just what a great boyfriend you were, but what a good friend. If she values your friendship, she’s going to be a lot more likely to initiate a lot and assist in the rapport building stages.
And when you’re feeling low, missing her and trying to wrap your head around how she could have changed so much, remember that she is the same person – a person who once loved you, and is probably hurting herself over losing you. Have faith in the base friendship the two of you had. Things don’t change as quickly as it may feel.
The Upper Hand
Remember, if you play your cards right, she may not be a stranger forever. You have the upper hand because you and your ex girlfriend were such good friends. I know it seems counter intuitive to back away, but it is a very important first step.
The good news is, if your ex is now a stranger but was once your best friend, it’s going to be a lot harder to fully let you go from their life. She’s depended on you for support for some time.
You’re her best friend, too. What better way to make her realize how much she needs and misses you than by becoming a stranger back to her?
Do No Contact. Post your changes on social media. Let her see your transformation, but do not talk to her about it. Once you break No Contact, I suspect she will be overjoyed to hear from her best friend, who she’s missed herself over this period of silence. She may feel like a stranger temporarily, but that doesn’t mean she will be one forever.
(Written By Rachel)