I’m not sure about anybody else, but I never experienced a “clean” breakup. I had all kinds of friends who would say “oh yeah, we broke up but we stayed friends.” I can’t even start to imagine what that would be like – “you know, we may not be compatible for the long haul, but we still get along and have stuff in common.”
(Just a note, I’m using a breakup analogy here because it’s the only type of painful separation I can relate to.)
After the breakup, at least for me, a big clean-up followed. Getting rid of pictures, notes, playlists, gifts, phone numbers – all the things in my space that had a connection to that person. Then in public, the goal was to be stuck up – if I happened to encounter them or walk past them, acting like I didn’t notice them or only giving a brief glance as to say “you’re not important to me anymore” or “I’m not hurt by you.”
I’m guilty of this behavior, but I’ve also been the recipient of this behavior.
I’ve recently gone through a painful separation – you could call it a “breakup”. And I noticed this pattern of behavior coming out of me. And the blog I wrote several weeks ago, was me recognizing what was happening – you can read it here.
“Here’s all your stuff back.” “I want all my stuff back.” The places where we would gather were cleaned, so that you couldn’t even tell that anyone used to be there. Stuff was thrown out, box up, and moved out of sight.
What used to be continuous, warm interactions suddenly became cold and in some instances non-existent.
Can you see the pattern? Breakup – clean up – stuck up. Why is that? Why don’t more breakups “remain friends”?
I have two conclusions, and it’s very possible they are both true.
1) I don’t want to be transparent enough to say “you hurt me”. And I don’t trust God enough to forgive 100%. I’ve heard it said that “hurting people hurt people” and that is certainly true about breakups. Separation hurts, and because of that hurt, we tend to try to hurt back the people that hurt us first (whether it’s conscious or unconscious). But if we don’t release the hurt and forgive, the hurt we hold onto will eventually cause us to hurt people who weren’t even involved in the beginning.
2) I don’t have a clue how to have a real relationship. Yes, relationships require transparency and forgiveness, but it’s much more than that too. Through all of this, I’ve learned that a lot of my relationships were based on what someone could offer me or based on what I thought I could offer them. And that’s just a horrible way to have relationships. I’m not saying that we can’t reap the benefits of each others strengths, but if your strength is the only reason I have you around, that is shallow and heartless.
In no way am I expecting that all parties involved should go back to “life as normal”, because normal now isn’t going to be anywhere near what normal used to be. But complete forgiveness is my goal and maybe one day the “we still get along and have stuff in common” scenario will be true.