Truth Is, We Can't Be Friends...
by LaVonia Tryon

Deborah Cox had a popular song in the late 90's, We can't be Friends. Below are a few of the lyrics that I would like to base this blog on:
To just act like, we never were
To come around, and not show hurt
How dare we greet by shaking hands,
Just months ago I was your man
Verbally we agreed
It was over and we were through...
For everyone to just go on
I've tried and I can't do it
Cause I'm still torn
I've tried to think of you
As just another love in my past...

Then as if that weren't enough, Fantasia had the hit 'Truth is'... see below for an excerpt of her touching song:
And all the feelings that I thought were gone,
Came rushing back to me at once
Tried to smile and hide the way I felt
But I was thinking to myself
Truth is I never got over you...
Guess I'm still in love with you...
Truth is I never should have let you go
And it's killing me cuz know I know

This blog stems from a couple of recent conversations that I had with a group of singles about being friends after a breakup. It was very interesting, because many of the guys said that they could continue the friendship after a breakup, while many of the ladies said that it really depends. I also have a couple of friends that are still close with their exes and their break-ups were caused by indiscretions of the sexual nature.

So what do I think? It depends... come on, you should have known that it was coming.

I think that no matter the way of breakup, whether it was a mutually agreed decision, you just grow apart, or a drag-down all-out fight, some ex-relationships can't just fall back into the friend zone. It pretty much goes without saying that if you broke up with me and I was totally against it, that calling you a 'friend' might be pushing it, or at least for a little while. I guess the best way for me to answer the question as to why some relationships can't end in friendship, is to use real life examples: (some are mine, others have been anonymously borrowed)

I'm still in love (or at the least hopefully attached)

Now, this one can be considered a no-brainer, but some cases aren't so cut and dry. In the case of 'he left me and broke my heart' or 'she just walked out one day', it is obvious that the jilted party can still be in love (and in some cases even bitter) and not be able to be friends with that person. But in some cases the emotions are latent. If a person doesn't do the actual hard work of purging and breaking the emotional and sometimes (uggghh) sexual soul tie, then it's only natural to still be attached to this person. This is one of my real scenarios. In college, I had a long distance relationship with a guy off and on for several years. I would tell myself that I was over him, but whenever I would see him, or even just to get a phone call from him-I was right back in the Fantasia video. What I realized is that absence does not denote deliverance-its just a lack of stimulus. I wasn't over him, I could just bandage the emotions and not deal with them-until he was looking me in my face. I had to realize that until I could look at him without the expectation of things working out or us getting back together, there was no way that we could just be friends, because I wanted more. And to answer your question, yes I'm over him now, but no we are not friends. Maybe I'm just not that strong, but there is a portion of me that will always love him and because I know he isn't my husband, I won't put myself into temptation of falling back there. Might be ugly, might not be biblical-but it's real.

We weren't friends to begin with

Many relationships skip the friendship stage, or there is some super-charged pseudo friendship that is only concocted to 'get through' as the first step into the relationship. If you never took the time to get to know the person as a friend first, then what is there to fall back on if the relationship doesn't work out? There are certain boundaries and bonds that are only built through a friendship, and if that step is skipped, then when the relationship fizzes, the only pieces left to be picked up are your separate lives. This isn't to say that relationships that aren't built on a solid foundation of friendship first don't last, but it is to say that there are certain things that you wouldn't do or say to a friend, and if you don't develop that before the emotions and butterflies begin, it will be harder to go back and develop it, now that your heart has gotten attached romantically. In order for a friendship to form out of this, then it would have to be from ground zero, after the storm- you just have to build again, but it won't be the same as if you started with that foundation.

YOU/I Cheated

Ummm...yeah, I don't know too much about this one, honestly-at least not from the 'we can still be friends' category-because every guy that cheated on me, we are not friends. It's not that I haven't forgiven them, but I don't believe that forgiveness equates a second chance, and there are certain character flaws that I don't necessarily want in friends. But, I do have several friends that are still friends with exes that cheated. Baffles me a bit, honestly-but hey to each his or her own. Maybe it depends on the circumstances. Now, a note to be made is that my cases were not marriages, so it was easier for me to pack up (emotionally) and move out, because we didn't share papers on ANYTHING. Marriage brings in a whole different element, and since I have never made it down the aisle, I will wisely not speak on that one.

Too Soon

Some relationships can fizz into friendships, but it will take time to re-program yourself from 'boo' to 'buddy'. If you try to slip right into friendship after a breakup-it might be safe to say that one or both parties hasn't had time to heal, so you are bound to hurt each other again. Do yourself a favor and take some time to reflect on the relationship, learn from their mistakes (and yours), then slowly ease back into a friendship.

All this to say: Getting over a past relationship is not optional. It's over, let it go, move on and get to what's in front of you. Choosing to pursue a friendship with an ex-that's your choice. Remember the Bible says to guard your own heart-so be open and honest with yourself and if you aren't ready to be 'buddy o'pals' , do yourself a favor and put some distance between you too, so that you can properly heal. Then if possible, open the door to a friendship-but ONLY WHEN YOU'RE READY!

LaVonia R. Tryon is an Author, Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, and Motivator. Her unique insight into scripture and wholehearted desire to deliver the voice of God to Singles is evident in her daily lifestyle. Author of NOT Another Singles Book: copyright 2011 All rights reserved

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