Why Breaking Up With a Friend Can Be More Painful Than With a Lover

2 years ago

In one survey, it was found that when we value friendship, we function better. The study also predicted that we could get more chronic illnesses when we have friendship troubles, rather than other relationship troubles. This means that friendships play a very important role in our lives and it can hurt more to lose a friend, than a boyfriend. Yet, when a friendship doesn’t work out anymore, we don’t have a proper way to get over it like we do with romantic relationships.

We at Bright Side delved into the reasons why it can be more heartbreaking to end a friendship than a romantic relationship.

We don’t get to talk about why it ends.

It’s understandable if a friendship ends because of a betrayal, but usually friendships just end without a warning. We grow apart and we don’t know how to talk about the changes in our friendship. There is such a thing as an official breakup in romantic relationships, but for some reason, we don’t have that similar closure in friendships.

We don’t get to mourn the loss.

Since there is no official breakup, it is hard for us to properly grieve our loss. We’re pretty much expected to suck it up and move on, even if the pain is no different than a romantic breakup. In the worst case scenario, since we don’t talk about the end of a friendship, it’s sometimes hard to know if we have even lost it. Friends might even drop us without us knowing why, so it confuses us about how to deal with the hurt we feel.

The person we want to talk about it with is them.

When we’re dealing with any kind of pain, especially emotional pain, it’s natural to want to turn to someone we trust and who we are close to. We usually turn to our friends when we go through a romantic breakup. But if they’re the ones we’re losing, it’s hard to find someone else to hug it out with. So we might just clam up instead of dealing with our feelings in a healthy way.

We feel ashamed for the fact that the friendship failed.

There is some kind of an unspoken rule that friendship should be easy for adults. So when we lose a friend, we might brand ourselves as a bad friend and might blame ourselves for not making it work. If a friendship “should be everlasting,” but ours isn’t, it’s difficult to not start thinking that we are at fault.

It took us so much effort to become their best friends.

All friends began as strangers and it’s a long road to get to be best friends. We have shared so many memories with them. There are things that only they can understand. And now, for some reason, everything is falling apart.

They’re the ones we could be 100% ourselves with.

Even those in romantic relationships are not always completely true to themselves. But with friends, we tend to feel more comfortable about letting our guard down. Losing good friends, that we can be real with, can make us feel terrible. Our self-esteem might even take a hit.

We’re left wondering if our secrets are now safe with them.

Friends are people we usually trust with our secrets, and we don’t really think that we might lose them in the future. But when a friendship ends, we cannot be sure that our secrets will still be safe with them. We can no longer expect them to safeguard these, and if a friendship ends badly, we might even fear that they could retaliate by telling others our secrets.

Our social lives might be affected by the loss.

As friends, we share a lot of things, and one of them is our social circle. While one friendship may no longer work, another in the same circle might still be OK. This means that we might still have to face our ex-friends and things could get really awkward. If our mutual friends decide to take sides and choose theirs instead of ours, our feelings could get even more bruised.

We feel as if we’re all alone in this.

Since nobody really talks about a friendship breakup, we could easily feel very isolated. It could feel as if we’re the only one in the world who is going through this heartbreaking situation. We’d feel like we not only lost a friend, but all kinds of support altogether.

And we don’t know if we can find someone better.

With a romantic breakup, there’s always someone to encourage us and tell us that we will be able to find someone better. But it’s not the same for a friendship breakup. It takes years to build what we had with our ex-friend and, as adults, we doubt that we will be able to find another meaningful friendship.

Have you ever had to end a friendship? How did you grieve the loss? Let us know in the comments.


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