Stay friends? : Why love can (sometimes) turn into friendship

"Let's stay friends.

Stay friends? : Why love can (sometimes) turn into friendship

"Let's stay friends." It's not uncommon for this to be the last sentence you hear from your ex-partner before the contact gradually breaks up. Where there used to be deep love, there is only emptiness. Things that you once shared with each other, you keep to yourself - or just share them with other people. And everything that you once meant to each other suddenly seems meaningless.

When a love relationship is about to end, many people ask themselves the question: am I fighting for love or am I breaking up and losing the person as part of my life? For many of us, love is an absolute. Once we've chosen a partner to be by our side, we're masters at projecting onto them whatever expectations we have of a working relationship.

And if at some point he no longer manages to meet our expectations, if the passion is gone or the feelings change - then he's written off. And so people disappear from our lives in rows, which we once counted among the most important people. Simply because love is gone. All or nothing, just - right? Not correct.

Because feelings are not static and therefore not absolute. And love is about the deepest feeling that we humans are capable of. And when love is no longer enough for a romantic relationship, that doesn't automatically mean that we don't have anything left for our partner. On the contrary: A love relationship is not only based on love, but also on mutual respect, trust, appreciation and many other individual pillars.

The point is, we all change throughout our lives. And sometimes it happens within a relationship that you grow apart and the feelings for each other change. And yet you can and may continue to be important to each other - on a friendly level. Or even more clearly: one should even try.

Yes, "stay friends" is a widespread cliché and is often dismissed as an empty phrase. Many people who break up with their partner throw the phrase quickly afterward to calm their guilt and ease the pain. But there are also enough people who are really willing to decide from "all or not at all" to "or".

It's like this: All of life does not take place in the absolute, not in black or white. Rather, we live in the shades of gray in between. If we also succeed in love, then in an unhappy relationship we no longer have to decide whether we hold on in order not to lose the person or whether we accept the loss in order to be able to love happily again at some point. Separation is also possible in the gray levels without breaking contact.

Of course, that's not something to generalize about. There are countless reasons why romantic relationships fail. And – this is also part of the truth – the end of a relationship often categorically rules out friendship with your partner. This is especially the case when there was lying, manipulation, fraud or even violence within the partnership. In this case - with all love - there is no room for an honest friendship.

In general, if the separation is at eye level and amicable and both are aware that there will be no return to love, then friendship is basically possible. And only if all issues from the love relationship have really been closed for both sides. Otherwise, friendship could end up being an endless repetition of old mistakes.

But why should you actually be friends with your ex? After all, there are good reasons for separation. But there was probably also the fact that you once decided to give this one person such a big place in your life. Maybe you share interests, have a similar group of friends, or give each other something that you don't get from other people - appreciation, attention, or the like.

In addition, love often grew out of friendship, as a study by the University of British Columbia showed. 68 percent of those surveyed were friends before they fell in love. It is all the more absurd not to at least consider taking the step back when romantic love disappears. Strictly speaking, friendship is also a form of love. You could say the little – but often more reliable – sister.

The resemblance becomes even clearer when we take a look at how love and friendship develop: we like people, share similar views, laugh together, smell each other well and harmonize with one another. That's friendship. For love, there is also the sexual component paired with a hormone cocktail that encourages bonding. But from a purely pragmatic point of view, it is a simple plus-minus calculation, which always leaves one result at the end: the human being.

A person with whom we probably shared our deepest thoughts, biggest dreams and worst fears and who gave us lift when we soared just as he caught us when we fell. A person who has evolved, just like us. Just sometimes in a different direction. Breaking up relationships is part of life. But sometimes that's no reason to ban the whole person from our lives.

Still, many people never dream of staying in touch with their ex. Your right. As I said, there are good reasons for mentally shooting our ex-love to the moon. But if the thought of friendship only seems absurd because "that's just not how it's done," then we should at least consider the possibility that there's still a lot of leeway to go between "love of life" and "distant acquaintance." there that makes you happy.

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