By Alyssa Velazquez
Elm Staff Writer
She sits; she cannot feel if she is in a chair, on the floor, laid out on a mattress, or in a moving vehicle. Her vision is filled with a mist through which she can only make out one familiar outline, a face she once knew. Its appearance is that of water color now, and she cannot decide if it is because of age or her own tears that has caused the colors to blend and form a palette haze.
Her sight has decided to fail her and in its absence, her mind is compensating one sensory tool for another by reaching for the most vivid recollections of that familiar vision. Their first meeting, first date, first smile, laughter, clasped hands, and all the moments of stillness in between are a visual slideshow of the way they were.
It is then the symptoms begin to appear: the pain that slowly starts to travel from the heart, the closing of the vocal cords, and venom stinging the eyes. She finds she cannot move any closer to this clouded apparition.
Her heart is lead and the bitterness of their current relation envelops her, prohibiting her from approaching any human being, and forbidding any reintroduction between herself and her now “ex.”
Yet why did this paralysis occur? If two people, such as they had once shared mutual affection in a relationship, how did they become a set of strangers, or merely “friends” on Facebook?
I have been that girl, and I often think of the combustion that occurs after a relationship ends. If the title of girlfriend and boyfriend have friend in the name, then why after a breakup can I, and the majority of women, simply not be a friend to their ex?
I was sitting in my room the other day, perusing my October calendar, counting down the days for fall break, when I noticed Oct. 9, my ex-boyfriend’s birthday. My mind and reason suddenly split in two and I found myself in a battle of senses.
Do I send him a birthday card or do I not? If I send him a birthday card, how misconstrued would my motives and feeling be? Yet, his younger brother’s birthday was in September and I sent him a birthday card. Both were friends of the family so technically I should, as a “friend,” send the eldest a birthday card as well.
All my thoughts were bobbing around without answers. All over a birthday card! I couldn’t help thinking that Hallmark should have an aisle for these types of dilemmas. I did still care about him so why couldn’t I say happy birthday? So I did what any girl would do in my position, I avoided the situation. I decided to go on Facebook to distract myself, but Facebook would only make it worse.
Prior to all my serious relationships, my boyfriends and I had been in serious friendships; to this day they are all still listed as my friends on Facebook. Clicking through their profiles, looking at their recent activity, I realized that I didn’t know who they were anymore. I was in fact, more up-to-date with celebrity whereabouts than I was about my ex-boyfriends’ current day to day lives. I was shocked and completely disgusted with myself, so much for avoiding the situation.
So, I decided that instead of accepting my current lack of friendship to normal post-relationship relations, I should call my ex. Yes, at one in the morning, I called my first ex. Looking back, I believe this particularly rash proceeding was the result of too many mint Oreos. Either way, I made the call. One ring, two rings, three rings.
And as soon as the “Hello” traveled through the receiver, my vocal cords shrank.
I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t move to even hang up. A friend should not be having these problems right now. Surprisingly, my ex stayed on the phone, repeating “hello” much longer than I expected. Still I couldn’t say “hello” back. Cue dial tone.
After the fiasco of my “friendly” phone call, I sat on my bed staring at my phone. I had a new text message within minutes. It was from him, my ex. There was no question to the reasons for my call–he didn’t even ask–rather he assumed that I had pocket-dialed him. I realized that he didn’t believe I would call just for a friendly chat, and more importantly that he believed there could never be a friendship between the two of us.
I let him believe what he wanted and it only took three texts for me to come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as an ex-friendship. That’s what I still considered him, an ex. That’s what he considered me, and as exes, we never would or could be friends. The love we had was not gone, nor were we cowering from one another. It was and always would be our perception of each other that was preventing us from being friends.
We were focused on the way we were rather then the way we are.
Friendship with an ex is simply not impossible. Whether or not friendship is established post-relationship has nothing to do with the relationship duration, personalities, or the condition on which the relationship ended. It is merely the way you view your significant other: as they way they were or as the way they are. As for the way they were, you will always view them as your ex-boyfriends, and as for the way they are, you have the potential to eventually be their friends.
So if you are able to go out to a friendly lunch with your ex, good for you. If you are the one running down the street from your ex, that’s okay too: you can’t be friends with everyone.