Is there a such thing as a “civil” war? When you think about it, there isn’t a single thing civil about war. People die, people they get maimed, and they lose their houses is monumentally horrifying ways. Lives are ended, relationships are broken, and love is..lost. When it comes to relationships, is a “civil” war ever a good idea?
In relationships, the couple will often make friends with other couples or bring their significant other into an existing circle of friends. Often times, when that relationship ends, the recommendation is to “be friends”, but it rarely works. Why? Because wars aren’t civil and the ending of a relationship shouldn’t be either. I am not saying we should be at each others’ throats when things go down, but as much as we hope we can fart unicorns and burp daisies at the end of a relationship, it usually breaks down due to the pressure of being friends in order to be a part of the friendships that were formed during the “together times”.
I was talking to a friend the other day that is facing this exact issue after breaking up with her boyfriend of 5 years. Here is a rough outline of our conversation:
Her: It’s SO hard, you know? I want to see everyone and don’t want to be “the one that disappears” (she throws up finger quotes), but it’s rough to try to be happy and pretend that we don’t have all of this history.
Me: What’s the biggest issue you are experiencing?
Her: It’s that “elephant in the room” (she throws up finger quotes again) thing-
Me: (Cutting her off) Are you sure he just wasn’t sick of finger quotes?
She laughed and continued
Her: I just hate being in the room with him because I am not over him. I can talk with him, but even if he just hits me on the arm playfully, I want to jump him and kiss him and tell him I think we should still try to work things out, but I know that’ll never happen.
Me: ..because he’s moved on?
Her: Yeah, he was over it long before we broke up. God forbid if he ever brings another woman around our friends. I’d stab the bitch.
(She chuckled so I just assume she was joking).
Me: So what now?
Her: I guess I have to do the split custody thing. You know, where I see the friends one day and he sees them another. It’s probably best that way. I think- I THINK it’s better that way.
Me: This kind of thing isn’t easy. Those who use the line “let’s be friends” are either lying, sadistic bastards or they’ve never broken up with someone they want to be friends with. It’s okay to not like each other for awhile. It’s damn healthy in fact. It’s a part of letting go. I think you’re doing the right thing.
The word civil should be tossed our of the phrase civil war, break ups should include a period of not talking to and not seeing the person you ideally hope to maintain some sort of friendship with. It doesn’t always work that way, but here’s to hoping.