As a single girl, I’ve had a few breakups.
They are never fun. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of a breakup, it hurts. You think if you are the dumped, the other person is fine. But you know, if you’ve ever been the dumper, that’s never the case.
I sat across the table from one of my best guy friends a few months ago as he planned to breakup with a girl who was madly in love with him. I knew she’d be busted up for a long time, but I saw he would be too.
Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.
Breakups are gross. And we can talk through every side until there is not one detail he said or she said left, actual or fabricated.
But you know what we don’t talk about enough?
When friendships break up.
Of all the romantic breakups in my life, none have come close to hurting the way a breakup with a best friend hurt. I didn’t know a feeling like that could exist. It was breathtaking, but in an absolutely terrible way.
It all fell apart over a two-day period and because the story isn’t just mine, I won’t go into it. But years of deep friendship ended and the ripping apart felt the way a sheet looks when it is torn in two. Shredded. Loud. Sudden. Jagged.
And after the dust settled, I didn’t know who to talk with and I didn’t know what to feel and I didn’t know what to call what had just happened.
Isn’t your person the one you talk to when things are broken? What do you do when things are broken with your person?
The fear I had, and the fear we have as women, is that we’ll be judged for being brokenhearted over an ended friendship. How do you tell the other friends that a central friendship in your life is over without being gossipy? How do you process the hurt and pain without seeming overly invested and needy?
How do you heal from a breakup that no one labels as a breakup?
It’s all very hard. There are not good answers. I bet Paul and Barnabas would say the same. Breakups are hard, whether you were IN LOVE or just LOVED. But even that Dr. Luke, who recorded the story in the book of Acts, shows us one thing we really really need to know: tell the truth, even when things break.
Tell the truth. Even when things break. Even when things are ripped to shreds.
And I will tell you this, years later, I needed the ripping. While I hate how things ended (and they ended), I don’t regret what came of it. What it revealed in me when that friendship was stripped away was not healthy and Jesus needed a wide path in to heal some things in me. To make beauty from those ashes.
The more I say out loud, “the hardest breakup of my life was with a friend,” the more nods and teary-eyes I see from other women. More of us have walked through this than you probably know. You are not alone if your heart is broken over a friendship. And you should talk about it.
I cannot fix it for you, but I’ll tell you this:
Call it by name: a breakup.
Tell the truth, even when things break.
Let Jesus into the ripped places. He will show you a tapestry you could not see before.
And somehow, in ways we don’t get, it will be beautiful.