What It Feels Like To Break Up With Your Best Friend

She and I met in middle school. She started taking one class a year because her parents wanted her to make friends in the local area (a difficult thing to do when you’re homeschooled and have been all your life). She came to school mid-year, and as most kids do with something shiny and new, we fled to her. She wore wild wigs & t-shirts under her spaghetti-strap dresses, and always had gum with her ready to hand out. I thought she was the coolest person I’d ever met. I was awkward, shy, and known as a wanna-be. So naturally, I hated her.

Despite my initial feelings, our friendship grew slowly as the school year was ending. The following year my parents decided to homeschool my brother and me moving forward, and it solidified our delicate new friendship.

Through high school we were inseparable. We were both aspiring musicians and writers, and spent our time creating and dreaming together. We did a lot of exploring, a lot of camping out on summer nights, and celebrated birthdays with shopping sprees and homemade gifts. We were obsessed with the Jonas Brothers, and I have a lot of fond memories of concerts, album releases, and dancing in our bedrooms. She and I also loved playing board games, and our favorite was LIFE where we got to create a pretend family and career. She always chose to go down the education part of the board first, whereas I always moved into the career part immediately.

Just like the board game we played as teenagers, our lives followed similar paths once high school ended. Things really got rocky for our friendship at that time - we were just interested in different things. She was very education-driven and was primarily absorbed in that. On the flip side, I was head over heels in an unhealthy relationship, unhealthy home life, and was motivated by my new career. We were exploring new friendships and adventures with people outside of the bubble we’d grown in together for so long, and a lot of jealous feelings that I don’t think we knew how to handle started to come up.

We broke up for the first time at that point after a fight we had. I wish I could say that I remember the details of the fight, but it’s probably better that I don’t.

Two years went by, and then I found out in the local newspaper that her dad was in a fatal accident a couple days before. I wish I had a better word to describe how horrified I was by the news - I’d basically grown up with their family and remembered her dad so fondly. Though we hadn’t seen each other or spoken in all that time, I wrote her a letter, expressing whatever condolences I could manage on a piece of paper. I never expected any sort of reply, positive or negative, but several months later she reached out.

Slowly we rebuilt our friendship, which is an interesting place to be after all that time together and all that time apart. You’re not starting from square one, but you’re not starting from solid ground, either.

A couple more years went by of trying to make our friendship work - I think we both really wanted it to work, but sometimes things, and people, just don’t.

Breaking up with your best friend feels like an enormous weight being lifted off your shoulders, while simultaneously being punched in the stomach. It feels like detoxing, and it feels lonely. It feels like you’ve been cheated when the band you both used to love so much gets back together and starts releasing music again and you can’t share that moment with her. It feels like nostalgia and resentment and heartache and hope.

It feels like growing pains.

People come and go, and I’ve accepted that she’s one that needed to go. We’ve followed the paths that we created for ourselves, and unfortunately, they don’t align with each other anymore. So no, we won’t have houses right next to each other one day, and our kids won’t explore or camp or dream together, but I’m ok with that. I really hope she’s happy.