People go through life surrounded by concentric circles of intimate relationships that vary a lot in terms of closeness and type of relationship. The purpose of the relationship could be to find a source of important and meaningful information, a stable support in personal development or simply a source of social well-being.
Think of the button of a blouse, for example. It will fall off if the threads that attach it to the garment break off. Something similar happens with friendships, although in this case the threads that bring our hearts together are more complex and develop through demands, needs and expectations.
Friendship, like any bond between two people, is not static. This dynamic causes it to unfold and the things around it have to adapt. Sometimes, however, the change is so great and so negative that the threads break and the knot is lost.
These losses almost always leave a trail of nostalgia, as if they were irrefutable proof that we are not who we were. However, we shouldn’t be confused by that nostalgia, especially when these relationships become selfish, surrounded by a halo of chill.
Trying to hold on to something that no longer works
Attachment is harmful when it forces you to stay in a relationship that is based on something it was, but is no more. Or when a handful of fond memories perpetuate a tedious routine filled with disappointment. The relationship, which has become an illusion and now only generates conflict, deserves no more time than it has already had.
It’s not that distance and problems diminish the level of affection or the quality of the relationship. Nor does routine do that. It turns the relationship into a familiar pleasure, but it keeps you from really appreciating when the other person complements and promotes your daily well-being.
Relationships deteriorate because one or both parties no longer care for them. The process is accelerated by the awareness that each other’s paths are diverging. Unless you surrender to the emotional blackmail you receive from the myth of stability, your existence will be subject to change, and so will your relationships.
“If they don’t love you the way you want them to love you, who cares if they love you?”
If you insist on frantically perpetuating something that has ended in a certain, natural way, you are only messing with your own feelings, as well as those of others. You will spend your life clinging, which is not the same as getting real meaning out of it. You need something that will enrich you and your relationship.
We’ve learned to hold on, not to let go
To paraphrase the controversial Osho, sometimes you can’t learn anything unless you first free yourself from everything you’ve learned before. This, of course, does not equate to temporary stupidity or insanity; it just means that you stop trying to understand so that you can start paying attention to things related to your intellectual, social and moral development.
In social psychology, the rule of similarity says that partners and friends who are more similar are more likely to build more stable relationships. Only people who share your values will be able to have a close relationship with you in the long run.
You have to find what you need. Don’t simply settle for things that don’t hurt you but don’t satisfy you either. Some people should leave so that others can really offer you their company. No drama, no trauma. Accept changes in relationships as natural processes, like the peeling of your skin.
This means challenging the lessons you’ve learned about love: love isn’t being held back, it’s wanting to stay. Both with your friends and with your partner. Both with the books you read and the job you dedicate your time to.
Sometimes you just have to pay attention to your basic intuition. Let those who matter stay and those who don’t want to contribute go, even if you’ve been with them for a long time, where the uneasiness is disguised by routine.
When you are wiser and without wounds, you will be able to make sure that your growth happens alongside people who really want to stay in your life. People you can debate with and who have different perspectives, but you rarely have to walk on your toes. And make sure they can count on you, because you count on them in your life.