Beliefnet
Because This Is Your Life

It’s something I never thought would happen to me in a relationship…especially when it seemed like it would last forever.

Even though it didn’t last back then it still ended up lasting after all…and most likely forever.

And this is something you’ve experienced in some way in your life…possible right now as well.

In my case it involved a girl I really liked back when I was 19 going on 20. Her name is April.

We became boyfriend and girlfriend within a week after meeting. Our relationship lasted for 7 months and only ended because her parents felt the age difference was too much (she was 5 years younger than me).

As a result we went our separate ways and at the time thoughts of “what if…” flooded my mind.

But there were also thoughts of “Would we ever see each other again and if so…when and what would we say to each other”…because even though we had a great relationship there was still some “tension” over how it ended…to the point that we had no contact with each other for 24 years.

And then came that day when we did speak and saw each other again.

But in between came some life lessons that were learned which completely changed the course of my life…

And the same can be said of your life as well as it relates to your situation that has to do with when a relationship doesn’t go your way.

So…

Here are the 5 things to do when a relationship doesn’t go your way (and how to keep it alive even when it seems to permanently end):

1. Look in the mirror

Anytime a relationship ends it can be easy to blame the other person and feel you weren’t at fault. As the saying goes “it takes two” but instead of looking at what “they did” or didn’t do, the wise thing is to “look in the mirror” and take responsibility for your part.

Now of course this doesn’t mean that you blame yourself. A relationship ending is never about blame. It’s about taking responsibility on your end. Remember, the purpose of relationships is to get you to realize who you really are…and this will always be reflected back to you in what you perceive about your partner (the person you are or were in a relationship with).

Therefore, once you realize that anything you like and despise about them is something that you’ve done as well in your own unique way, you discover more about who you are. As a result, you open yourself up for that special person to come in to your life…which can also be the same person you may have just ended a relationship with. This is part of what happened with me and April.

2. Celebrate the ups and downs

No matter what anyone says EVERY relationship (to include marriages) have their ups and downs. This is why there’s no such thing as a “Happy” relationship or marriage. In fact, the pursuit of such a fantasy is what most of the time leads to the resentments and usually the end of a relationship/marriage.

The most fulfilling relationships are those that embrace both sides equally. It’s where you would actually celebrate the “ups” and “downs” equally. It may sound strange that you would want to celebrate what seems like a “down” time or “negative” event but it’s a healthy thing to do.

One such “down” moment is when a relationship ends…especially one that you didn’t want to end. As down a moment as this seems it can be one of the most needed and satisfying parts of any relationship….because it can give you the time to really get clear on if that particular relationship (and person) is the one for you.

If it’s not or if something happened (such as in my case with April) then you can move on…but at the same time possibly still have that person in your life but in a different kind of way. This is how it played out with me and April…and the same can be true with you.

Let’s take a look at that now.
3. Discover the love in friendship

More often than not when a relationship ends the two people involved don’t talk anymore. This is because some people have the mentality of, “We’re either in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship or nothing at all.” This type of thinking eliminates (at least at first) the idea of being friends. Sometimes this can lead to having an on and off relationship. Other times it leads to the two people not talking to each other anymore.

At first I always approached it from the “relationship or bust” mentality. My reasoning at first was, “Well since we were boyfriend/girlfriend that’s what I want and I can’t see us as just being friends while you most likely end up with someone else other than me.”

And this is something most people struggle with. But guess what? There’s another way of looking at it. It’s called discovering the love in friendship. What this means is that just because someone you were in a relationship with ended, that doesn’t mean you still can’t love them. Of course you can.

Yes it may not be the “romantic” and “intimate” type of love that is part of those types of relationships…but rather you can still love the person the same way as always but without the “physical (if you will) “romance” and “intimacy” part. I’m sure you already know that there is more to loving someone that goes beyond the “romance” and “intimacy” part. This is what I’m referring to here. In fact, this is what happened with me and April and still does to this day.

This also reminds me of something a girl I know said to me back in 2006. We were friends but never boyfriend/girlfriend. One day she said, “I love all of my friends and I love you too.” I got what she meant.

Sometimes all of this can bring up the question, “Does this mean we can once again be in a boyfriend/girlfriend with each other?” And I bring this up because sometimes people think that if they keep things as friends that there’s the possibility of what took place in the past happening again.

Now I know all situations are different and that there are exceptions but for the most part when a relationship ends…and you try and get back together and think “things will go back to the way they were”…far more often than not they don’t.

Remember, there are reasons why a relationship ends. When it does and you know that it’s going to stay that way (for whatever reason) the wisest thing to do is to move on. The question is, “Will it be as friends or not?” And if it is as friends what can you do to stay friends while still loving them and at the same time remembering what it was like being with them in the “romantic” and “intimate” relationship?

4. Preserve special moments frozen in time

Whether the relationship you were in that ended is one you’re glad ended or one you wish never ended the same thing is true…there were special moments in that relationship that you’ll always treasure in some way. These are the moments you can say are “frozen in time.”

Of course these moments and what they specifically are will be different for you than someone else. The idea here is to preserve them in such a way that you’ll always keep them in your heart.

The most important thing in doing this is to not get “hung up” on them and try to relive the past while having them run your current life. The wisest and most effective way is to figure out how you can use those special moments you had in such a way where it can help you in your life currently.

This goes back to what happened with me and April. We had dozens of moments over the seven month time we were boyfriend and girlfriend that I’ll always remember (and still think about often). They are special and ones that no one can ever take away.

So instead of getting hung up and living in the past, I make it a point to take how I felt and what I learned from those moments and use them currently in my life. You could say that these moments have inspired me in how I deal with people now and the different types of relationships I’ve formed with others…to include the romantic and intimate ones as well.

The other thing to realize here is—and this goes back to what you read earlier—that you most likely wouldn’t want to turn this into a situation where you think, “Hmmmm maybe we can get back together again at some point in time.”

Now I know there can be exceptions to this but far more often than not if you were to get back together it would “tarnish” the relationship in certain ways that you had with the person at that point in time you were with them. It may sound strange but when you take a look at your specific situation you’ll see this to be true most of the time.

There’s a reason why you were together at a certain point in time…just as must as there is a reason why you may not be right now…and unless it’s a VERY unique situation it’s wiser to preserve those special moments you had rather than try and “relive old glory.”

In fact (and this also goes back to what you read earlier), by discovering the love you may still have for them in friendship you can actually get the best of both worlds here, even though it may not be the actual “physical”, “romantic”, and “intimate” type of relationship you had with them in the past.

5. Move on with heartfelt love

As you read earlier you have two choices if you see the relationship isn’t going your way (and is going to end)…one, have the mentality of “If we’re not boyfriend/girlfriend (or husband/wife) than that’s it we’re done” or two, “Let’s remain as friends and have that type of relationship.” Certainly the latter is the wisest move if the person is that important to you.

That’s the path me and April went. After not communicating at all for 24 years we finally reunited (in 2010) and have been friends ever since. And that is usually something for me that is out of character but since she played such an important part in my life (and is an important person in my life) it was really a very easy decision to make.

And the other really cool part…she has her life…as she is married to her true soulmate and a person she definitely deserves to be with. Obviously this all worked out well for both of us.

Even though we have a much different type of relationship now (friendship relationship) than we did as boyfriend/girlfriend there’s still that heartfelt love as friends.

This goes back to what you read earlier about the girl I knew back in 2006 who said, “I love all of my friends.” Well that’s the case with me and April…and the same is true with you in your relationships as well.

As humans we all seek relationships. We’re relational creatures. It’s wired into our DNA. So it’s not a question of whether you want to be in a relationship or not…it’s a question of, “Who is the person that will be ‘the one’ and who are the people that make up the other special relationships to include the friendship relationships?”

No matter how you look at it, you’ll have both. The only difference is, “If it doesn’t work out with the person that you always wanted to have as a boyfriend or girlfriend are you ok having that friendship relationship?”

If you are then the wisest choice you can make is to move on with heartfelt love…and love them in the appropriate way as it relates to the type of relationship you have with them. And what that appropriate way is will be different for you than it is for someone else. It’s going to depend on you and the person you’re involved with.

Love means different things to different people. But it’s the feelings you have for someone and how you’re able to communicate those feelings based on the type of relationship you have with them is where the heartfelt love will be.

What’s important for you is that you’re ok with moving on from having them as “The one” to now having them as “The close friend” in your life…while still being able to love them in that type of way. This is when you’ll have that heartfelt love for them.

Remember…

People come into your life for a reason. Some will stay in your life and some won’t. And then you have those who come into your life, make a big difference in your life, and end up staying in your life forever. These are the people you’ll have that heartfelt love with, even if they’re not your boyfriend or girlfriend anymore.

Whoever this person is, tell them how you feel and how much they matter to you. Not only does it show how much they’ve made a difference in your life, but it also shows how much of a difference you’ve made in theirs.

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