BREAKUPS are tough. But you didn’t need me to tell you that. I’m sure you’ve experienced heartbreak first hand, most likely a few times over too. It’s awful.

Missing someone so much your stomach aches, that heavy disappointment of all the things you’ll never share together, the embarrassment of failing to make things work. How do you readjust when you can’t really remember a day without the other person in it?

Life feels weird for a while, like you’re walking around with one shoe on. Unbalanced, partly naked. At times you think it’s hard to imagine feeling any worse. But allow me to provide you some perspective … you can. Feel worse that is. There is one type of breakup that’s a thousand times more traumatic than any dude I’ve ever split with: a bestie breakup.

It plays out in the familiar ‘breakup’ kind of way, just WAY, WAY WORSE. Mainly because you never see a friendship breakup coming. When you make a commitment to a best mate, you assume that the relationship is lifelong. You plan on being each other’s bridesmaids, having kids at the same time (then plan your kid’s wedding together so you can become sister-in-laws. #LifeGoals.) You mentally-note hilarious adventures you can recount when you’re both old and adorable sitting in matching rocking chairs together like “remember the time when …”

So when it all comes crashing down, your heart breaks. You mourn the things you never actually shared together (and also the ‘best friends’ jewellery that’s now too weird to wear. It looked really cute on you too).

I’ll never forget a bestie breakup I had shortly after high-school. I’d been drifting from this friend for a while, pretending not to notice because that might somehow make it real. Sometimes that happens though, you go through stages within relationships. Things aren’t always perfect or always easy, but the ones you stick out regardless are special. And I thought that’s what we had together … something special.

Turns out she didn’t agree. Because in my mailbox without any warning, she delivered a two page, handwritten letter explaining why I was no longer ‘someone she wanted to be friends with.’ I had been broken up with via letter. VIA LETTER! Who even writes letters these days … beyond lawyers and the elderly?

And if that wasn’t enough, the reasons for her ending it stung almost as much. I ‘made her a bad person’ and she ‘didn’t like who she was becoming around me.’ She instructed that ‘we could continue to say hi at parties, but nothing more.’ Not only had I been dumped, I’d been humiliated and slapped with a self-made restraining order!

If I’d hooked up with her boyfriend, aired her dirty laundry in a drunken maid of honour speech or even stolen a baby name she’d had dibs on since we were teenagers, then I could understand. Then there might be grounds for such a formalised, aggressive end to an otherwise beautiful three years of friendship.

I almost wished I’d done something definitively wrong so when family kept asking me ‘what’s happened to you two?’ I could answer with something other than ‘I’m a terrible human being that doesn’t deserve mates.’ Because for a little while I believed that.

Bouncing back from that loss is hard and it takes a while to put yourself out there again.

If only there was a ‘Tinder’ for friends, where you could swipe right on potential replacement BFF’s. It sounds a whole lot easier than striking up friendships with chicks in nightclub toilet queues… because let’s face it, that’s where I started looking.

Author Kristie Mercer

Kristie Mercer is one half of The Thinkergirls — who love to chat on their podcast about all the thoughts you’re thinking but not saying. Find the girls on Facebook or Youtube.

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