I’ve Got a Blank Space

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Dear Dharma,

I used to have an incredibly close friend. He and I would talk almost every day, about almost anything. He was the guy I could call anytime day or night if I needed someone to talk to, and vice versa.

However he took a bad path, you see. He started selling drugs and got into gang activity. This didn’t stop my intense love for this dude, but it certainly put me on the defensive. We’d been so close for a whole decade at this point, after all.

Anyway, as things progressed, the drugs got harder and the activities got sketchier. For the sake of myself and my family, I had to cut ties. This in itself isn’t the issue. The issue is it’s been over a year since I’ve spoken to this man and I still think about him nearly every day. I miss him so much it aches.

I know reconciliation would be a terrible idea, if not dangerous. So please tell me, how can I reign in my grief over the loss of this person I love so much? And keep myself in check so I don’t end up caving in and calling him?

Help me and my broken heart figure this one out.

Empty Space

Dear Empty Space,

I’ll admit to being a little confused when you say the issue isn’t that you had to cut ties with this person, it’s just that you miss him.  These two things are directly linked, one doesn’t really exist without the other… So you can’t banish the circumstances and address just a shred of this.

It’s a package deal is all I’m saying.  Your reasons for ending the friendship are extremely and entirely valid and that does count when taking the whole situation into consideration.

The bottom line here is that you’ve suffered a loss.  An incredibly close, long term friend is no longer in your life, and as long as he continues down his path, this will be the permanent status of your relationship.  That’s a major thing.

Recovering from a loss takes time, and I think you’ve done a great job in holding firm for more than a year, so please give yourself credit for that.

And continuously reminding yourself off all the reasons reconciliation would be a terrible and possibly dangerous idea is a good thing, but it still doesn’t seem quite enough to get you through this.

There’s a lot of information out there on getting over a friendship – some of it is crap (get a manicure!), but some of it might be useful to you.  The point I saw that I liked best is to put your energy into building stronger friendships with some of the existing people in your life.  The busier you, the stronger your other friendships become, that all plays a role in recovery.  Additionally, you are taking a negative situation and turning it into something positive – you know, rain into rainbows when you can.

If this doesn’t seem like a strong enough stick to beat this with, have you considered grief therapy?  Finding someone you can work your way through this with might not be a terrible thing, right?  Please even just think about it as a possibility…

And, by the way?  There’s nothing wrong with missing someone, regardless of the reasons they are no longer in your life.  So give yourself permission to feel this emotion, but don’t let it talk you into picking up the phone.

Dharma

 

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