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Reconciling a Breakup

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From the U.S. I was recently forced to break up with my best friend/boy friend, who I have known for 20 years. I know it was the right thing to do; my friend was making bad choices and it was becoming an unhealthy situation. But at the same time, in many ways we were as close as two people can be and I feel this loss every day.

I don’t think we will ever be together again, and that’s for the best, but I’m having trouble reconciling the legacy of our relationship. I don’t want to glorify it, because it did become so unhealthy. And I do want to be able to move on. But on the other hand, I don’t want to lose the memory of what was good about it. I guess what I’m saying is, I need a sense of balance. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Reconciling a Breakup

Answered by on -


You’ve made a healthy and wise choice for yourself. That doesn’t mean that you won’t experience grief. You’ve lost a valuable friendship through no fault of your own. Like most relationships, yours had many positive elements to it as well as the not-so-positive ones. However angry and sad you are about your friend’s unhealthy choices, you none-the-less grieve the good times and the parts if his character that you found loveable and loving. You are feeling “unbalanced” because both are true. You can’t just write him off.

The only “cure” for this is time. Acknowledge the importance of the relationship. Over 20 years, the two of you undoubtedly helped each other become who you are. But also acknowledge your own wisdom in taking distance. Focus on your other relationships. No one will replace this guy. No one person can ever really replace another. But I hope you have other people in your life who are important in other ways. As you deepen those relationships, the loss of this one will sting less. You’ll be able to remember the good times fondly while at the same time affirming your decision.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Reconciling a Breakup

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Reconciling a Breakup. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 7 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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