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Can we still be friends? Buddhism in breakups.

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BicycleChainBowl-

We broke up over text message because our face to face communications had gradually been decreasing as we started to make the unconscious efforts to distance ourselves from each other.

“I never want to hear from you again and I have no interest in being your friend,” was what her final message said.

All I could think of was that it didn’t have to be this way.  We were breaking up for petty, trivial things which we both had allowed to become the focus of our relationship.  She told me several times during our year together that if we ever broke up I would never see her again.  It’s been six months now, and her warnings have proven to be true.

As the first few months went by I had urges to contact her, but I tried to respect her wishes, and stayed away.  However, she had become such an integrated part of my life while we were together that  I still saw her in almost everything I did.  Like while vacationing in Portland I came across something she would absolutely love and that would make the perfect gift for her. She’s an avid bicyclist, and also big on recycling, and I found this adorable bowl made from a recycled bicycle chain.  In an act that was so painfully natural I reached for my wallet to buy it for her before remembering we weren’t together anymore.   It fit her personality so perfectly that I even considered buying it, and then sending it to her anyway.   I imagined all the scenarios where she would open the gift, and realize she missed me too.  We would get back together, having transcended all the petty, small things we fought over, and we would be better people.  Seeing the gift made me realize how badly I miss her, and how much I want to reach out to contact her.   I want to tell her that we’re throwing away something that doesn’t happen often for very childish reasons

In the end, I left the bowl where I found it, and tried not to think about her.

I struggle with this situation because I’ve never had a problem remaining friends with those people I’ve been intimate with.  I know a lot of people have difficulties doing this, but I’ve never understood why.  Now, I’m not talking about the times where somebody was cheated on, or abused, or when one of you completely misrepresented yourself.  I’m talking about those times when you’re both good people, but it just didn’t work out.  When we let our own baggage get in the way, or the timing wasn’t right.  When the two of you are like vanilla pudding and picante sauce, pretty good separately but not so good together.

When relationships end, why so often do people cut all ties, and walk away?  By far this is the most difficult and painful thing I’m processing.  Did I mean so little that I was this easy to walk away from?  Am I this easy to forget?

If we see qualities in someone that makes us think they might be worth starting a relationship with, and then the relationship doesn’t work out, do those qualities go away?  Do they become less because we stop seeing them through our expectations, or is the pain so great that we just have to distance ourselves from being exposed to what might have been?

At the end of this yoga class we used to go to every Tuesday night, the instructor would end the class by saying ‘Namaste’.  Namaste literally means the Buddha inside of me, sees the Buddha inside of you.  In other words, when I look at you, I see the very best person you can possibly be, I see the unlimited potential within you, and I see how the world is a better place because you’re in it, and I’m experiencing you this way with perfect clarity.  If there’s anyone in the universe who deserves to be looked at in this way, isn’t it the person we claim to be in love with?

Although our time together has ended, and I might not be able to see her physically anymore, I can still hold her inside my mind.  I can create a space there where I will always see her as the woman I fell in love with.  Where I can see her beautiful smile, and hear her sometimes snort when she laughs.  Where I can hear her voice telling me everything is going to be alright at the times I need it most.  Where I can understand that even though things didn’t work out between us, she’s still an amazing person, and that I’m a better human being for knowing her.  I can create a place where I can wish her nothing but unreasonable happiness, whether she experiences it with me or not.  But most importantly, a place where I will always love her, and consider myself her friend, even during the times she doesn’t consider herself to be mime.

Namaste.

I miss you.

 

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