Love Changes … and Best Friends Become Strangers: Four Relationships Destined to Fail
Not too long after graduating college, an ex-girlfriend from back home asked me why I didn’t come around anymore and why I didn’t spend time with my best friend from high school. I didn’t have an answer, the best response I could come up with was “I think we’ve grown apart.” The truth was, I went to college and he didn’t, not only did he not make it to college, but it also seemed that his ambition died after the twelfth grade. I just couldn’t relate to the mindset of a man who quit life. This lead me to think about the relationships that fail over the course of one’s life and I wanted to share them and some of my thoughts about them, with you.
“I know Mom, but this is the woman in my life now.”
I remember one time Christmas came around and I was saving money to buy something for my lady friend. My mother wanted Alvin Ailey tickets, front row. Can’t argue that, my mother loves Alvin Ailey. I had to make a decision between dropping the $500 for those tickets or the $600 for a new bag for my lady. I had to tell my mother, “I’m sorry but I hope that this lady becomes a part of my family one day, I’ll get you one ticket, but I’m not sure I have the money to do two.” At some point in your life, your mother or father will be second to the person in your life. Nobody wants a mama’s boy and you don’t want to create an unnecessary barrier that separates you from someone who has the potential to be your life partner. It’s a delicate thing to balance and eventually, every man who takes a wife has to make the choice and put her first. If she’s first … other people, who were once first, will have to deal with your relationship adjusting.
“My bad dog, but this just ain’t me no more.”
I was sitting on the block doing what we had done many times before on the 4th of July: shooting bottle rockers at one another and laughing. At one point, my boy pulls out a hammer and shoots it in the air, I sat for a moment too engulfed in the Henny that we had been drinking and just laughed. As cops circled the area, I realized I had to get out of there. I wasn’t the same dude that I was in the past, I had a college education and good job, I didn’t want to become a statistic. I keep it cordial with my boy that I’ve known since I was 4, but we’ve never hung out like that again. It’s hard parting ways with people you’ve known your whole life. It’s hard coming back to the old neighborhood and not having an idea of what’s transpired since you’d last been around. And it’s hard realizing how much you’ve grown in looking through the warped mirror that is the difference between you and friend you were once just like. It happens, it’s real, it’s part of growing up.
“Keep it real, we were only friends because of the partying and the chicks.”
One of the dudes I thought would always be in my life, I lost to the realization that our friendship had outgrown us. I look back on someone that I would hit the bars with, talk about life, be there for whenever and realized, “Hey, we only really talked about partying and bullsh*t.” As you get older you realize that many friendships built in college are based on the frivolous, collegiate lifestyle. If our friendship is centered around scheming on chicks, what happens when scheming on chicks is no longer necessary or important. I had to let that friend go, I wish him the best, but as an adult, I needed more from my friends than just war stories and drunken half-memories.
“You’ll make a great wife, but probably not for me.”
I had to learn the hard way that there comes a time when you lose a friend who could have been your wife. I remember meeting up with an ex-girlfriend to tell her she’d make a great wife, but I wasn’t ready for marriage. There will be stepping stones in a man’s love life, and in a woman’s love life. We don’t always end up with the person we thought we’d spend the rest of our life with and that’s okay, as long as we grow and are better people for it.
The say people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. What I’ve discovered over the years is that some of the people I thought would be here for a lifetime, were only meant for a season. That doesn’t invalidate our friends and love, but it does give me perspective. Friendships should be based not just on the history you have, but also on the memories you might be able to make in the future. We all hold onto relationships- sometimes for way too long. We do this to avoid failure. We’ve got friends we know we should let go, we’ve got family and loved ones that are for us, toxic. Share with me your thoughts and maybe some friendships that you lost along the way. Today is a time of reflection, let’s reflect on the faith that the sometimes dark past has taught us.
– Dr. J
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