“Often a relationship is over long before it ends.”

The quote above is a paraphrase of Lady Heather on CSI on what I believe is her last appearance on the show, after she has become a licensed psychologist. She spoke it in the context of romantic relationships, but I have come to the conclusion that the insight is equally apt for friendships.

The ending of a friendship is an underexplored topic in art and fiction. I think because we tend to be polyamicable, the disintegration of any single friendship is not as culturally fascinating as the death of a monogamous sexual love, even though it’s a phenomenon we have all experienced…possibly more than the other.  Sometimes it is a mutual drifting away, other times one person intentionally shuts off contact, other times one person inadvertently pushes the other away.  As an individual you can at one time or another play each of those roles.  I have, on several occasions in all of those ways.  Yet I rarely see this theme outside of YA and children’s literature. Do friendship break-ups really stop being something worth talking about once we pass childhood?

Or does discussing them threaten the easy platitudes of friendship in our culture to such an extent that we must all simply perpetuate the lie, when the truth is that a friendship that can last a lifetime is almost as rare as that love–and the only reason it seems “almost as rare” is because we allow ourselves to test more than one friendship at once.

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