Romantic breakups can be devastating. The heartbreak that one feels when a romantic relationship ends, whether mutually or suddenly, has been the stuff of stories for generations. But breakups of platonic friendships are equally devastating, and I feel like it doesn’t get mentioned enough.
I’m not talking about the gradual growing-apart that many friendships fall victim to (though less so with the advent of the internet and social media in particular). We seem to accept that friendships, no matter how intensely close they may be, run the risk of deteriorating through the natural progression of life. While it can be sad to reflect on a past friendship that’s grown distant, it usually doesn’t bring on terrible feelings of grief or sadness. Not like a friendship breakup.
Platonic friendships obviously occupy a different space than romantic relationships, but they are no less emotionally important. A good friendship is a reliable social pillar, where one can find comfort and acceptance outside the intimacy of a romance. For so many of us, our friendships were our first relationships outside of our families. A trusted friendship is where someone can truly discover who they are, or at least have companions along that journey of self-discovery. A good friendship is the one that builds you up when you’re down and encourages you in the pursuit of romance.
To lose a friendship like that in a breakup, whether it’s because of a fight or an irreparable change in perspective, is absolutely devastating. You don’t realize how heavily you leaned on that pillar for support until it’s gone. And unlike the loss of a treasured friend through tragedy, the knowledge that you could run into someone who used to be so very close to you can bring on as much anxiety and dread as the threat of running into an ex.
Personally, I’ve endured two friendship breakups. In both instances, it came out of nowhere. Two social circles, years apart, whose inclusion I had come to treasure, abruptly told me they no longer desired my presence. Through patience, understanding, and time, the first of these two breakups was mended, and I was welcomed back. The second was never reconciled, and though it’s been almost 10 years since, I still bear that scar on my heart. I don’t think it will ever fully heal.
Friendships are important. The Legacy of Dominic Deegan focuses more on the importance of platonic love and trust than romantic love, though both are equally important. I felt it was important to showcase the one that gets less attention in stories, despite being equally devastating in its sudden absence.