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Friends and Lovers: An Inverse RelationshipArticle by: Veronica Baesso

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Relationships are an area that never ceases to be difficult to define. We have an issue because they are by their nature complex and varied. There are many types of relationships. They also deal with our feelings. Lord knows, “feelings” are the hardest thing there is to define. So we use vague terms like intense, romantic, swept up, head over heels, crazy to provide enough shared knowledge in language for it shed some light. We capture our feelings in these words yet knowing these words aren’t adequate. When relationships end, we share new words: sorrow, pain, ache, longing and despair. Relationships seemingly have end points associated with those terms but I would argue even when a relationship is “over” there are the residual effects that last longer. Those residual effects are where we can explore the inverse relationship between our two primary relationship groups: lovers and friends.

When I hear the word “inverse” I am instantly dropped back to a math class filled with inverse functions, equations and all that good stuff. Simply put, the inverse means to reverse, or do the opposite. We have an inverse equation in place when it comes to the end of a relationship with lovers and friends. In relationship involving lovers the more time passes (T) the less negative feelings (F) we have attached to the relationship.  In relationship involving friends the inverse is true. The more time passes (T) the more negative feelings (F) we have attached to the relationship.

It’s strange as to why this happens. But there are some theories. Lover based relationships tend to have messy endings. Very rarely do two people wake up, look at each other and calmly state “this isn’t working anymore we should go our own ways”. It might happen but it is rarer than a conservative with compassion and common sense. Good luck finding one of those! Instead, there is tumult, and tears, harsh language and all kinds of drama. The break is more of a shattering and the fall into post-relationship despair is deep. But as time goes by and the recovery phase happens we tend to remember or focus on the good times we had with our former lovers. Their faults slip into the subconscious as we move on and we say to ourselves “hmm maybe it wasn’t that bad” and we allow some fond memories to slip in. Now this could be a challenge when it comes to moving on but that’s another story. The main thrust is that we forgive the past over time.  The time will vary. It doesn’t mean it’s a quick process but it happens nonetheless.

Friend based relationships tend to end more with a whimper than a bang. We drift apart from friends in a way that makes it harder to discern exactly when the first riff was opened. So in short order, that riff becomes a chasm with the bridges of reconciliation forever under construction. Time in the case of friendship gives us time to build up indifference. Indifference is a motherfucker. Indifference says “you know what I can’t be bothered”. You just don’t feel anything, and without feelings there is no reflection. Reflection allows you to anchor your impressions on the good and the bad. We don’t allow for that with friendships. If lover relationships are like a nuclear ending then friendship relationships are like USA/Cuba. A long stony silence with both sides agreeing to not acknowledge the other.

This inverse relationship between friends and lovers is a curious one. It should be the other way around but it isn’t. We have made friendships a disposable part of our life journey. Lovers are often allowed a lifetime membership in our memories. There is one direct equation when blessed with good relationships whether friend or lover, give them equal amounts of love (L), care (C), empathy (E) and it should go on forever. Or simply put:

L+C+E = ∞

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