I’d like to begin this by saying one thing: I do not hate romantic love, and I am not trying to diminish its value.
In fact, I think romantic relationships are a wonderful thing. I have been with people who have made my heart feel full. They’ve given music a new meaning, made me breakfast before work, and changed my perspective on love forever, for the better.
However, many of these relationships also changed me in a way that was definitely for the worse. Some days, it felt like I was dissolving; tidal waves of mistrust, anxiety, and hurt would eat away at me. It was times like this when my heart went from feeling full to feeling too big for my ribcage; as though it was going to pop.
I like to think I’m a strong person, but I’m not always strong in love, as much as that pains me to write. I find it easy to lose myself and fall in love with what I want a relationship to be rather than what it is.
But what I lack in romantic love, I make up for in platonic love.
When my romantic relationships have hurt me, my female friends have been my breakup bandage, healing me through the little things. Making me dinner when all I could be bothered to cook was cheese on toast, talking until the early hours of the morning, keeping me company when I didn’t want to be alone. Thanks to my friends, my heartbreaks are synonymous with watching endless episodes of awful reality television, trips to the fast-food drive-thru, and the knowledge that we’ll laugh at the whole experience down the line.
Remember what I said earlier about how I’ve been involved with people who have made my heart feel full? The truth is that the relationships I have with the women in my life make my heart feel more full than any partner ever has.
When three of my friends took an hour round trip to collect me from the house of my first real boyfriend after a particularly bad breakup, I remember thinking how beautiful it is that I get to share my life with people who love me for me. As upsetting as any breakup can be, I know that I will always have women in my life who care about me purely because they like who I am as a person. That won’t be affected by my sex drive, how well I get along with their parents, or whether I gain or lose a few pounds.
I believe that if you can find love within your female friendships, it will be the most unconditional kind of love there is.
I’m writing this for two reasons. Firstly, we need to reject the societal narrative that tells us that we need to change our world so that our significant other is at the center of it. Instead, normalize being with people who make up a part of your book without being the only character in your story. Normalize solidifying real connections with other women, connections based on trust, support, and the joy that comes with appreciating each other’s company. Finally, normalize looking for romantic relationships founded on friendship as well as passion.
And secondly, this is a testament to the women who have been there for me throughout. Thank you, and I love you more than you could ever know.