Psychiatrists have determined that there are either 3, 4, 6, 7, or 8 different types of love, depending on which website you look at or believe, and given my quick Google search. The 8 type ones go with Eros, or sexual love; Storge, or familiar love; Ludus, or playful love; Mania, or obsessive love; Pragma, or enduring love; Philautia, or self love; Agape, or selfless love; and Philia, or affectionate love. Philia, or "Philos" (which we defined as deep friendship), defined my relationship with my best friend.
I had to let go of her recently. It was inevitable that this would happen. It's like the movie, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. Men and women can't be friends. You either have an Eros type of relationship, or you don't, and as soon as a third person comes into the picture, it gets too complicated to continue with Philos alone.
I prayed about it. I knew that, if God wanted the relationship to work for us, it would, but I also knew that there were too many differences between us for any kind of romance to develop into a successful relationship. We had gotten too close, though, I guess. And I got selfish, because I liked what we had. But I couldn't give her what she wanted, which was the Eros, Storge, Ludus, and Pragma. We only had the Philos, and that was good enough for me. When she found the other types in a guy that made her happy, I couldn't handle sharing her, and I knew I had to let her go. Because men and women can't be friends. And I had to let her go before she left me, because that's been my experience. I lose the people that mean the most to me.
I don't let very many people into my life anymore. I guess I got tired of losing them, because that's what happens, inevitably. And it made me sad. I have lots of acquaintances, but very few real friends. I'm not talking family, because that's different. I can't seem to hang onto any real friends.
I read a bunch of books about loss following the death of my wife, Teresa. She was my best friend, and after we got married, we became a couple, and that's who we spent most of our time with: other couples. My single friends kind of disappeared. But it was okay, because we had each other. After Teresa died, and I began battling grief and depression, I read in these books about grief and depression that I should expect that I would lose all of my couple friends within the first year. They wouldn't disappear completely, at least some of them, but the majority would just kind of drift out of my life. And I didn't believe it. But, about a year later, I discovered just how true this is. Similar people seem to want to be around similar people. I was no longer a "couple," and couples didn't necessarily want to be around me. So most became just acquaintances, or drifted out of my life completely.
Slowly but surely, the turnover from couple friends to single friends took place, and I found that I was spending most of my time with other singles, though I was still a bit stigmatized since I wasn't just a single guy... I was a parent, too. So the only people I really had anything in common with were single parents with kids. And very few, if any of those, were single due to the death of their spouse. Most were divorced. The two are similar, but still very different.
Another strike against me was that I was getting older. Teresa was only 31 when she passed away. We were a young couple. As time went on, I found myself getting older, and dating becomes complicated as one gets older. My daughter, in particular, didn't like it when I dated. And she told me so.
Anyway, at some point, I determined, after trying to date, and even dating seriously at least one young lady, that I didn't want to date anymore. I wasn't having any fun, and if the goal was marriage, I wasn't even sure I wanted that. My marriage to Teresa was awesome. The best and happiest time of my life. But I didn't think I could ever find another relationship like it, and I kind of gave up. I was certainly open to friendships, but romance was no longer a goal.
When I met my best friend, we were able to define the limits of our friendship, and romance was not within those limits. But we became so close. It was intimate, but in the way that best friends are intimate. We shared and leaned on each other, and helped each other and talked through our problems and issues, and we were happy for each other when good things happened. But I knew she was still searching for romance. She told me as much. And I told her that, eventually, that would spell the end of our relationship as it was. And she asked me to not worry about it until and unless it happened.
And then it did. She met a great guy. And I was hurt, because I knew that our relationship would never be the same. And she struggled to understand that. She thought we could continue our relationship the way it was, but you just can't do that. You can't be intimate, even if it's a different kind of intimacy, with more than one person. And so I said goodbye. And it hurt so much. It hurt both of us, I know, but it was yet another loss. I knew that she would eventually realize she couldn't continue to have the same kind of relationship with me, and that she would have to say goodbye, but I knew it was easier to do it now rather than later. And it was rough. And it still is. And I still Philos her even as I know she has found happiness and, I hope, he has Philos for her. I pray for them both regularly, that God will bless their relationship.
Have a great evening, everyone.