It was one of those beautiful Asheville summer evenings. The sun was setting; the air was cool—perfect convertible weather. Top down, Kathy and I were on our way to a hip new bar in the River Arts District.
“I may have gotten this break up thing down,” I said to Kathy.
“Yeah, Tomas and I talked last weekend, and we’ve decided to shift our relationship from dating to a friendship. I’m pretty jazzed about our new status.”
“And Tomas, how does he feel about it?’
“He’s in perfect agreement. He needs more ‘me’ time right now too. We both know it will be an adjustment. We’ve promised to keep the lines of communication open.”
Kathy looked skeptical. “You know, it’s pretty unusual to make this kind of shift without some kind of ‘time out.’”
“We talked about that, but we didn’t want to do that. Of course, that could change.”
“I’m impressed,” Kathy said. “Why do you think you’ve been able to do this? It sure hasn’t worked for you in the past.”
Kathy was right; rarely had I remained friends with an ex-lover.
“Two reasons,” I began. “First, Tomas and I are in similar places. We’re both going through major life transitions. And we both need a lot of time to ourselves right now. Being in a relationship was a distraction. Now we can focus on what’s really important.”
“Which is. . .?”
“Our friendship. You know, we’ve decided we’ll probably be more intimate as friends than we were as lovers.” I laughed.
“That’s pretty great,” Kathy said.
“I’m proud of both of us. At the same time, I’m not naïve. I know it’s going to be tough, especially when one of us starts dating. I just hope we can work through it with lots of honesty and communication.”
“Makes perfect sense.”
“I guess we’re lucky. Not every couple can turn a break up into a friendship. But when romantic relationships run their course, a friendship can follow if the couple still love each other and have similar interests and values.”
“And maturity,” Kathy added.
“Right! OK, sweet pea, enough about me. What have you’ve been up to?”