14/02/2017 04:56 SAST | Updated 14/02/2017 04:56 SAST

The Worst Breakups Aren't Necessarily Those That End Romantic Relationships

It's damn difficult because it does not make sense that people who shared their lives together can just decide no longer to do so.

Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters
Kadidiatu Swaray, 18, (L) and her friend Mabinty Bangura, 15, arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012.

It's February, the month of love, and although I am excited to see what unusual and over-the-top displays of romance are in the pipeline, I'd like to take a moment to consider the anguish of losing your best friend.

I can't help but wonder about break ups: not romantic ones, but instead the severing of a friendship bond. Whenever a friend breaks up with their partner, we gather around her to offer a shoulder to cry on, we offer shots of tequila; and our seemingly new need to state that we had never taken a liking to 'him', I mean in reality we all saw the signs of 'fuckboyery'.

Eventually everyone faffing over her becomes an annoyance and when she yells to be left alone, her best friend proclaims it is just the hurt and confusion speaking. Your best friend holds your hand even when it shakes. She accepts parts of you you haven't even begun to understand. She does not judge. She covers your face when tears stream down because you caught a glimpse of your ex at the table across from you at the club.

Most times I've found myself at the depths of despair and alone, it has been because I have lost a friend, not a partner. And as a society we don't pay enough attention to the devastating effects of this type of severance.

There is no survival guide for existing without your best friend. We don't discuss trying to rebound with other women or the hundreds of texts or emails you almost send to her.

We never look at the role ego plays to cover up a shattered heart when you lose someone who is like a sister. No one asks how you are really doing. Instead they ask if there has been some communication – whether one of us has woken up from our bed of pride. They ask us if we really care. We do.

It seems we are not inclined to step in and genuinely care for someone who has buried a person alive.

It seems we are not inclined to step in and genuinely care for someone who has buried a person alive. Because that's what it really feels like – cremating years of memories; shared laughter, pain, midnight antics, learning and unlearning, and being at home with another human being.

Suddenly you are a spectator to a life that no longer involves you.

It's a different type of pain. It burns right in your core and you're reminded at every corner that you are no longer friends. Nothing can numb the loss of a part of you no matter the cause. The injury is plastered everywhere for all to see.

It's in your Instagram pictures, your subliminal tweets, your anger-fueled outbursts at other friends, your Facebook memories. But it's not just pain and tears, these breakups can be cruel - words that can never be unsaid are muttered. The aim is to hurt the one who has broken you or to startle their hard-heartedness with shame and guilt, in the hopes that it will uncover compassion.

There's a degree of annoyance when you have done little wrong in the destruction of this home or when you are wrongfully accused. It angers me why so few second chances are given to our friends. You spend months questioning your intention over and over again; sometimes you conclude it was always pure and true and; other times you are devastated at the realisation that it was not, that maybe you were selfish. And then one day, you stop asking "why me" and you try to find the lesson. Suddenly you can breathe and your head is finally above the water.

It's damn difficult because it still does not make sense that people who shared their lives together can just decide no longer to do so without countless considerations. You carry the weight of your contribution to the downfall of a union. You learn the lessons and then hopefully grow from it. And with the wisdom of this encounter, you either close up to establishing such a tight bond ever again: you fear the depth of love still accessible in your heart; or you step in again and as Maya Angelou said, you: "Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time."