All around me I see zombie relationships, and they are feasting on my friends’ brains. I have only just realized how bad the epidemic is. Here’s what happens. First, the relationship dies. It is brutal. Painful. Messy. It can be hard to accept the loss, but many people push through the grief and move on. But some people don’t want to let go. They don’t want to accept the death. So they try to bring it back to life in a different, twisted, unnatural form. It is most often the “friend” form. You get together for coffee and pretend you are completely fine with this. It’s cool. We can be friends. You try to talk about things that don’t directly relate to dating: The weather, school, work. You smile and nod and pretend hearing about their family doesn’t rip you up and you aren’t thinking about how good they look or how great it might be to kiss them. But that’s it. Right there. That is your brain being devoured.
If you are trying to raise your relationship from the dead in a new form, you’re going to get eaten. The zombie relationship is a sneaky breed. You might not even notice it at first, but it is there, gnawing at your brain.
We have all seen enough zombie movies to know that shooting the monster in the head is the best way to go. Kill it quick. Double tap. There can be no looking back on the remains. In every zombie apocalypse movie I have ever seen, one of the characters ends up with that horrible realization that someone they love is no longer that person, and the zombie must die for the character to survive.
It is the same with the zombie relationship. You can try to find what was once there and salvage it. You can keep it “alive.” But you know, just like every survivor in the zombie apocalypse knows, that you have to end it to stay healthy. I hate to be the bearer of apocalyptic tidings, but you cannot be friends while you are still lingering over the death of your relationship. You cannot create something new out of the old remains. Well, you can – but it is going to be messy until you finally realize you have to kill it or let yourself be devoured.
I want us all to survive the onslaught of undead relationships. If you can stop the shambling, moaning mess before it is created, your brain will thank you. Cut off its head and move on. If it has already started feasting, let this column be a wake-up call and kill it now. You can survive the zombies as long as you can recognize one when you see it.