One of the things that annoys me more than anything is when people automatically associate the word "ex" with a bad connotation. That's part of the reason why I just like to call him my friend.

In recent months, I've been questioned about my close friendship with my last boyfriend. When I mention anything that sounds like we're still on friendly terms, I get a lot of responses like, "oh, that's weird" or "why aren't you still together then?"

It was only then that I fully realized that the type of connection I have with this person is special. I'd like to erase the notion that something like this is impossible without being unhealthy because we are living proof that it is. It's definitely not the easy way to go, but I would say it's worth it if you really want to someone that you love to be in your life for the long run.

Of course, if something happens in the relationship where it is absolutely necessary to cut ties and release the person from your life, by all means, do so. This is also something that I've had to do in the past, but I like to avoid it if at all possible. That is why I fought so hard to keep this relationship alive, and I couldn't have done so without the reciprocation from the other person. It has to be a two-way street, and it has to be selfless. That's why it's hard.

Another thing I will say is that not all relationships have to end because something terrible happened or because one person screwed the other person over. Sometimes people just need time to grow and breathe away from each other. Sometimes a romantic relationship isn't what both people need in order for the best things to happen in their individual lives. Sometimes people need to find themselves a little bit more before being able to give to another person fully and wholly.

This was the case with us. I actually made the decision early on in our relationship that I didn't want to continue it after I graduated because I was leaving for college and he was just going to be a senior in high school. Of course, this was difficult. It was heartbreaking at the moment to feel the pain of having to leave someone that I loved so much when all I wanted was to be selfish and keep them in my grasp for as long as possible. But no matter how strong that urge was, I knew that it would be so much more gratifying for the both of us if I let him go. If we were selfish and tried to continue it the way it was in that moment, our relationship would've entirely crashed and burned. He has growing to do on his own, and so do I.

It wasn't the right time or the right circumstances. Long story short, our friendship continued just as it was supposed to while we took our separate paths in life. I still have his companionship which is the most important to me and which I wouldn't have if I hadn't done what needed to be done. He still loves me as a person for who I am, and I love him just as much in return.

It's possible. Fight for the ones that you love and let them go if you know it's what's best for them and yourself. If you truly care about each other enough, you'll both always find a way back into one another's lives.

Author's note: dedicated to D.