It should have been a normal friendship . . .

The first day I met Roman, I had no idea I’d one day idolize this guy above God. Only to have him ripped away from me by his mother.

The day after receiving that fateful email, I walked around by myself most of the day. My family was used to my aloofness, so they never questioned my behavior.

I thought through everything concerning Roman from the past several years. Something told me his mom was right — I just wasn’t ready to accept it yet.

How could everything about our friendship have been wrong?

Eventually, I sent Roman a message. I simply apologized for anything I had done wrong and said I’d be taking a break from talking to him for a while. He messaged me back that he appreciated it and that he’d be praying for me.

The next few months were rocky. I was alright some days; other days, I was a puddle on the floor, weeping for the lack of Roman in my life.

My conversations with other friends sometimes derailed into a whine-fest for my lost friendship. I sneakily divulged some information that made it seem like I was wronged in all of this. However, it never actually worked.

Finally, a friend of mine who’d probably listened to me the most got fed up. Amid another of my whine sessions, he just blurted out:

Dean, you’ve got to get over Roman! So what that you’re not so close anymore? If you truly are someone who follows Christ, then you shouldn’t still be crying because you can’t talk to some random guy every single day anymore! Grow up, go back to God, and stop this incessant whining!

I was stunned. Speechless. Convicted.

I sat there in silence for a minute, taking it in. He looked at me and asked if I was ok. I said yes and excused myself.

I went away, sat, and wrote down what I called a “progression.” Here’s how it went:

Roman and I were friends. I became weak and needed a stronger brother. Roman was that brother. I grew stronger but refused to let go of Roman. I insisted I needed him as my stronger brother forever. God saw my idolatry and removed my idol. Thus, I needed to return to God and let go of my idol of Roman.

I got up from this, passed it on to my friend who had just yelled at me, and began to pray.

I begged God for forgiveness. And then I asked for the wisdom and guidance to uproot the idols I had placed around my life, rooted firstly in my idolization of Roman.

Over the next few months, I grew incredibly in my walk with Christ. My other friendships began to develop well, my time at school improved, and my relationships with some of my family actually began to improve.

As for Roman . . .

He and I hung out randomly and sporadically afterward, but it was weird — for me, anyway. It was like looking at a past version of myself that I wanted to forget.

Fast-forwarding many, many years later to today, I barely talk to Roman. I might get a text from him once a year about something random. But I haven’t seen him in person in about four years.

I wish that things had been different. I know Roman would have been a great friend to have in my life.

I am content where I am now. Thinking about it, though, it still saddens me a bit that the friendship was ruined.

After all, it should have been a normal friendship.

Have you experienced codependency on another friend? Did the friendship end, or did it survive? How did you learn to cope in the fallout?

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