Remember the good old days back in school, when everything about what passed for romantic relationships – scribbling a name on a notebook or arranging to sit together in the cafeteria, and later, an invitation to the winter formal – was negotiated and influenced by the best friend of the person you had our eye on? It was the best friend to whom you handed the note you wanted delivered. The best friend who moderated the he-said-she-said exchanges, or brokered those tasty rumors about who liked who and which couples were about to break up. Now that you’re a grown up who still writes the name of your love on your notepads, it’s you who has broken up – such a sweet and harmless term for such a painful ordeal – wouldn’t it be great to have that best friend back in the middle, empathizing, delivering, interpreting, filtering and coaching you on what to do next?
It happens. In fact, when it does, good things can manifest. Recruiting a mediator to run interference between you and the one who threw you under the bus can be a brilliant strategy in your campaign to win back the love of your life. The middleman here – gender is not the issue – does not bring your emotional baggage or investment to the table, and they are able to filter venom and the potentially-misunderstood from the messages they are conveying on behalf of the other party.
Such mediation usually takes two forms. In non-marital relationships gone south, a friend of one or both of the wounded is called in to do damage control, usually under the guise or initial charge of providing sympathy. Once that shoulder has been drenched and a mutually-authored agenda of a reconciliation is on the table, this person is now involved, because it is their own contextual understanding of the needs of the players and the suitability of their positions that dictates the odds of success. So choose carefully here, because chances are they are just like you – someone who knows the pain of rejection, as well as the pull of loyalty – and the only thing that makes them more qualified than you to salvage your future is the fact that their heart is in one piece.
The other option here is to hire a professional, which is the default choice in marriages and seriously committed relationships. On the plus side, their own bias and prejudice won’t become a factor, and they’ll dish advice that is both sound and healthy in the long view, rather than the short view you crave. On the downside, they won’t know you the way a mutual friend would – to them you’re a statistic, an archetype – and there’s always that $150 an hour to worry about.
Either way, consider the possibilities of a third wheel placed squarely in the middle of your crashing vehicle. If nothing else, there’s always another shoulder available to cry on, and the best case scenario might end up having both of your names written on it once again.