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Love is not immortal

Updated on August 5, 2017
MartieCoetser profile image

Martie Coetser is a freelance writer from South Africa. She has a keen interest in a variety of topics.

Immage by Salvatore Vuono at
Immage by Salvatore Vuono at

This hub is not about romantic love (éros) but specifically about the love between friends (philia). Of course, lovers are also friends; friendship, like romance, is part of an ideal relationship between lovers.

In modern Greek 'philia’ means friendship - a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, the community, and that special partner in our life. It requires virtue, equality and familiarity. In ancient texts philos denoted a desire or enjoyment of activities between people. It is a general type of love.

Philia is mortal. People can be bosom friends for many years before one or both realizes on a good old rainy day that they are no longer in the comfort zone of a true friendship, but out of it and perhaps unable to free themselves from all those negative feelings one experiences in a dead relationship.

What/who are the major killers of a friendship?

Friendships may die slowly and painful, like certain types of cancer, or naturally without pain as friends outgrown each other. Or it could die suddenly like a person in a fatal car crash.

Some major killers of friendships are:

  • Distance,
  • Absence,
  • Different interests and goals,
  • Shifting of position (especially at work),
  • Developing indifference / losing interest in each other,
  • Interference of a third party,
  • Betrayal.

We can surely add some more killers, the one as devastating as the other.

Distance and Absence

Moving to another town, or even to another country, is a common trend of events. The proverb ‘absence makes the heart grows fonder’ is not always applicable. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is most probably what really happens. Of course, friends may maintain their bonds, but their relationship will have a complete different nature. Memories of this friendship are normally pleasant and able to keep the friendship smouldering in the back of our minds.

A change of interests and goals

Best friends may work together for years towards the achievement of a mutual goal. Once the goal has been achieved, or even sooner when one lost interest, or when a third party interferes, a friendship may die. Good memories of this friendships could be overwhelmed by some painful interactions during the dying process.

A shifting of position

One friend may enter a romantic relationship which allows no room for personal friends. It is, after all, a code of conduct, if not a rule, that friends should not become the fifth wheel of a marriage-cart.

Or the cord of friendship could disconnect when one friend in a working place gets appointed in a senior or completely different position, as people conduct themselves according to the position they hold. The changes in their behavior could become unbearable for the one who 'stays behind'.

Memories of this friendship are often spoiled by bitterness, envy, and for the one who have 'moved on', guilt feelings.


One may offend the other in many ways in a moment of weakness, and the friendship dies a sudden death like a person in a fatal car accident. Betrayal is the most obvious and common killer of relationships. Memories of this friendships are ruined by bitterness.

Developing indifference

All people have one or three obstinate bad habits, such as procrastination, impulsiveness, impetuousness, stubbornness, a tendency to criticize, etc. Friends normally cover for each other - love is blind - until they reach the end of their tolerance. Memories of these friendships are ruined by anger and disgust.

What to do with a dead relationship?

Nothing that is dead should be allowed to spoil our days on this beautiful planet. What is dead always stinks as it goes through the phenomenon of rotting, therefore we bury or burn them as soon as possible to continue with dignity through the process of mourning. Good memories will comfort us, while bad memories will give us the opportunity to come to terms with some more facts of life.

The sooner we realize that this life we are living on planet Earth is a one-time experience and that love is just one of the many mortal aspects of life, the faster we will be able to move on, happy and eager to enjoy or suffer whatever Life has in stock for us.

"Bury it, and allow daisies to grow on it!" is some advice I took to heart many years ago.

Related quotes

  • The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. ~ K. Chesterton
  • Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart. ~ Washington Irving
  • Friendship must never be buried under the weight of misunderstanding.~ Sri Chinmoy
  • We all lose friends.. we lose them in death, to distance and over time. But even though they may be lost, hope is not. The key is to keep them in your heart, and when the time is right, you can pick up the friendship right where you left off. Even the lost find their way home when you leave the light on." ~ Amy Marie Walz
  • We enjoy warmth because we have been cold. We appreciate light because we have been in darkness. By the same token, we can experience joy because we have known sadness. ~ David Weatherford
  • There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. ~ Carl Jung
  • Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts. You have to remember this when you find yourself at the beginning. ~ Sandra Bullock

© Martie Coetser

Published: 2011

Updated: 04 October 2015

© 2011 Martie Coetser


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