Never, ever, ever, ever, hook two of your friends up with each other.

That cardinal rule of dating and friendship is one that, going forward, I will remember to strictly adhere to 100%. I tried it two times when I was just a young boy in high school and both of those times blew up in my face. But many years ago as a stubborn grown ass man, I decided to try it again and it seemed like I had struck gold. Not only did my boy take to my homegirl, but they actually became a couple, moved in together, got married and had kids. By the “hooking friends up” standard, that is considered a grand slam.

For years, I’ve condescendingly smirked at the “idiots” who bemoaned the precariousness of hooking your friends up, oozing with a self-congratulatory sense of pride stemming from being the exception to the rule. Well, I seemingly forgot that some —hell, most —relationships don’t last forever.

My boy called me a month ago to inform me that he was divorcing my homegirl. My first response is the same one we all collectively experience when we receive news of dissolved relationships:

“Why?! What happened?!”

And even though I’m a grown man who writes frequently about relationships, I was actually unprepared for his answer.

“Nothing man, we just don’t love each other like that anymore,” he said.

It was so succinct and so simple and so straightforward that my initial reaction was to poke holes in his statement. I asked him who cheated on who, if there was any domestic issues, or if one of them came out of the closet as a undercover Philadelphia Eagles fan (which is damn near unacceptable in a New York household). He laughed at each one of my inane inquisitions (interestingly enough, except the last one which actually irritated him, as if finding out she had a McNabb jersey in her dresser was akin to finding a hotel room key in her purse).

He just calmly said, “Bruh, you hooked us up when we were all 24. It’s ten years later and we are really discovering that we’re different people now. We love each other and we definitely love our kids more than anything else in this world. But the romance is dead. We don’t love each other in that way anymore and we actually like being friends.”

Before I could even get the words out, he consciously picked up on what I was going to ask next and said, “Yes, we did try counseling and all that. The truth is we don’t have any problems. We’ve just grown into two different people.”

This absolute level of unrepentant maturity made me immediately uncomfortable. Seriously. So I called up my homegirl and asked her what was going on to get the real story.

“Oh yeah, we’re done as a couple, but I’ll always have love for him though,” she said.

I grilled her with the same questions I hit him with in an attempt to break through the facade to get the scoop, but all she said was, “Lincoln, I wouldn’t be this cordial if I found out he was an undercover Eagles fan this whole damn time.”

But what she left me with before we ended our conversation was one of the most profound things I’ve heard about relationships in a long while.

“I hate explaining this to people because y’all act like every relationship in the world needs to end with animosity. We’ve just fallen out of love as a couple. We once were exactly what we were both looking for and now we’ve grown up, changed and want different things in a partner/marriage that we can’t provide for each other. I mean damn, falling out of love doesn’t make someone an a-hole. Honestly I’m just glad we both came to this realization now, because if we listened to everyone else and tried to just stick through it, we would have probably grown to hate each other.”

Maybe, just maybe, they’re on to something.

The formation of love is typically predicated on cultivating a connection with your significant other, but whose to say what the lifespan of that connection is? Maybe, just maybe, gracefully bowing out of a situation that is irreparably untenable is better than forcing life into something that’s better off defunct.

Maybe we need to rethink how we view love, humanity and relationships as a whole.

Lincoln Anthony Blades is the lead anchor for the All Things Being Equal Network. He can be reached HERE on Twitter and HERE on Facebook.