Break ups -real, true-love break ups- can be one of the most emotionally devastating experiences in a person’s life. One day you are happy, content, stable, motivated, secure, etc. The next you are a wailing ball of human huddled on your shower floor with a remarkably clear memory for every fantastic moment that you and your ex-significant other ever shared together. In my break up (the one I am still currently wailing about), there wasn’t really a reason for the failure. Just tragic post-university financial circumstances, a distance of 10 hours driving, and a high level of self-motivation in both of us. Circumstances that clearly aren’t conducive to a healthy, lasting, long-distance relationship. I loved him, I still love him, and I probably will love him for a long time. And I have no doubt in my mind that he feels the same. Sometimes things just don’t feel 100% “right” anymore, despite a shared love and deep connection. Ultimately what’s best for both of you might not be what either of you want.
It takes an extremely mature individual to admit that. I must admit that in my breakup, I was not that person. I was the wailing individual prepared to spend a great deal of money, time, and effort to make our relationship last as long as it possibly could. Fully willing to take the thread that remained of our amazing close proximity relationship and hang onto it like my life depended on it. Hanging onto the promise of the relationship that I was sure we could have again if circumstances ever became less tragic.
It takes a solid, confident, remarkable individual to be able hurt the person he loves and break his own heart in hopes of a healthier, happier future. It’s behavior like this that only clarifies my knowledge that he was a man worthy of my love and attention for so long.
All this being said, I think we’ve done breaking up “right”, if there is such a thing. We have a mutual understanding that we are quitting while we are ahead, leaving us with better potential for reconciliation in the future (if “fate” truly exists). Not sure if that makes us mature or naive, but it is what it is.
If you find yourself in a situation similar to the one I have described, then here are a few of my tips for doing a break up as best as it can possibly be done:
1. Use Each Other for Support.
No one knows you, your significant other, or your relationship better then the two of you. You’ve been together through a lot of shit times, good times, and stressful times. You know how the other person handles all of these times. While you might be going your separate ways, it is okay to stay in touch and be there for the other person. There is a lot of advice out there that will tell you to eliminate all traces of that person from your life, but if there is no good reason to (ie. infidelity, irreconcilable differences), then don’t. You gave a huge chunk of your heart to this person, made a heck of a lot of good memories together, and learned a lot about yourself through the relationship. Don’t pretend like it never happened, just use each other and grow from it.
2. Don’t Trash Talk Them to Your Family & Friends.
You dated them for X-number of years/months. Making your ex look like an idiot will really only make you look like an idiot for sticking around so long. If he was a conniving, selfish, lying individual, then the only dumbass here is you for not realizing it sooner. It’s classic bully-logic: putting other people down to feel better about yourself. In reality, it doesn’t help you feel better. Be mature. There were clearly a lot of things you liked about them, and those things are still there even if you aren’t.
3. Don’t Get Wrapped Up in the Blame-Game/Self-Hate/Regret Tornado.
Hindsight is 20/20 right? If only you hadn’t been so jealous, so demanding, put in more effort, blah blah blah… you could have saved the relationship. NO. You did what was most important to you at that point in time and nothing is going to change that. Not even crying into a slice of pizza, or promising your ex that you can change everything about yourself to make the relationship work again. They made mistakes too, no one is perfect (okaaayyy mom). Stop dwelling on your mistakes because chances are, your ex isn’t. Chances are, he/she is remembering all the good times too, and not dwelling on that time that you were a bitch because he was out watching UFC with friends and you were home alone watching YouTube videos on a Friday night (FOMO turns me into the devil). Blaming and hating yourself is only going to make it harder on you. Trust me, it’s hard enough without that shit.
That’s it. Even with these three points, it’s going to suck gigantic dick. The world we live in is not kind to relationships, especially in your early-mid 20’s, where nothing is certain or stable or guaranteed. Most times, love isn’t even enough.
Don’t hate him. You know you don’t.
Don’t hate yourself. You know you fucking rock.
Just hate the universe, and then accept it. Because the universe is an asshole and always will be.