It’s hard. Still. Some days are fine, like when I’m drunk at the baseball game with my friends, or when it is a busy night at work and I have no time to think. Other days are shitty and terrible, and I let my mind wander and start to think: There’s no way he is talking to other girls already, we had such a connection. But then, I am talking to other guys already…and we had such a connection…which means that he is probably talking to other girls already. What the hell!? And then I think- if he called me up, and wanted to get together to talk, would I do it? And then I get this anxious feeling, and start to feel stifled just thinking about it, and then I realize- maybe he is dating other girls, and that is okay with me. And while I like to think that I have a special place in his heart or something like that, the truth is this: when a break-up happens, I am willing to bet that most of the time it is a long time coming, at least on one person’s end. A lot of people say that they were “blindsided” or “totally caught off guard,” but I think that the decision to break up with a long (or long-ish) term partner, means a sort of emotional break-up long before the actual deed.
For instance (and I know my story is somewhat anomalous,) I knew that my relationship was really, truly over about a year ago. It had been rocky from the beginning, but about a year ago I felt completely fed up, and like I had had enough. I felt something snap, and I realized that I could not longer put the same amount, or type of effort into making that relationship work. He drank too much and was unable to communicate with me in a healthy way. These were things that were not going to change, and they were also things that I could not adjust to. Meaning, in a way, they were “dealbreakers.”
So once I realized that I could not continue to be proud of myself as a person and as a girlfriend if I continued to be in that relationship, I began to take the necessary steps to end it: I found my own apartment and moved into it, I told him that I was unable to continue to put effort in, I distanced myself from him physically and emotionally, I began setting up my support system and leaning on them, I began to think like a single person. However, in this particular situation, the harder I pushed away, the harder he tried to keep me. And the thing that is really hard is, when you’re in a relationship with someone who is emotionally abusive and terrible at communicating, and then they start saying sweet things to you and communicating better- you almost can’t help but be sucked in!
So for about a year this went on- I was checked out in a major way, but I still loved him and had love for him. I still talked to him 10 times a day, saw him during all of my free time, thought about him and what was best for him. At the same time, though, I knew that I had reached capacity with my effort level. I would start to dread every day situations, like flat tires or dropped phones or heavy traffic, because having to be sympathetic toward him for those things was even proving to be too much for me. I knew it wasn’t right, but continued to not only passively accept his affection and his gestures, but I also actively continued trying to make it work in certain ways. I wasn’t seeing other guys or anything, but when guys would ask for my number or something I didn’t immediately tell them I had a boyfriend. For the first two years of our relationship, I wouldn’t even think about it. In fact, I would almost feel offended if someone asked me out, and I would immediately say: No, I have a boyfriend. But in the last year, it more just became a coy ‘No,’ or (depending on how cute he was,) ‘I kind of have a boyfriend.’
So when it came time to really end it, it wasn’t a shock to my system in a lot of ways, because I had already adjusted. I think that one person has always adjusted in a way, and that is why breakups can be so confusing. If one person is “blindsided,” and they are super upset and going through all of the usual breakup feelings, and they are wondering why the other person is being so cold, it is because that person has already had plenty of time to adjust in certain ways to life without them. The thing is, is when you’re blindsided, you are actually possibly just ignoring signs of something having gone awry. And that’s okay! Because if you try and look for these things, you’ll end up paranoid and unhappy, taking everything as a sign that you’re about to get dumped. But it is also important to understand that maybe you didn’t get blindsided either, but were simply looking past changes in him, or choosing to ignore them or something- because saying that you “never saw it coming,” undermines your intuition, and will also make you feel shitty later on in relationships, while you spend every good day thinking that the other shoe is about to drop.
What I think is this: there is always a possibility that you are going to get dumped. There is always a possibility that he is, right now, in the process of checking out of the relationship. All of that comes with dating. You either break up, or you stay together forever. So there is a 50% chance of either one of those things happening. So that means that while there is always a possibility that you are about to get dumped, there is also always a possibility that you are about to go to dinner with the person that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. And sometimes he is upset or angry, or he shuts down a little bit because he had a hard day at work, or you guys get into a fight, but at the end of the day you love each other, and you don’t need to spend your time worrying if he is about to break up with you. The problem is- there is a fine line. No one wants to be blindsided, but no one also wants to spend their whole relationship being paranoid that the other person is about to dump them. I think it important to let that want outweigh the want to not be blindsided.
After being in this shitty relationship, what I think is this: a good relationship doesn’t leave you wondering all the time. I mean, like I said- being broken up with is a risk that you’re willing to take when you begin dating. It is important to accept that, and then find someone who won’t constantly remind you of that fact.