5 things I learned from ending a long-term relationship in my 20’s
Did it ever happen to you to feel stuck in a long-term relationship?
You’d like to break up but there were no “real” reasons to do so, like he/she didn’t cheat on you or beat you, for example.
Actually, your partner is nice, but there’s something missing. That spark you had when you first met? It’s long gone. The honey moon phase is over. Now, you see how your partner is in the real life and it’s bothering you.
You’re telling yourself: “if only he/she could be like this and do this and act like that…”
You’re not asking any big changes, right? Just some tweaks here and there.
And when you bring the subject to the table, it always ends in a fight with no call-to-action. You both forget about that fight. Time passes. The routine settles in. And then another fight happens and still no call-to-action. And it goes on and on and on and on until one of you decide that you have enough of this vicious circle.
It happened to me few years ago
Here’s my story…
It was my longest relationship. Nearly 5 years. I dated a guy from my Engineering school from April 2008 to October 2012.
We had our ups and downs like every couple. Although in the end there were more downs than ups.
I could’ve break up with him earlier but let’s admit it… I was a coward. I was trapped in a vicious circle. The more I was waiting to make a decision the more I felt stuck with him.
Breaking up with him after almost 5 years was insane for me at that time because:
- I invested so much time and effort in this relationship… I couldn’t see myself going through the same thing again with someone else. It was better for me to stick with him because at least I knew him;
- I was more “comfortable” being unhappy in a relationship than facing myself being unhappy alone;
- I had this illusion that without him there would be no future for me. As if the life was ending if I ever had to break up with him.
What a fool I was…
When I decided to break up with him, I remembered it was an ordinary day. A Saturday, to be precise.
I went to the gym in the morning then we had lunch together, went to the “salon du chocolat”, went to a motorbike shop, drank a beer in a pub and went to the cinema at night.
On our way back home he got angry. I was in shock. I didn’t understand why he was angry. I started to cry, and was expecting him to comfort me, giving me a hug or something…
..but nothing happened.
He just stared at me, waiting for me to calm down as if I was a stranger to him. All he said was “are you done? Let’s go!”
I remember telling myself:
How could I possibly be with such an insensitive jerk?
It was clear to me that I was just a pain in the ass for him, so why is he still with me? And why am I still with him?
That night I went back in my flat crying like a baby. I was inconsolable. Then, the next morning, he called me to apologize.
“Apologize for what?” — I replied.
But he didn’t know what for.
So, without thinking I decided that I was done with him. I was mad and sad at the same time but I knew I had made the right decision.
The next day, I went to work with big eyes as if someone punched me in my face. My Director called me in his office. I thought he would tell me that I arrived late (again). Instead of this, he announced that my manager died this weekend.
I went back to my office, in shock. Then, suddenly, I cried. A lot.
Only this time, there was someone to comfort me.
That day, I felt ashamed of myself for crying because of a jerk who didn’t give a damn about me when someone who really cared suddenly died of a cancer at 32 years old.
My lessons learned
4 years later, I’m thankful for this relationship because I learned that:
- Being alone is not that big of a deal. And actually it’s better to be alone than with someone who doesn’t give a shit about you — except when you’re gone;
- If a relationship brings more negativity than positivity in your life, it’s better to say goodbye to it;
- Life is too short to stay stuck in a relationship where you clearly don’t belong anymore;
- Breakups are painful at first but it’s not the end of the world. One day, you’ll laugh about it and that’s when you’ll know you have moved on;
- If “he/she is nice” is the only reason why you’re staying with your partner, you better end up your relationship now.