Theres no hurt quite like heartbreak, but sometimes, its necessary. Money, sex (or lack thereof), and different ambitions can sometimes put the lid on a relationship.
While theres something to be said for working things out, sometimes, breaking up is the only thing to do.
At the time, it might behard to articulate why itdidnt work out, but theres a reason for the term 20/20 hindsight. Time has a great way of putting it all in perspective.
When you look back on the slips and stumbles that led to your breakup, youll probably see that the signs something wasnt working out were all there.
And if youre anything like me, youll probably feel residual guilt.
Dont beat yourself up. There were reasons why it wasnt working out. Have confidencethat the break was necessary. It really wasnt supposed to be so much work.
Here are the things that showed me it was time to end my relationship:
1. I Was Always Stressed
Like the old saying about a frog in a pot of boiling water,the anxiety crept up so slowly on me that I got used to it over time.
It wasnt until the relationship was over and my heartbreak had healed that the knot in my stomach loosened and the tension in my shoulders uncoiled.
Most likely, the stress came from a combination of issuesthat werent completely about the relationship. In fact, it was probably pretty likely that a lot of stress from my life of my relationship contributed to stress it.
Money was the main one. I wasnt making enough, and he was makingless. Two of my past boyfriendshave been crushed by student debt,whichlimited their imagination for a future.
It was also difficultto scrounge up the savings to do something fun together. Because of that lack of imagination, they werealso probably more likely to spend extra dough on beer.
Money wasnt the only thing hurting those relationships, and I definitely dont believe I should have ended itbecause we didnt have money or my partnerwas in debt.
When it comes to health, though, Im a firmbeliever ineverybody doing whatis best for themselves.
2. We Were No Longer Emotionally Or Physically Intimate
I am anfan of feelings, as thecrybaby tattoo on my thigh would tell you. If I had to describe what kind of man I go for, I would probably use the word weeping in my description.
It surprised even me then, when I broke up with my first boyfriend because a TV show made him sob.
Again, as with all breakups, this wasnt theonlyreason I needed to end things. The truth was, we had been growing apart for quite some time. The distance between us was not only emotional, but physical as well.
Sex definitely shouldnt be the only thing keeping a relationship together. However, physical intimacy is like the lubricant that I think most relationships need. Sex makes arguments seem less significant, and it can wipe away a bad day at work with some tangible, physical feels.
After more than two years together, though, early infatuation had worn off, and wehad stopped having sex. And pretty soon, that meant that we grew farther apart in other ways, and the distance was impossible to close.
So when I looked over at my boyfriends tear-streaked face during the final episode of and yelled at him about how the show was justevil war propaganda, and therefore, he shouldnt be sad? I didntthink that it wasnt OK for him to cry.
I was just angry because I used to understand him, and I no longer did.
3. I Lost Touch With My Friends
That first relationship, the one I was just referring to, isolated me in more than one way. It was the first time I had been seriously involved with a person, and as we got together just after I graduated college, it was a period of enormous transition.
During our first few months together, myfriends were also goingoff to other cities to pursue their dreams. I missed them, of course, but I didnt have the strong urge to meet new people the way I would if I was single. I thought that my boyfriend could meet all of those needs.
I was wrong, though, as I would come to learn.Partners cannot be everything to one another, and its important tohave robustfriendships outside of them. Otherwise, youre placing a lot of burden on the relationship. Under all of that pressure, it was no wonder that things started to crumble.
I could have made new friends, of course, but my boyfriend was reluctant for me to spend time with other people.He was clingier than I was,and I didnt want to hurt him. So I allowed it, even though I knew it was making me unhappy.
If I had listened to myself then, I wouldnt have madeof us so miserable at the end.
4. He Wouldnt Give Me Space
Now that Ive been through a few rough breakups, I think I know that, in a securerelationship, a couple can give one another what each personneeds tofeelwhole in themselves, without relying on the other person.
Of course, I haventbeen in a relationship thats like that yet, but thats what I hear.
When my first relationship was on the rocks, I tried to take a few steps back to breathe and figure out what I really wanted.
My boyfriend said he was OK with a break, but still found a way to be near me: getting off his commuter bus right outside of the library where I would be studying, drinking at the bar where I was going with my friend, and even going so far as to guiltme into bringing him home to my parents for Thanksgiving.
If things were going swimmingly, I wouldnt have needed so much spacein the first place. And Im not sure that things would have lasted even if he granted it.
But the fact that he couldnt even grant a bit of freedom to me? Well, that told me everything.
5. He Projected His Failures On Me
Even as I write these words yearslater,I feelguilty. I feelthe immediate need to backpedal and saythat I dont reallymy ex-boyfriend was a failure that he was successful in all other ways than me.
I want to say, Guys, I swear, I dont mean it! He was good at his job! He probably has gotten a raise and makes more than me now! Heck, he even has a 401(k), and I have zero money in savings, so hell be able to retire one day!
See how I do that? See how I make myself smaller?
That instinct runsdeep with me. The bolder truth is that I amgood at things, but more than one boyfriend have found little ways to disempower me and takeme down.
One boyfriend would always tell me that it washard to make money as a writer. That I could write a book, but it was unlikely that it would get picked up by a major publisher, and even then, I wouldnt make enough to live on.
Healsoworked in publishingso hewould know.
Another boyfriend once cried to me thatwanted to be a writer, and didnt understand why I could do it and he couldnt.
Now, Im lucky enough to know that I just dont have time for that. The moment somebody tried to make more room for their ego by minimizing mine, Ineeded to end my relationship.
Your friends will tell youthat you were built to fly. Your partner should, too.
6. I Wanted MoreWhile He Wanted Less
I can look back at every single one of my breakups whether or not I was the person who initiated it and see that, ultimately, it came down to one of us wanting more than the other could give.
I broke up with my first boyfriend when I was 24 years old because I wanted more of. I wanted to grow as a person. I wanted to make new friends.
Yes, I also wanted to experience more lovers, even if it came with more heartbreak.
As for him, hehad been settled for a while. Its been over three years, and he still works in the same office and lives in the same house. I moved and changed jobs at least seven times before getting out of that city altogether.
Thats not to say that either path is good or bad. Its just what happened. If we had gotten married, it wouldnt have been right.
As a matter of fact, Im pretty sure hes getting married to the next girl he met very soon. And Im perfectly fine with it not being me.
My next boyfriend wanted less of an emotional commitment. Hedidnt want to take trips together and hated saying I love you. We were not moving toward anything and, with the exception of number four, all of the above symptoms had set in.
Both of those boyfriendswere completely different, to the extent that I even feel like I was somebody else when I was withthem.
Thinking about it now, that might be the biggest sign that I needed to end my relationship, but I couldnt have known that at the time.
Because first, I had to find myself.