With every new year comes a pile of new questions:
Should I keep slogging away at a job I don’t love?
Will my relationship bring me joy again?, and maybe,
Is it time for me to talk away from the person I once called my special person?
One of the biggest misunderstandings about a breakup, is that the instigator of the breakup suffers far less than the person they broke it off with.
The truth is, there are so many factors that can impact how someone deals with a breakup, regardless of what side of the breakup you are on. And just because you’re the one who decided it was time to end things doesn’t mean you won’t struggle with feelings of sadness, grief, regret and guilt.
As friends and family rush to the aid of the broken hearted, the person who pulled the plug is often left in the cold. Why? Because everyone assumes they aren’t hurting as much.
No-one wakes up one morning and says to themselves, ‘today, I am going to fall in love, and I hope it doesn’t last’. Everyone is hurting in their own way, and I mean, everyone.
Ending something that is hurting people, needs to end. Breaking up with someone is painful, and takes bravery. But somehow, that bravery is mistaken as apathy and carelessness when you’re the one choosing to part ways.
This is so not the case.
Being in love, I always say, is a magical experience. It doesn’t just happen. We cling to that love because it makes us feel like we belong. We feel the surge of excitement as Sunday mornings are no longer spent alone. We feel safe when we put the key in the door and someone is waiting for us. But there is absolutely no guarantee when it comes to the human heart. I know I am saying the starkly obvious, but people change. Being in love is not an obligation. But providing for your children is. And there is nothing more harrowing than seeing the credits roll on your very own love story.
But even if you are the one wanting to step away, I know you are hurting too. You are probably feeling the burden of guilt. Possibly, you are getting the cold shoulder from family and friends for breaking someone’s heart. But your heart is sore too.
So, here is what I am going to ask you?
How long are you prepared to sit on the naughty step?
How long will you be treated like the villain when in fact, you set two people free to live a happier and more hopeful life?
And when, are you going to value your choices, and not see them as punishment on others?
Because you didn’t punish anyone.
Believing in happiness is the bravest, and kindest act of love there is. For you and your partner.
But honestly, grieving happens way before the ‘end’. Some grieve for months, and even years, before they find the courage to break the partnership and have likely wrestled with the decision for a long time. Then came the day when you felt that you couldn’t wait any longer. Maybe you talked yourself out of it. Or maybe your ex at the time talked you out of it during that moment when you tried to break up with him/her. So you waited a little longer, and negotiated with your needs.
But the dread didn’t go away, and the relationship couldn’t heal. So, you finally, painstakingly, went through with it.
You initiated the breakup. You initiated not the end, but a beginning for all of you. I’ve always believed, aside from the rarest occasion of absolutely blind sightedness, that if you felt it, they felt it too.
Grieve my friend. I have you.