My girlfriend and I have been together for more than four years. We are both each other's first partner and best friend, but relationship-wise it's not working out. I'm at a different college and we have different goals.
I think that we need to break up, but I can hardly bear the thought of it. We depend on each other a lot emotionally. Frankly, she is the only close friend I've ever had outside my family. I would love to remain friends and leave open the possibility to get together again in the future, because a lot of our issues are circumstantial. But I know being friends after breaking up is often beyond challenging.
It's not really a question of whether or not we should break up--the answer is pretty clear to me. I'm more wondering how to cope and generate the strength to go through with it. I don't want to become an emotional wreck (I am quite emotional for a guy). I'm in my last year of college. School is pretty stressful--would it be best to wait until I finish? Are there any strategies to make this more manageable? Is this something that can be done without becoming overwhelmed?
I know grieving and experiencing sadness are part of the package, that they are necessary for healing. But I just can't convince myself that I'll be able to handle it well.
Posts: 44 | From: California | Registered: Jul 2009
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I'm sorry you've come to this tough decision but I've also got to hand it to you, because it sounds like you've got a good head and good heart about all of this. I know you've pretty much made your mind up about breaking up, but I wanted to say I hear your reasons and think you're making a sound decision. I see how much you respect and care about your partner, which is wonderful; parting on good terms is really quite ideal, but it really doesn't make it any easier...
I am sure you can do it. There have been many before you and many to follow. But, as you said, this is your closest friend by far and four years is a long time, especially when you're still in college. Any break-up can hurt and your first breakup can often feel just devastating, but you do your best to soldier through it and it *does* get better.
As for the actual break-up, I'd meet with her in person if possible or at least do it over the phone/videochat. I'd say what you said here, explaining your reasons, how you're feeling, and your hopes for the future. And it's ok to get emotional because 1) it shows you care about her and how hard it is for you, and 2) that's something she obviously respects and appreciates about you. It's ok to cry, if you feel that coming on; honestly, most of the guys I've been with have visably shed a tear over a hard (and/or really special) moment. It takes a lot of strength to show and share such intense emotions.
As for dealing with the break-up, you do your best to manage, stay busy, reach out to those around you, and just take it day-to-day. I think a friendship with your ex could certainly be in the future, but I'd give each other some time first.
I'd reach out to your family and look into ways/people to connect with more. You are certainly welcome to post here throughout, of course. I'd up your involvement in hobbies, be it working out or playing videogames or reading or volunteering (or something else!) What types of things do you do to relax and have fun? You could also consider starting something new, like joining an intramural team or other group, or something else like getting a part-time job. I would certainly put extra emphasis on your studies and start looking for a job and/or internship now. Distraction and redirecting of energy really is key. Taking time for yourself, allowing yourself to grieve, however you do it, is also important.
As stressful as school may be, I'd not wait because that's another kind of stress and not really even so fair to you or your girlfriend for that matter. However, you can also see what happens after your talk with your girlfriend. She may be feeling the same way or she may suggest others options that sound even better, such as taking a break for these upcoming semesters and seeing how you two feel after graduation. Etc.
Whatever you choose, I *know* you can do it. More users will hopefully post with other suggestions and experiences, too.
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