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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Dealing with a breakup...when you're the one doing the breaking up.

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Author Topic: Dealing with a breakup...when you're the one doing the breaking up.
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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One of our users posted today who was having a tough time getting ready to end a relationship.

I pointed out that so often, we only really hear about how hard it is to be broken up with, and often hear little about the fact that planty of times, it's no less hard to be the person doing the breaking up.

When we are the one moving to change or terminate a relationship, we might be worried about doing someone we care harm or causing them pain, we might be worried about being the bad guy or being hated, we might worry what friends and family will think of us. Too, even if we know a given relationship is no longer right for us, that doesn't mean we won't miss it, or don't wish things had been different. It also doesn't mean we're not scared about breaking up, scared of being single or alone, scared of any number of things.

So, if you need some support as the breakup-er, rather than as the breakup-ee, you can talk it out here. If you have your own stories about being in that position and having a tough time, this is also a good place to share them.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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freddie_1984
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This seems to describe me perfectly. My girlfriend and I have been together for 3 years now. We have an apartment together, a car, and most of our possessions are "ours" instead of mine or hers. We are both a huge part of each others families too. We've been through so much together.

But over the past few months, I've slowly come to realize that while I love her and care for her dearly, she isn't the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I feel as if she could be my best friend for years to come, but not the person I'm looking for in a wife.

What makes it so incredibly difficult is there is nothing really "wrong" with the relationship. We don't fight, there isn't anything she's doing that I can point to and say "this is what's bothering me". There isn't any other girl either. I used to think it was because of this reason or that, which made me feel this way. It took me a while to realize it, but my feelings have simply moved on.

I know I need to tell her this, but I simply can't bring myself to do it. I know she loves me more than anything else in the world, and I hate to have to break her heart. She doesn't have any close friends, and most of her family isn't even in this country. I can't stand the thought of her feeling alone or with no one to turn to. Even though I want her to still be a part of my life, I know that I can't expect her to do so after going through a breakup.

I know it has to happen, but I just can't bring myself to it...

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Heather
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Have you brought up the way you are feeling at all yet?

Breakups in good relationships don't have to be an all-at-once thing, and tend to be better if they aren't. Ideally, we want to be communicating well with partners throughout a relationship, which includes bringing up feelings of conflict or concerns that a relationship is right for us so both people can talk about them. In other words, ideally we're saying these things before we're heading out the door at the same time.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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freddie_1984
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What you say makes sense, but I honestly have no idea how to approach this in any way that won't end in disaster immediately. I'm normally the kind of person who will always let someone know what I'm feeling, but I'm just so worried about hurting her that I don't know what to say or how to say it. I mean I can't imagine saying out of nowhere "I've been worried lately that we're just not meant for each other". Knowing my girlfriend, she will break down in tears and will be crushed for months.

The other part is that our relationship is going well for the most part, and there is so much that looks good on paper. I'm worried that I'm making a bad decision, and if I wait it out and try harder, I will come to realize that I should stay with this girl. But then again I've been "trying harder" for a couple months now, and my opinion hasn't seemed to change. It has gotten to the point that I can't even bring myself to have sex with her. She's extremely attractive, but it is starting to feel uncomfortable for me to be physical with her.

With all this, it seems that the writing is on the wall, but I am so worried that I'm making a rush decision. She's such a wonderful person...

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Pasitea
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Hi Freddie, I'm going through a break-up much like the one you want to make, my ex-boyfriend and I were together for almost a year and a half until April 10th.

I must say, your posts made me cry because they made me understand what my ex-bf must have endured while he tried to break up with me.

We didn't really have any major problems in our relationship until recently, he had become more and more insensitive and he had issues with the physical aspects of our relationship too. It had gotten so bad that the day before the break-up he couldn't even kiss me.

So, he came clean, he said he couldn't be with me because he loved me like his best friend but he wasn't in love anymore. And though I still love him very much (I'm still in love with him too), that's just the way things are.

However, what truly hurt me was that he lied to me. He said he wanted to be sure before telling me how he felt, but still, I wish he'd had told me his feelings before the break-up, that he hadn't lied when I asked him if he was (still) in love with me.

We agreed to remain friends, after all we do like each other and we like hanging out together, but I know I won't be able to feel better about the whole thing if I don't continue not seeing him for at least another week.

Anyways, in regards to your situation, you should tell your girlfriend how you are feeling. You say she's a wonderful person, and if that's the case, you shouldn't make her continue thinking that everything's okay. You have to tell her the truth, she deserves to know, and, trust me, the later you do it the worse she'll feel afterwards.

If you still care and love her (like your posts say) you have to set her free, give her the opportunity to find someone who'll love her as much as she loves you now.

It'll be hard, that's true, but you never know, maybe she'll end up having a wonderful future or maybe you'll get back together eventually, if it's meant to be in the long run, it'll be. Sorry for the long post, hope I was able to help a little.

[ 04-21-2009, 08:28 PM: Message edited by: Pasitea ]

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"Young people would be a lot happier (and not messed up) if they truly knew their own selves: mentally, spiritually and physically."

"I respect everyone's right to be different and to think differently :P"

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Silverwing
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Omg Heather your post made me cry. It's so true. I feel so much better thinking that I'm not the only one experiencing those feelings. But I can't stop feeling like I need to cling on to the good memories. I feel guilty for wanting to heal. I don't know why. I just feel like if I don't cling on to the good memories I'm being disrespectful of the person that loved me. Somehow I feel like I've let that love down (even if that love no longer exists). And I always worry how the other person might be coping, but how do I find out without becoming a stalker or pestering them all the time? I know it's for the best but I can't help but be scared that I'll never find anyone like him again, even though things are not working out the way they are right now.
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shainamaydel
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Wow, this is like reading my own story. I just broke up with my boyfriend three weeks ago...

We'd been together almost a year and a half, survived a 4.5 month separation when i studied abroad, and were getting along great. I always had fun when i was with him, and i loved the physical closeness we had. However. sometime in the past few months, I started feeling a disconnect when he would talk about the future, about his feelings for me, etc. My sex drive dropped. My interest in talking about the future went away. At one point in our relationship I'd thought ahead to getting a dog together, living together, etc. But just a few months ago, i realized, it just wasn't going to happen. we were just too different in a few fundamental ways, such that even though on the surface he's the PERFECT guy for me, he's not the one i want in the long run.

i was planning to hold off on the break-up until he got a job--he has SEVERE self-confidence issues, and i knew that breaking up with him would completely crush him. but it just got to a point where i couldn't lie anymore when he asked me flat out "will we be together after graduation?" and "do you even want to be with me?" so i did it. I told him that he was my best friend, but that I didn't love him like i *should* anymore. and it crushed him. he didn't eat for three days. he still has severe bouts of depression. I got him to see a therapist, but his time with her is limited. We still talk every day...

It was and is really hard for him to understand that there was not *ONE* thing that he did wrong. nothing he could change, nothing he could have done differently, nothing that made me mad. My feelings just faded away, and I wish they hadn't because now I'M lonely and blue too.

Overall, i'm fine. I knew it was coming, i was planning it. I am ready to move on to my life after college, i am ready to actually date and such for once. I will always feel tremendous guilt for hurting him so much though, even though I know it was right for me at this point.

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IttyBittyPrettyOne
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When I was younger, I always thought breaking up would be easy. If you weren't completely sure about it, and if you didn't have a solid reason, why would you do it? That was before I learned that life isn't all black and white...

Three weeks ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of 2 years. It was basically the same situation as those of you who have already posted here: the only thing inherently "wrong" with our relationship was the fact that I wasn't in love with him. We got along well, we enjoyed each other's company, we respected each other, etc, etc. I couldn't have asked for a better relationship with him. He is my best friend, and my life is better because he is in it. But I wasn't in love with him, and I know he loved me on a much deeper, more passionate level than I loved him, so I decided to break it off. I knew that the longer I waited, the worse it would be, and I know he and I deserve the chance to both fully love and fully be loved by someone.

But, three weeks going on four after I broke up with him, I'm still a mess. In some small ways, I feel liberated, but mostly, I feel lonely and down. I can't believe how emotionally crippling this break up has been, especially since breaking up was my decision in the first place.

Worst of all, I'm second guessing myself. Rationally, I know why I did it, but emotionally I'm almost convinced I made the wrong decision. Is my conception of love romanticized and unrealistic? Was a lack of feelings of infatuation enough for me to say I didn't love him in the right way? Did my depression influence my decision to break up, or did it keep me from loving him as fully as I could have if I weren't depressed? I've been wrestling with these questions for a long time now, and while I know that nobody else can answer them for me, I can't seem to come closer to any answers myself, either.

When we broke up we agreed we should be in minimal contact with each other for a while, and since we broke up we've only exchanged a few emails. But each day is a struggle not to contact him and say, "I miss you and I want you in my life. Please forgive me for undervaluing what we had." I know my judgment is compromised, but since we've broken up all I've wanted is to be back with him.

Does anyone have any advice on dealing with this kind of break up? I'm sure it will take time before I feel better about it, but in the meantime I would appreciate any suggestions for coping...

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Heather
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What I'm hearing in what you're describing was a decision you made clearly out of love and care for you both, as well as solid emotional honesty. You knew you didn't share the same kind or level of feelings he did, and that he'd want that. You did what you did both to help him hurt less long term, and potentially better find what he wants with someone who does share those feelings, as well as to serve your own needs in not staying in something you just were not feeling.

This is all good stuff, even though it can obviously be painful and a real bummer for everyone.

It also sounds like you might be missing your friend more than anything: missing having this person as your friend. Does that seem on target?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cesario
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quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
Have you brought up the way you are feeling at all yet?

Breakups in good relationships don't have to be an all-at-once thing, and tend to be better if they aren't. Ideally, we want to be communicating well with partners throughout a relationship, which includes bringing up feelings of conflict or concerns that a relationship is right for us so both people can talk about them. In other words, ideally we're saying these things before we're heading out the door at the same time.

One thing I might want to add is that a lot of the time, it isn't just that a person will be holding back from saying these things to the other people in the relationship, but that the person might be having a hard time admitting them to themselves.

For people in that situation, by the time they're ready to admit to themselves that something is wrong, the decision may be made.

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IttyBittyPrettyOne
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I'd say that's most of what's hurting the worst. I've never been closer with anyone in my life than I was with him, and having him almost entirely cut out of my life has been hell. We've been exchanging emails, but for the sake of actually breaking up and growing apart from each other we're keeping our communication limited to that until we've gotten over breaking up enough to feel comfortable talking as friends instead of a newly severed couple.

I miss doing random things with him, I miss talking and laughing with him, I miss cuddling with him, I even miss his town and his family... I miss what little we had of a physical relationship, too. We used to make out and strip down to our underwear, but we never had any kind of genital sexual contact because, I'm sorry to say, we just never reached that level of comfort with our own bodies and with each other. We drew closer and closer to it over the course of the two years, but never quite made it there... I can't count the number of nights we spent talking about sex, our bodies, and our feelings about sex. I wish we had had engaged in more intense sexual activities; I know sex with him would have been a positive experience if we would have gotten to that point (and we would have, given more time). But maybe the fact that we never felt comfortable enough for any genital sexual contact is a sign that our relationship as romantic partners was flawed in the first place?

He's all I've been thinking about since we broke up, and all I want is to get back together. But I know that can't happen until I've done some serious growing and some serious reevaluation of my feelings and desires. Coping with this has been one of the most taxing emotional experiences of my life, and if there's a better way to go about it, I'd like to do it.

For me, "coping," thus far, has basically entailed trying to keep up with homework, spending more time with my friends, and going home from college more often. Rationally, I know I should be focusing on myself and the things that make me happy, but I've been so bogged down with homework and my emotions that doing that has been next to impossible. I'm sure the depression isn't helping my situation, either. I'm being treated, but I haven't seen results yet. In a lot of ways it seems like all I can do is wait and keep communicating with him throughout the aftermath of breaking up...

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Heather
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I'm so sorry you're having such a terribly rough time of this. Given, it is still very fresh, but all the same, that doesn't make it hurt any less, or make it feel any more okay to be hurting so much.

Are you talking to people in your support circle about this: friends, family?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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skylark
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I am currently out of the US on a foreign exchange, taking a sabbatical from my long distance boyfriend of a year (in college in a different state). Though there is still the possibility (but no promise) of getting back together at the end of these five months,it hurt badly to have to be the one asking for a break. I can definitely empathize with those of you struggling to make a break: its tough to keep talking when you can see that each word is causing pain, even if you know that it will be for the best in the long run. Its hard to hurt someone when they have been so good to you and really haven't done anything wrong.

I have been happier and less stressed here, out of the US college prep grind, than I have been in years. Missing him comes in floods: Most of the time I'll be fine, and then all of a sudden I'll be wallowing in sentimentality, or crying over how easy it was to relax and be loved. I don't know what to think anymore when I look in the mirror: sometimes I'm proud of myself for loosing the weight that I've lost and feel beautiful, sometimes I think I'm disgusting. I've been getting better, but I'm realizing how much it helped to have someone to tell and show me that he thought I was attractive.

We haven't had that much contact since I left three months ago. That's my fault, and its partially because I don't want to deal with still being in love when I'm trying to figure out who I am in a new place, and maybe date a bit. Part of it too is that I miss being able to tell him everything, without a filter, and I can't really do that anymore, as my life here has been crushing on boys.

I still have no idea what I want to do when I get back. I love him and care for him deeply, but he is convinced he wants to be with me for the rest of his life, and I'm just not there yet. I know that in order to make that kind of decision, I will need to spend more time alone, and some time exploring myself in the context of other relationships. I am fairly certain I will break up with him for good (or at least for a long while) when I go away to college in a year or so. He knows I feel that way, and yet he still wants all the time he can get. He thinks there is the possibility that I'll change my mind. I know he is and will be okay without me, but I hate that I am the less committed one, that I have to be the one sets the limits and calls it off. It feels to unfair to him, and to me. So I suppose we'll see.

Good luck everyone! I have faith that everything will turn out for the best for all of us, even though the road there might hurt like hell. Thank you for being honest, caring and sensitive human beings.

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