For the remainder of this post, I will use the term 'breakup' to refer to any act that stalls a relationship's forward progress. A breakup traditionally refers to a severed relationship commitment, but my usage includes people who decide against pursuing further romantic possibilities with potential partners.
Breakups are hard. I remember one particular breakup that left me frankly pathetic. I consoled myself by eating an unhealthy amount of Zebra Cakes. My roommate came home one day to find me laying in a pile of empty boxes and plastic wrappers, enough to make an empty-box-plastic-wrapper snow angel.
"Why?" I asked my roommate.
He closed the door and pretended he hadn't seen me.
As you know from Monday's post, I've been on a lot of dates, but I've rarely been able to form a committed relationship. Sometimes, we decide to remain friends. Sometimes, she decides the relationship won't go anywhere. Sometimes, I decide the relationship won't go anywhere.
It can hurt when you or your partner end a romantic relationship, especially when you've put effort into making things work. In the case of my Zebra Cake breakup, I felt like I'd gone back to square one. I felt like I was stuck in traction. I felt like all the progress I'd made was futile. I felt abandoned, betrayed, and hurt.
I will admit that some breakups are more painful than they have to be, especially when a partner acts cruel or insensitive. However, I really do believe that most breakups are engineered with love in mind.
Some couples may try to make things work, but something keeps them from moving forward at an equal pace. The partners may have different senses of humor. They may have have different life goals. They may have opposing interests or beliefs. Maybe one partner thinks the other is super annoying. Either way, no matter how much people are willing to bend, someone may decide moving forward could be easier with someone else.
If someone doesn't feel equal or loved in a relationship, then it is time for a breakup. Maybe a partner feels they're pulling all the weight in the relationship. Maybe they feel they're not doing enough for the relationship. It doesn't matter, because no matter what you say to your partner when you break up with them, you convey a universal message.
"Look, we're not progressing forward like we should. We need to find people with whom we're more compatible. If we do, then we'll reach our final destination, maybe not together, but with someone else who pulls our same load."
When a girl breaks up with me, I know she's really telling me to find someone who fulfills my relationship needs in ways she can't. She doesn't hate or despise me. She wants me to be as happy as she hopes to be when she finds her equal.
That, my friends, is an act of love.