How to Break Up With Someone You Love

 

I have thought about writing this post for over a year, and I only just ended my long-term relationship in January. I knew it would be an important post for me to write, and that I would have to be fairly personal to write it, and of course respectful of my former partner.

When you know deep in your heart that your relationship is holding you back, yet you still love the person, it can lead to some drastic sacrifices – meaning, you can completely lose who you are. For me, my passion was fading. I became an anxious person. I took on traits of my partner. I repressed myself, much, much more than I had realized, and when you repress yourself for too long, you will eventually explode.

And I did – I got to a point where the true, fiery nimbus came out – she BURST out, cackling (rather psychotically), not letting anything get in her way. However, that pull-back was still there, to be mindful of the other, despite the weight upon my soul.

Have you ever been in this situation? It was rather new to me, I have always been the person to work hard (not that I didn’t this time – I did, believe me), to stick with it, and be heartbroken. To hurt another was rather foreign to me, and I was terrified. It absolutely gutted me, but it was so necessary to my well-being. I did not stop loving who I was with, but the love morphed into a platonic love, and it was not fair to me, or to him, to continue.

I struggled with this decision for almost 2 years. I justified staying for so many reasons – my partner had lots of good traits, but over time, the bad ones just clashed with me so much that I was quite literally losing my mind, turning into a person I did not recognize, almost worse than me in the past – the unhealthy, depressed, anxious cynic – now phony, irritable, lashing out, lying…so unlike me it was insane, and when it got to the point where I was being dishonest, I had to get out, immediately, because it was not who I am. I have always prided myself on honesty and I always refused to be fake – I am no good at it anyway. It was obvious I was going to leave, though I ignored my own needs and was eventually a brutal, horrible girlfriend – me leaving was really best for us both.

So over the last 2 years of grappling with my feelings, here is what I have learned. Some people might have an easy time letting go, and I’m not one of them. If I have loved someone, I care for them forever! To part is not easy for me.

~

Realize you do not need to BE with someone to love them.

This is something I discovered via questioning my beliefs – in the past, when someone I loved left to go back to where he lived in LA, I questioned the belief: ‘But I love him, I have to be with him!‘ And to turn that around, to “I don’t need to be with him to love him” was very powerful. It still works when you are the one doing the leaving. The other person may not believe you, but they don’t have to. YOU know it. Reiterate it to them. It seems cliche and phony, but if you are sincere, hopefully it will come across, even if they can’t see it immediately.

Be selfish.

There is so much flack out there about being selfish. Everyone seems to have an opinion about other people’s relationships, what they should do, who they should be with, why they should stay or leave, what is acceptable and what is not, what is a deal-breaker, and what should be supported. But really, how can you be a good partner if you are miserable? You can’t, to anyone. If you are like I was, you could be so miserable that you don’t even like yourself – then how could anyone else? To be happy with others, you need to be happy with you, so you need to make sure your relationships are good ones. Of course, relationships take work, but there is only so much you can do when things are not right – you can’t force it. When it’s forced it feels gross. Make yourself happy. Give yourself what you need, especially if your partner will not, or cannot, give it to you.

Be empathetic

If you are a normal person, you will probably know how horrible it feels to have someone leave you. Do it with the UTMOST compassion, regardless if they have been a shithead to you, or an angel. Even wonderful people can be wrong for you, and even shitheads can have broken hearts. Be as kind as you can.

Be Open

At least listen to everything they have to say. You don’t have to agree or respond, but listen to them. They at least should have the opportunity to say what they feel. If you feel threatened or attacked, retreat.

Be Accepting of their reaction

They may beg you for another chance, they may threaten suicide or a number of things, they may hurl insults at you or be in utter agony. They might surprise you and agree! They might be completely cold and not even look at you. Whatever they do, it might not be what you are prepared for, so be prepared for anything.

Be adamant/firm – with them AND yourself.

No matter how much they beg or threaten, do not falter. It’s difficult but in order for you BOTH to move forward, it is imperative that you cut the cord completely. Emotional manipulation is not cool, and what that person decides to do after you leave is their business, not yours. Their problem, not yours.

Be SURE.

Don’t do what I did – I tried leaving several times. The first few times, I changed my mind the next day. I felt horrible for hurting him, and when I was 100% sure I wanted to leave, I had to be damn strong in order to do so. Don’t hurt them more than you have to. It’s hard to leave that comfort zone. If you’re not ready, don’t do it. But when you do decide, make sure it’s for real, or you are likely to keep hurting them, and if you love them, why would you want to prolong the agony?
Be positive. Question everything. Put YOU first. If you aren’t happy you will take it out on your partner, and then nobody is happy.

Be direct

I wanted to cop out so many times and just write a note and leave it at his place. I wanted to do it over the phone. I wanted to send a text (better than a post-it). I wanted to get someone ELSE to do it (that happened to me when I was 15, no fun). I knew none of these were acceptable, especially for a long-term situation, or an adult.
It sucks, but do it in person (if you can – I was once involved with someone overseas so I couldn’t exactly do that when I ended our relationship – so pick the next best option). Write a letter if you have to, but at least give it to them in person and stay while they read it, or discuss it – I did this, even though it was refused, and then I had a lead into what was going to happen.

Have support/Expect Criticism

The person doing the leaving doesn’t seem to get much sympathy, at least not in the open. The person being left (I hate the word dumped, especially in a loving situation – you never DUMP someone you still care for – you leave the situation – that person is not garbage – can we nix this term?) tends to get the sympathy. If you have mutual friends, some may take the other person’s side, some may take yours, and some may take neither. If some side with your ex, let them. Don’t expect all the support for yourself – your ex needs people on their side, too (but don’t put up with any nastiness from anyone! it will show you who your friends are, at least).

After I left, I had to replace certain habits with others (as in, instead of chatting with him several times a day, I’d call my mom to talk instead).

Everyone surprised me and respected my decision. Everyone understood. Seek out the people who will do the same for you. If no one will, get better friends.

Keep a distance

This may be tough if you still want them in your life, but as someone who is friends/on good terms with every single person I’ve ever dated (except the last, unfortunately), I know that sometimes it can take years to reconnect, but if your partner really does love you and miss you, they will want you in their life regardless. But give it time – you both need to heal. You need to re-balance, they need to mourn (and so might you). You need to reconnect with yourself and feel as strong and dynamic as you can before you venture forth again with someone new.

Mourn

Let yourself be as miserable as you need. When I tried leaving the first few times, I felt like I had been dumped. I made lists and tried to find reasons to stay because the severing felt too abrupt, too harsh, and I hadn’t really made my concrete decision – I still loved him in a romantic way.
When I did finally leave for real, I just let guilt and sorrow overtake me. I dealt with the images playing over and over in my head. I wrote it out. I bawled. I talked to my friends and cried to them. I let people at work know that I was sad for a reason, but I still managed to get through it. Take time off if you have to, no one needs details.

Get away

If you can afford it, get away. I was lucky that my trip away coincided with my split, but I also made sure it happened before I went away – this was because I knew that I had to end things, and that going away would help me compose myself. It would also distract me and challenge me, plus the healing of the sun, cheap daily massage, and heavenly fruit was nourishing, and I damn well needed it.
If you can’t afford to go away, at least have a media cleanse and make your home a retreat for a weekend, as much as you can in your circumstances.

Write

This has been a necessary thing for me my entire life – it got me through my teenage years without succumbing to heinous things like drugs or booze, especially since I was a loner and didn’t have anyone to confide in. Journaling did well enough.
Also, this is KEY to figuring out patterns. I write so much of my life down that to look back and see how often I wanted to leave my partner, and that I was writing about how boring my life had gotten – I could see my gradual decline over the years. It can be illuminating and humbling, the best sort of counsel.

Channel your love elsewhere – to yourself, your pets, your friends.

If you feel like you have no one to lavish attention on anymore, seriously, give it to YOURSELF. I have felt like this in the past when I’ve been heartbroken – and I spoiled the HELL out of my dog, I focused on the love of my friends, and I really spent effort on myself. Often when I feel like crap (especially after I left my ex), I felt so badly about myself that I said “WHY BOTHER?” and wanted to binge on shitty food, be a schlub, and physically destroy myself, when really, times like this are when you MOST need to treat yourself WELL. You should NOT feel guilty for doing what you need to do, so CELEBRATE yourself for being strong, and when you treat yourself with love, even when you don’t feel like it, your brain will catch up pretty quickly and remember that you are indeed awesome.

Don’t believe in forever – believe in right now.

I used to believe in this, because it is what we are told our whole lives. I never think this way anymore. It is idealistic and focuses on the future, when all we have is right now. I love you right now. Isn’t that what matters? Why do you need to know I will love you in two years? If I don’t, will you not love me now? It’s a foolish way of thinking and takes away from really living.

Falling out of love does not negate what you had with someone. I still have fond feelings for many people in my past, and never feel like I wasted my time knowing them and loving them. So many relationships end – but don’t we learn from them all?

In fact, I am glad of all the heartbreak I’ve had, because it formed me into a better person, a better lover, and much more present and mindful of my behaviour in relationships. It made me more open to seeing the other person’s possible perspectives, more empathetic and definitely more loving.

So please, do what you need for yourself. Your partner will live, and you can still love them, even if they won’t accept it without the relationship. You can love them so hard. Too bad if they don’t like it.

 

Highly Recommended Reading:

I Need Your Love – Is That True? – Byron Katie

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116 thoughts on “How to Break Up With Someone You Love

  1. I appreciate this post so much because this is exactly what I’m going through right now. I just broke up with my boyfriend of 4 years. The relationship was kind of a roller coaster. It would be good for while then bad then good and then bad till it got to the point where I knew this is not how I could live the rest of my life.

    Within the last year of the relationship he made it clear that he wanted to be with me forever and get married. We live together which makes it so much harder and he is currently looking for his own place, so I’ve been spending the majority of my time at my friends or parents house because he has no family in town and it’s not like I’m kicking him out. I still love him. I told him I didn’t feel like this relationship was making me a better person. We even went to counseling because like you, I tried ending it a couple times earlier on but, went back after he pleaded and promised things could get better.

    He is so heart broken, which is the worst part because it hurts me so much to see him like this. Of course it’s the same story again with him saying he knows what he needs to do to change things but, it’s too late and I know deep inside it isn’t true. This is the right and final decision and I need to focus on that.

    I’ll probably be having to read this everyday to help keep myself strong because you are right, you don’t have to be with someone in order to love them 😦

    • I’m glad this has helped you. Like I mention in the post, I thought about writing this post for about a year before I actually left – I knew one day I would write it, and I hoped that it would be extremely helpful and popular, as there is not a lot out there for the people leaving. The person who does the leaving doesn’t get a lot of sympathy, generally, and it helps to know there are people out there who are hurting from LEAVING, too, let alone being left.

      I do not regret leaving, though, never, not one bit, it is the 2nd best decision I have ever made.

    • then why u all girls make fake promises and make guy’s life worst.. bcz at the end u moved on and making him suffer.. ur comfort level increases within time of ur relnship.. as time goes ur love also disappear.. u fool.. after 4 years you came to know that u can’t live with him. u don’t deserve to be loved by any other man.

      • LOL.

        Okay, first of all, “u all girls” is silly. This is a completely immature attitude. Not all women are alike, and not all men are alike. Not all relationships will be successful, even if people have been together forever! People change, people are on their best behaviour the first year or two, and then you can see who someone really is. This is the honeymoon period, my friend, and it is not a new phenomenon. It’s nothing to do with “u girls.” Blaming women for your issues is ridiculous – you have clearly just not found the right person for you. Be the person you want to find.
        Your comfort level will increase with someone IF THEY ARE RIGHT FOR YOU. It takes time to figure this out and not everyone is brave enough to end something because they fear hurting the other person.

        You know how many people have broken my heart? Do I whine and blame all men for this? No. But later in life here I am, KNOWING that these relationships were not meant to be, because they just weren’t right! Does that mean those people don’t deserve love? NO. It means they deserve someone who is right for them, and it wasn’t me. Do I hate them? Nope. I’m actually on good terms with ALL OF MY EXES, including the one I wrote about in this blog post, even though we are not “friends” we have made peace.

        Actually, *I* suffered in the relationship, and therefore I left. Would it make more sense for me to stay and suffer forever, or leave and make him suffer temporarily? Wouldn’t it be better to leave someone you no longer are in love with to make room for someone to come into their life who DOES?

        Time to get a more mature perspective, Rahul, you are clearly young and need experience. You will never understand until you experience it yourself – I didn’t.

        And guess what, I am now in the best relationship of my life and am loved more than I ever have been. So nyah (my turn to be immature).

    • I had battled with exactly the same problem for over two years. I came across your article in January of this year and knew I had to end it. We broke up February 28, 2014, and watching his heart break was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. However, it had to be done. Thank you for posting this article. I’m not sure I would have been able to do it if you hadn’t put it in such perfect wording. This helped more than you know and now both my ex and me are happier than we ever were together. It just took the initial pain to bring about happiness.

    • me and my partner are almost on verge of separation. she says she has taken a decision to end this 4 year relation and we can not be together anymore, but we still could be friends…how would i hide my feelings when i see her?? I feel devastated and dejected and heart broken please suggest me what to do??

      • Well, this isn’t a post or advice on how to keep someone from leaving you. If she wants to end it she has her reasons. Like in almost all my responses, I suggest reading “I Need Your Love – Is it True?” by Byron Katie (or her other book, Loving What Is.)

  2. Sorry I didn’t post my name .. But would you please to listen to my story and give me some advice ….

    I’m desperate for and advice from a experienced person as I don’t have any friends who are well experienced in love .,, pls contact me at the email that I’ve stated

    Thank you

    • I don’t know what sort of advice I could give you that I haven’t already outlined in the post – I am hardly experienced, this is really the only time I have broken someone’s heart. It’s not something I WANT to be experienced at. Please share your story here and maybe I can give advice, or anyone else reading can, too.

  3. Nice write up, really helpful. Can you please help with some advice? I was engaged two years ago with the a guy I don’t really really like, but I started to develop feelings for later on. Unfortunately somewhere in the beginning of this year I met the man of my dreams. It has bn smooth throughout not until recently when things started to change. Am really clueless and I soo much like him because he is all I ever wanted and he makes me happy despite the hard times recently.

    • I recommend reading “I Need Your Love – Is it True?” by Byron Katie. I also think that you should be with the person of your dreams. No one is perfect, but I believe you should be happy with your partner like 80-90% of the time, or why bother?

  4. Your words of experience have touched me so much I am literally a teary mess right now, these encounters through the digital age seem to me to be no coincidence. thank you for sharing! I am currently spending a 2 week break from my partner to try to clarify the feelings that I am going through. I am conflicted between wanting to be with my partner and wanting to be alone. There are days where I am certain that I should end the relationship, but we have been together for 13 years, 10 spent living together, and she is a loyal, loving and wonderful person. But I am at a crossroads. Relationships evolve over time, the honeymoon period ends, the friendship takes precedence, and before long you start taking each other for granted. Our life together seems to be a union of separation – gotta love the paradoxes in life! (until you are confronted by their reality) I know that the best way for me is to exit our relationship, but I still care so much for her that the whole process of delivering her pain is sooo hard. I have only had a few other relationships in my life, and I am of similar feeling that once I have loved someone, that love lasts forever. Coming to grips with the fact that love will have to survive from afar is the difficulty each time, coupled with the possibility that it is not understood. For me lies the decision of which foot to next put forward, there is so much advice from close friends and family and of course online, but one much search their own feelings in order to feel that the decision is right for them. Love is the answer, first and foremost is love of thy self. Thankyou for helping me to shed a little more light on the person that I am. As the future is so uncertain, its nice to take comfort in the solace of now….

    • I’m so so glad that this helped you. I also highly recommend reading “I Need Your Love – Is it True?” by Byron Katie – you can question your beliefs on wanting to leave OR for wanting to stay. It’s been one of the most helpful books of my life.

      Thank you for your comment, it means a lot to me to know that this article is helping people. It’s my #1 popular post.

    • staying with someone you love? of course, but this post is about leaving someone when they are bad for you. For instance, I knew for almost the entire relationship I was in that it was not good for me, but because I loved him, I talked myself into staying, sticking it out, etc – and over time it changed me into someone I did not like. I’m not willing to give up my life and become a shell of who I am just to be with someone or not to hurt them – that’s not living. That also blocks you from finding someone wonderful, someone who compliments you and helps you become an even BETTER version of yourself, and it also blocks THEM from finding someone who is better suited to them as well. There are billions of people, and there are many who could make us happy – so why settle for someone who makes us miserable?
      I think we should be happy with our partners 80-90% of the time, or it’s a waste of life. I think I was happy with my ex 10% of the time for the last year, I have better things to do with my life than be repressed, neglected, lied to, and irritated.

  5. I just took notes reading this.. This is EXACTLY what I am going through. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I do not want to hurt him, but I am giving up my own happiness for his?? That is so not fair to me. Plus you are right, It makes you miserable.

    • I’m soo glad it’s helpful! I was really hopeful that this post would help a lot of people. I looked up advice when I was going through it, too! And there was SOME, but never very much…pretty brief, and nothing from the person’s own personal perspective. Everything was just an article, nothing vulnerable, you know? I tried to put in a bit of both.
      I hope you have a good outcome. I unfortunately lost my ex completely, but I don’t actually miss him. I still care for him, and if one day he wants to be friends, that is totally cool with me. But it was SO necessary to my well-being. I was crumbling, FAST. I am so happy to be myself again.

  6. Its a tricky n stupid situation (with me feeling stupid mostly) How do I break up with a guy who I love but who doesn’t love me,,but he wouldn’t break up or admit that. I am plain tired of trying alone. He would not call if I don’t call, wouldn’t text or plan to meet, he wouldn’t put in any effort AT ALL if I don’t, but he wouldn’t admit or break up either. I used to feel my love will change somethings, and somethings will change for better with time.. but past 3-4 months I have seen if I stay with confusion, doubts, low self esteem, chronic feeling of being unwanted invisible,then I am doing more harm than good to both myself and the relationship. He ‘says’ that he loves me and I have always wanted to stick around after ‘hearing’ this but he does NOTHING ( I mean nothing, infact on many many occasions he has let me down, never said or felt sorry, we don’t discuss or talk much but it confuses me that he still says he loves me) to support this statement… I am now sure he doesn’t love me & my intuition was right. He just let’s everything be ! Tell me the smartest way to leave, if there is any, wherein he shouldn’t have the liberty to conviniently feel that the girl left coz she was out of love (he likes to blame others, he always ‘says’ I don’t want it to break) coz that’s not true, I love him but I am tired & confused by now, from trying n compromising from past 1.5year in this 2yr long relationshp. He isn’t mostly even aware of my presence in his life. I am confused, heartbroken, disheartened and I have had it enough.

    • Well, honestly, your “partner” sounds like a dick. In your case i would recommend telling him that you want to be with someone that shows you they love you, and doesn’t just say it. The words on their own mean fuck all.
      If you stay, you are just accepting this treatment and probably believe you deserve it,or you would not stay. You get one life, don’t waste it on people who make you feel crappy. It is better to be alone and love yourself. It sounds cheesy but it is fucking freeing and glorious.
      Otherwise I can’t really give any other advice than what I alrady wrote.

      Well, there is one thing. Once you leave, you might be sad, but like me, your “love” might fade. I don’t miss my ex at all, and it didn’t take me long to realize it – to be without that negative force in my life was liberating, and it will be for you as well. Put you first.

      • Thanksssss a tonne for your reply…gives me immense strength to know that somebody can identify with my problem..and give courage to move ahead..being d one who always does much more in the relationship comes with that much more burden..after a while u feel its ur destiny and u are supposed to live on with the weight of this self imposed sadness.. Believe me I am going to read ur reply and rest of journal again and again ..to keep strengthening my stand..step by step I’m moving out..slowly but surely..God bless ya for spreading the much needed strength & belief in the utmost motto- ur own happiness first !!

  7. Thank you so much for writing this. You are right, there is nothing out there that shares real life experiences like this. I just ended it last week for the second time. He was great, I just wasn’t excited to be with him anymore. Everyone thought he was the one and he is so hurt. Its hard for me to picture finding someone who loves me as much but like you said you only get one life. I don’t want to settle.

  8. From the first day I saw her , I knew she was going through some sort of depression. Two days later , we started our first conversation and I felt totally drawn to her . From a simple meeting lead to meeting at her place . She was divorced while I was a very unhappy married man, which I did not lie to her about it.
    My initial purpose was to be just platonic friends but one thing led to another n we became intimate 2 months later on. Earlier I noticed her unusual horrible depression which she went through – crying in the dark n even got drunk twice . And on one occasion wrapped me tight in her arms n bite me over my shoulders . It shocked me as to who the devil is she n why she did it to me. Yet another scene which made me wonder till now – she got very drunk one night n I took her back home n there in her room , she took off everything . I was stunt as we were both not intimate that time. I only tugged her to bed n advised her to sleep. Having seen her being so vulnerable , I became her closest friend to help build back her confidence in life. I did very well n soon we were extremely close n loving . As our relationship progress , it was obvious that she expected commitments from me – which I wasn’t prepare to due to my marital status. And she was the one who told me that she did not expect another marriage after her divorce.
    I continued to be with her as she told me her desire n needs for me . I felt honour n assured her that I will be with her. All these happened in 2005 n now she sudden dumped me and insulted me by saying that she wasn’t happy with me at all . That I was not financially stable to provide her the best n sex was only so-so. That I was overweight and not ambitious enough. In actual fact, I sacrificed some of my time just to be with her n care for her n now I am thrown with all sorts of painful remarks.
    I felt humiliated n disgusted n overly sad n worst broken heart ever. The pain is unbearable. Much as I had trusted her before but I found out later that she had lied to me about her past relationships with other men. And one of them told me that she is indeed having some mental disorder. Which I did notice from the beginning yet I refused to give up but instead tried to help her by spending lots of quality n romantic moments with her. The outcome of it speaks for itself here. We went for our last romantic holiday about 2 months ago n we got home , she avoided meeting me n even yelled at me for being clingy . Which I denied as we used to meet at 4 times a week( not always for sex) but more of spending time together either for work out or dinner. She finally gave me the most painful stab on my heart by telling me that she will be getting married in 3 months time. I was devastated n nearly collapsed . But I stood firmly n painfully accepted it. We broke off n I have not contacted her since then. But what hurt me drastically was I found out that she had already planned to leave me since last year but why did she still held on to me? Well , her mum objected to it n she quickly put me back in the picture. Readers , what do u all noticed here ? I am still trying to heal my pains but I know I will be strong enough to overcome it. Was she manipulating with my emotions? Still I feel it’s good to break up rather than be with her forever due to her unstable moods n lies. I love her n I will forgive her. I did not lie to her n I will move on to be a better n wiser man . I love her truly n I expect nothing in return except sincerity . I know I am a real coward to betray my actual wife but then I do have my own reasons of which I know I should not be fully blamed . Share your views without sarcasm.

  9. Me and my partner have been together for nearly two years. The past few months however, not trying to sound mean in any way, I’ve felt so bored, so dead and lifeless. I want to end this…but i do love her, i don’t want to hurt her. To make matters worse she lost her virginity to me in a truly beautiful and romantic way very shortly after we dating to avoid hurting her I’ve just been dragging myself along in hopes something, anything, might bring the emotions back. But nothing. I can see a future, ten years from now, with her, but i just can’t seem to.accept the now with her…i know by leaving now it throws the future out the window and I’ve accepted that…..but i can’t accept hurting her. This is killing me and i cried the reading this post, accepting what i have to do, i just don’t know how to do this…

    • I hope it is helpful and that you make the right decision.

      Please read “I Need Your Love – Is it True?” and/or “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie – both of these books will help you make the right decision. Good luck, friend.

  10. Thank you so much. I think my heart is in a thousand tiny pieces right now but this lets me know I’m not alone. You totally nailed it and you helped me believe in myself and my decisions. So much of what you said has actually run through my mind as I rationalize and realize I can only do what I feel is right for me at this point in my life. But then the guilt and heartache come creeping back in and I find myself googling “breaking up with someone you love”. I know I’m not the only one but it doesn’t make it any easier. Reading this helped me though. Helped me sort out my thoughts again and understand I HAD to do this to move on in my life. It wasn’t fair to either of us for me to just continue going through the motions, but damn it will I miss my best friend…especially when I know I was the one to walk away and crush his heart. But the world just keeps on turning so I will bookmark this post and reference it probably every day until the hurt starts to turn into hope. Thanks again…

    • I’m so glad it helped you. It’s kinda blowing my mind how often people search for advice about this – this article is the #1 thing people find on my blog, and I had a feeling it would be. Good for you for doing what you need to do to be sane 🙂

  11. Thank you for posting. I’m very happy I found this. Im in a bit of a different situation, but still found this very helpful. I started dating one of my best friends and I know we both love each other to death but I now realize for sure we are just meant to be friends. Even though I caught him lying to me about talking to his ex, I still somehow have compassion for him because I still just think of him as a friend, and maybe always have..I dont know how I would feel if I never caught him lying but I have enough respect for myself that I know this needs to end. Instead of causing more drama about confronting everything to him, im just going to end it. (without being very empathetic for obvious reasons) Im horrible with talking to ANYONE about emotions so this is going to be one of the hardest things to do and im not looking forward to it, but I am looking forward to when its over and he knows hes not getting away with lying to me anymore! Like you, I always stay friends with my exs and no matter how hard I want to I cannot hold a grudge… which I actually like about myself so i know we will be friends again eventually if he wants to, but its just so damn hard to start up this conversation! I want some post it notes too!!

  12. Thanx so mch for this post,i have been in a longdistance relationship for 11/2yrs now.things weren’t so bad till December. I noticed he started replying my messages with one word and since he had gonne to upcountry for Christmas holiday i suspected there’s something.i tried calling him but he kept pushing me away.as in he could pick n tell me he’s gonna call back but he didn’t for 2days.when i had started giving up he called n assured me that all was well and that he still lov
    in January this yr he confessed to his friend’s gitlfriend that he has someone around but she’s gone out of town for work

  13. Continuation#am nt sure if the ex is the girl he claimed he has.when i asked him the 2nd time he got so mad and even hung up on me.he plainly asked me to move on.i tried ti but he later tried ti reach me using my family .i forgave him coz i love him so mch…tbut things haven’t been the same.the other day i called him and he answered while having sex i think he was drunk too.ve decided that i have to move on.i have to be happy,its clear this isn’t going to work.the problem is everytime i try to move on,he tries hard to come back.i feel he already has someone since am thousand miles away.i came here to save enough then go back home.he’s been forcing me to quit my job and go back.what if i do it and i end up loosing both of them?then i have ti go back to my mom and start from scratch.i love him but i feel am alone in this.my guts tells me i should quit once n for all.nt looking back again,such post will help me get enough strength

    • well, he sounds like a jerk to me. I mean, I understand it is very difficult to maintain a long distance relationship and also maintain monogamy, but it sounds like you need to move on. long distance is really unsustainable unless someone moves. it does not sound like it is in your best interest. i moved to be with my long-distance sweetheart but we were together a year first and still saw each other every week or two (it was a couple hours away by boat) – I would not have left my job or my life if there had been another option – he couldn’t move so I did. But it was worth it to me.

      This is what I go by: am I happy at least 80-90% of the time? 80% is my MINIMUM to be happy in any situation – love, work, etc. if not, it’s not for me. I get one life, I ain’t wasting it on people or things that make me unhappy. I suggest you do the same.
      I hope my post helps you! Good luck.

      • The most confusing thing is that he still has my picture on whatsapp n he uploaded some of my photos on his fb profile recently.the issue is we have women in Africa too who don’t mind sharing a man.i mean even if he has a ring what about someone who’s not married!they don’t give a damn to what others feel,the most painful thing is him answering my call while having sex.n he claims thts nt true.n even told me to think what i want to think,i wish i had friends i could hangout with so tht i try forget if i gt my hands on booze now am seeing myself going for it.coz i can do anything to gt out my pain.my job can’t allow me to go out with friends or rather making new friends.like i said ua post is really helping me.thanx so mch

  14. I read this over and over, brought me to tears. I just came out of the most unfulfilling relationship. I was with a guy I loved dearly, I treated him well and gave it my all but it constantly felt like he didn’t appreciate any of my efforts. He was the kind of guy who didn’t return calls, didn’t honour his promises, would rather be with his friends than with me, lied a lot yet demanded respect. He always came home after his drinking sprees, or after work for a quick pop in. No quality time whatsoever. The best time of my life with him was the the first couple of weeks together, then the selfishness started. When he graduated on a course he was doing when we met, he didn’t tell me, I found out on his whatsapp status. I made sure his birthday was special, one of the gifts I got him was a weekend away for 2 and he was supposed to decide when he wants to go, I reminded him 3 times until the voucher expired. What hurt me the most, is the fact that when I told him the voucher had expired, he laughed and said, oh I forgot about it. We broke up twice in 6 months, and both occasions he was the one who stopped talking to me, even though I reached out and tried to make contact. I felt so rejected, unwanted and hurt but I let him back into my life when he decided to come back. Now he did the same thing, so I decided to shut the door for good… He keeps on sending random sms’s, accusing me of being with other men. He recently got his friend to call me and ask me to meet with him because he wants to make peace. As expected, he didn’t show up for that meeting either. What makes life more difficult for me is the fact that we live in the same complex, opposite one another. It was convenient then but now I wish I could move out, just to find time to heal… I keep on second guessing myself because some time ago, just before he stopped talking to me the second time, there were times when I felt like he is trying but there was no consistency. I eventually got tired and didn’t put in much effort either. So when he started acting up I thought maybe I should have appreciated the little he did, but how could I when I was always petrified he would go back to the same old person. Now I have started thinking maybe we were just not meant to be, try not to blame him for everything but its hard. I wish I didn’t love him as much as I do… That door is officially closed, its been 3 weeks!

    • Sounds like you made a good decision. People are always on their best behaviour at first, and of course that’s what we remember and hope they will stay that way, or revert back. We hope that their bad traits are a phase or rare, but often it’s just becoming who they really are without trying to impress. This is why it’s so important to separate love and infatuation. I don’t fall in love so quickly anymore. In fact, I generally wait a year now to see if I still feel as strongly as I did at first.
      Sometimes people just aren’t right for each other. Take it as someone you tried…doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth a try, but clearly it was not the right fit. There are many people who will be – there are literally billions of people in the world. Good luck. I’m glad this helped you.

      • Love can emotionally drain someone.i sent u my comment i guess last week and u did comment i said i willl move on but i realised i couldn’t i still stupidly gave it a try.and ohh did i mention to u last week on Friday night he picked up my call while having sex?something he really denied and ofcos coz i do love him i tried to tel myself maybe i was just being paranoid.this Friday he hasn’t picked my calls.Mayb last week he thought i cudnt here anything this time he decided nt to pick.

        Its so painful.to love someone who takes u for granted.its even more painful to stay in such a relationship.i knw i may have his ring but i need to move on.i wish i was stronger like u.this time round i have made up my mind and so help me God.am going to change my contacts.so tht he doesn’t reach me and tries to convince me.coz i knw il fall for it again .

        i wish i had friends to talk to and cheer me up.i don’t have and my job as a live in Nanny doesn’t give me the chance,i work for over

  15. You post helps so much! I am feeling so guilty!!! I find myself looking forward to being alone and then I feel awful about it. I think how could I do that to someone I love? I’m leaving my partner of 7 years but I am still staying at the house until my new place is ready in 2 weeks. We are friendly to each other but it’s almost easier when we argue! Ugh…but your words are so encouraging!!

    • I’m glad it helps 🙂 I know how hard it is, believe me. I don’t feel guilty anymore but I do feel sad it had to end like it did. At least I did my best, which is all we can ever do.

  16. thanks dear for this post,i really needed it, i just broke up with someone that loved me,we hv been in a relationship for 2 years,it was very hard for me to do,bt i jst had to do it,i couldnt bear it anymore,i still feel bad about it though,but i guess this post will help

  17. Hey Lorra,
    Thanks a lot for your article – it’s really great, you’re a great writer and I think you’ve succeeded in helping every lost soul who’s stumbled across it so far. I feel compelled to leave a short message, although I’m not really sure what I think it might achieve. I guess I want to get it out in the open. I think I’m partly in denial about it all. In fact, I definitely am. I’m currently studying overseas for the next few months (I’ll be away from home for a semester in total) and I’ve got a currently long-distance relationship with my girlfriend. For the past 6 months or so, maybe longer, and with increasing frequency of late, I’ve been thinking about ending it. The words a friend once spoke to me keep going through my head, who said that once you first think about breaking up with someone it only snowballs from there until you’re thinking about it every day. I completely agree with what you say about love though – you don’t really stop loving someone (unless maybe they cheat on you, etc). Instead, your love turns into a platonic variant.

    I still love my girlfriend, though, and even have romantic feelings for her, but they seem to be dying away. I’m a very independent person, and she is not, and I feel like I have sacrificed a lot of my freedom for this relationship. In addition, I have plans to work and live overseas in the future, and seeing how hard this semester has been for her, I could not put her through it again, nor could I ask her to come with me (she’d likely be miserable away from her family friends). Basically, I feel like our futures are incompatible. She is completely and utterly in love with me, and would do whatever I asked of her without hesitation. And if I think that, how can I stay with her now? Surely it’s best to break it off and allow her to find someone else, rather than delay the inevitable. I really do love her, though. I know that I can survive the breakup. The biggest thing holding me back is not wanting to hurt her – it will destroy her. I really don’t know what to do. It seems like there is no right answer. She’s coming over for my last month to travel around with me, and so I can’t do it until then (I would want to do it in person, anyway), so I have to stay for the time being. I may not be able to do it, if I decide to, until the end of the year, as she is due to start a new course at University and I don’t want to jeopardise that for her. The summer would probably be best. In a way, I’ve kind of resolved myself to enjoy my time with her for the time being regardless of what happens – we actually have a mostly great relationship, but I just feel like I need more, and always will. I’m very torn and confused.

    • I’m so glad it’s helpful – to you and anyone who reads it. There is not a ton of great advice out there about this, so I felt like it needed writing, in detail, by someone who had the experience themselves.
      Thinking it will destroy the person is actually something I think is untrue, now. You cannot destroy someone – if they can’t get through it then they are actually destroying themselves. Yes, there is a grieving period, but the majority of people eventually heal, and if they are “destroyed” then that is their own doing – a breakup is not the end of the world.
      I feel like a relationship should be good like 80-90% of the time to be worthwhile. When I was in my last one, in the last year I was probably happy 10-20% of the time, and in the last couple of months it was like 5%. That is insane.
      If you have to sacrifice too much of yourself for someone else, they are sucking away your reason for being. Don’t let that happen. I thought I would “destroy” my ex and he is doing okay – I actually talked to him recently. He didn’t kill himself, he is still sad sometimes about it, but he is OKAY.
      And even if someone actually is not okay, ever, that is their choice. People move on from WAY WORSE circumstances. Holding someone emotionally hostage with “I will kill myself” or even just saying you are ruining them…that is no reason to stay. I’ve had two relationships end where suicide or insane, made-up comas from drug-overdoses were used (I am not kidding – an ex from long ago faked this!) – I actually get angry about it. I took it seriously but did not take any personal resonsibility other than to say “Well then I am calling your parents/911/etc” – when you leave, that person is not your problem anymore (unless you have kids or something…that always sucks – I deal with my current partner’s crazy ex because they share kids). Maybe that sounds selfish but it really is not.
      I hope you find clarity and do what is best for you. We really do sacrifice way too much of ourselves for other people. SOME is fine. MOST or ALL of ourselves is psychotic and will just lead to an explosion, a depression, or acting out in ways you don’t normally act in. I’ve been through all, and none are necessary. Good luck.

      • Hey sorry my real name isn’t up there , you are so strong and its helping me a lot in my situation I’m in nw but I dnt feel strong enough to end this relationship I’m In now. Could u help me?

  18. Thank you for this post, I’ve also enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I have been with my bf for almost 3 years. I love him dearly and he is a great person. We get along well but there are some fundamental differences between us: I am social, he is not, our sex drives don’t match, I like to travel, he doesn’t. Ultimately I feel a bit bored and lonely, and it has been a consistant feeling. I think I should end it but it is so hard to do when you love someone. When I am on my own or with friends I can have the confidence to decide to do it, but when I see him I melt. It is unfortunate that something as powerful as love is not enough for someone to be happy. It is helpful to know that others are experiencing the same thing.

    • So glad! I am glad that so many are commenting, too, as it will be encouraging and helpful for anyone seeking advice or support.

      It is one thing to be going through a tough time with someone and giving up easily, it is quite another to have no growth or movement and have the issues continue for years, especially if you’ve discussed it and voiced your needs, only to have nothing change. Never give up what you NEED for someone else! I know all about melting or giving in to happy times when the majority of the time you are miserable, believe me. Ask yourself: am I happy 80% of the time at least? Why would you want anything in your life to NOT make you happy at LEAST that much of the time?? I have upped mine to 90%, in terms of relationships. Please put yourself as a top priority, and then you will attract someone of the same high vibration as yourself 🙂 Good luck.

  19. Guys , i really need some help here , I just think that I would feel better if I share my pain with others who had same experiences.
    I was in a relationship last year that it meant a world to me , I truly loved him , respect him and did everything I thought was right, after a year I was really lost cuz he started to telling me nonsense like ”he is not good for me , he hurts me ”etc.So after a month that he was like a piece of ice to me I decided to leave , it took 2 month for me to recover , I was looking for him everywhere , every phone call ,every street anywhere.
    So after 4 month that i was feeling less worse , he text me and told me that he missed me so much , I was shocked and honestly really happy I could fly.
    First he asked me for having sex that I refused but after a week we became sex partners,yes I know that was totally wrong but u know that why I did that.
    So now its about 7 month that we r sex partners , that was good at first but then he start dating new girls . I was burning as I do now but I decided to wait, He even start to telling me about them but i just kept myself calm and died inside. He know that I’m always there for him ,and that’s my big mistake that I didn’t let him to miss me I was always there.
    Now he is dating a girl and he kinda likes her. Today he said that if he love that girl he will ask me for just being friends.He told me he loves me in another way.also he really is worry about me.
    I don’t even know what that is.
    I’m really confused, and first I don’t want to be the one who left behind and second what if he doesn’t like her ?
    I know it’s really stupid , and I know that I am wrong , but HE, like this , is better than HE at all.please , I can’t let go….

  20. Thank you for posting this. I am having a hard time leaving my boyfriend of 2.5 years. We live together and I know how much he loves and accepts me, and I dread being alone and the possibility of getting my heart broken by a new person. However, I know deep down that my boyfriend is not right for me. Physically I am not turned on by him, emotionally and intellectually we don’t connect on the deeper level I crave, we have little in common besides each other, I am bored, and he will never be a financial provider or even on my level which hinders him from doing things with me, like traveling (and the times I’ve paid for him to travel with me, I don’t get the fulfilling experience I hope for- he always does something to disappoint me). He has embarrassed me many times, and I love his childlike zeal for life and carefree nature, but it’s not the person I want to spend forever with or have children with. I am about to turn 26 and grad school while he is content working his long hours and making little more than minimum wage. He just turned 28 and I don’t see him becoming ambitious like me anytime soon. All that said, I love the person he is, he would never intentionally hurt me, betray me, or lie to me. It’s hard to let the good go with the bad. Any advice or thoughts on my story would be greatly appreciated and thanks for the thoughtful post!

  21. Hi Lorra,

    Thank you for this. I know I’m in a long line of thank you’s, but your post was exactly what I needed.
    I have never broken up with someone I love before. It’s the worst kind of agony, especially since I struggle with taking care of other people over myself. My partner and I have dealt with a very long distance relationship for 4 years, hating it and beginning to resent each other for it. My partner has a child from a previous relationship, so the move across the country was always going to have to come from me. We tried to live together a few years ago, me moving there. It ended in a horrible breakup (one of many), for so many reasons, one of which is that I’m a fiercely independent person and needed more than just settling into a slow, small-town life with him. We got back together thinking we could do it differently. We’ve never stopped loving each other, but I was so frustrated and anxious and so unlike myself by the end, everything you talked about in your post. I felt like I was giving up so much to be with him, my career, my freedom, my need for adventure and excitement. Now it’s over, because of me, and the guilt was so overwhelming at first that the pain of the breakup barely registered.
    I’m so freaking glad I found your post. Last night, after reading it, was the first time in the few weeks since the breakup that I felt like maybe I made the right decision, that trusting my gut wasn’t a bad idea, that maybe I was going to be okay and I hadn’t ruined his life. Except now all I can feel is how painful it is not having him in my life. He was my best friend, the one I talked to about everything, the one who supported me through everything. I don’t think we will ever be friends. I still love him, I don’t think I’ll ever stop. But at least I can stop beating myself up for breaking our relationship.

    So thank you, for making me realize it’s okay that I left someone I still loved. I’m scared no one will ever love me as much as he does. And I miss him constantly. But it’s going to be okay.

    • Hi Trisha!

      I’m so glad it helped 🙂 With time you may realize you feel better without (I did) – I do think of my ex and often I will be angry about all the issues that were caused in our relationships and how it “screwed me up” – I had/have a lot of work on myself to do, even now, to break out of how it affected me in the few years we were together. But mostly I wish him well. I didn’t end up missing him at all, actually, except for the first few days, and only because I was so used to talking to him. It really helps to have someone else to “replace” that person – for instance for me, I used to talk to him several times a day (we didn’t live together, thank goodness), and instead when I got an urge to call, I’d call my mom to chat instead.

      You will be fine, and now you have a great big space in your life for something GOOD to come IN TO. Good luck! ❤

      • Thank you so much for the article!!! I am going through the decision stage right now, and it’s tough. My heart feels torn all the time.
        He loves me and has totally no eyes for other women, there is respect for each other’s needs, and we can’t keep our hands off each other…He even respected my wish to meet 2-3 times a week only because I need a lot of “me” time to work and recharge, and I do see it doesn’t make him happy. I love him for being tender and sweet to me…
        But it’s not that simple. We’re in our 10th month and I can’t help noticing we aren’t too compatible in life interests-for example, he always votes for a political party which, if it ever governed, I’d literally choose to leave the country-and probably most people dear to me also would (despite not being an extremist himself-which is why I have said him I “forgive his vote”, but it’s still “eating” me inside). I like art, gaming, theater, books etc. and he doesn’t, we only have popular science news as common ground. So, I only feel exited when we meet in person. We are both unemployed and living with our parents, but I’m putting way more effort in finding a job (he just doesn’t believe in himself and beats around the bush-doesn’t even try to get extra qualifications in all that free time he has, although he only has basic education). I’m anxious to show him to friends, because he can switch from fun/sweet to insulting/awkward without realizing it-we almost only go out with his friends (which I’m polite to, but don’t really like). We’ve talked about work and behavior, but he can’t see anything wrong (or does see, without believing he can change). I just feel we keep getting out of sync in the non-sexual part of the relationship.
        And then he hugs me and forget I ever thought of breaking up. The world seems perfect when we’re alone together, and he’s so sweet to me. I feel sooooo trapped…

      • If you’ve already been together 10 months and you’re not happy, don’t waste any more time! But I understand. Are you happy 80-90% of the time? I have a feeling you’re young – don’t waste your life. Make sure you’re happy. If you are already questioning it, I highly recommend you reconsider your options. It is also not fair to him if you are not in it 100%. Having different life goals and views on things is a big deal. It’s not like liking different music or hobbies – it’s your actual views! Don’t let it get to the point where you are resenting each other. At least you can part on amicable terms. You know? Good luck – don’t settle. It’s okay to overlook some things, and compromise, but don’t settle for less than you want or deserve.

      • Thanks a lot for your answer (for some reason I can’t answer below) 🙂 🙂 🙂
        Actually, the passion between us isn’t over, and doesn’t seem to end anytime soon, but it’s true that “dragging” this doesn’t help, and that I’m not happy enough. I’ll hopefully decide to admit that love isn’t enough soon.
        By the way, you’re right about my age-I’m 27, and he’s my first relationship.
        Thanks again, your article and answer have helped my thoughts a lot 😀

  22. #justme#
    i wrote to you i guess earlier this yr about how my fiance was treating badly..well i never gave up i kept pushing because i loved him.so around march he changed positively he was nice..then he started ignoring my calls on Wednesday nights Fridays and Saturdays .one day as we were on Skype a friend of his looked at me and asked if i was then one who was around the other day,so definately he’s been with someone,

    i never gave up,until there is a friday i called him he couldnt pick but he was online non skype,it was clear to me he was upto something,i love him but i decided this is the time for me i guess to move on,

    it hasnt been easy but my mind is totally made up,no going back.he has tried sending me nasty msgs of how i have someone else but truth is i havent kissed a man in almost two years since i left home..

    am now comfy and happy tht no one will hurt me agin as am on my own till i gt someone else.

    truth is whemn you have had enough moving on becomes a bit easier thanx alot for this post

  23. Thanks for this and to everyone who commented. I was feeling so utterly alone with the hideous hideous question of leaving my boyfriend of almost six years…my best friend, my partner in crime and the person who I love, and who loves and cares for me most in the world. I have tortured myself with why I would even consider it. Nothing dramatic that has gone wrong, neither of us treated the other badly – my boyfriend would do anything for me, we respect each other, we have great fun together. I know would be a wonderful husband and father in the future, if we stayed together. But in some, odd way, I feel I am being held back from my true self. I suppose, if im truly honest, although I have been contented with the day-to-day relationship, I have known in my heart for a long time that he is not the one I want to be with forever. I have tried to convince myself otherwise, by focusing on the positives (of which there are many), but I increasingly have found myself feeling vaguely flat and disappointed at the idea of our future….as if I am missing out on something and just letting life tick along. I attempted to break it off about six months ago and it was the most difficult thing I have ever done; to see him in such pain and to have inflicted it myself was unbearable. He begged and begged me to give it another go and after a short break I agreed, half out of cowardice and half out of missing him, his family, his friends, our life terribly. I was worried that he wouldnt cope and selfishly, was scared of being alone, scared of him not being there for me. So time has ticked on and here I find myself once again going over and over the question of leaving in my head, feeling like I have a huge guilty secret that I cant tell the one person I tell everything. How could anyone love me as much as he does? And how can I put him through this? What if I regret it>? I will never stop loving and caring for him,…but like you said, I know it doesnt mean I should be with him. I know I owe it to him to be honest and brave.

    • Thank you for sharing your story 🙂 Just remember…if you really do NOT want to be with him, it is unfair to waste his time, when he could be spending his life with someone who DOES want to.

      Hope this helps 🙂

    • Your case is as good ad the original post. I’m in exactly the same situation. I’d love to hear what you did and how it went.

      • I also was in a similar situation, living together with a bf I had been with for 12 years. And then this Summer I’ve experienced what I can only call an ‘awakening’, and realised that I had never really been in love, nor fallen in in love with, my bf. So after months of crying and being torn, I told him I was having doubts- and after a few weeks, we broke up. He moved out 3 days ago. I still am wondering if it was the right thing to do, at times, but I did know he loved me more than I ever could, and it was not fair to string him along.

      • It’s only been three days – you’re still adjusting and mourning the relationship. Don’t worry. I had tremendous guilt after leaving my ex, for about a week – and then I felt SO FREE. I felt more like myself than I had for the past three years I’d spent with him.

        I bet you will feel like a new human being pretty quickly. But ALLOW yourself to feel sad. ALLOW the mourning. Don’t repress it and DON’T look back.

  24. Just wanted to say that, in the end, I did break up yesterday. It proved harder to do it than I thought, but I also feel much less regrets than I feared. Although it’ll take some getting used to, and although I do miss him and have feelings for him, deep down I know it was the right choice. “What if’s” do bug me all the time, but I consider this to be lingering insecurities and wishes-it’s time to go on with my life and grow stronger. I’ve been at war with myself for too long, and this is the perfect proof this relationship wasn’t meant to last for me.

    Best wishes to the rest of the readers!!!

    And thanks again for the article 🙂

    • I’m glad you are doing what it takes to make you happy. We can only do so much to make others happy, and often to the detriment of ourselves. A lot of people think it is selfish, but honestly, if we are not happy, anyone with us or around us is not going to be happy – not in the long run, especially. Good luck!

  25. Thank you so much for your words. I just broke up with my boyfriend of a year and a half. We have been long distance the entire time (literally). Even though my ex boyfriend said he loved me and we had amazing sexual chemistry, I never felt loved whenever he wasn’t there, which was most of the time since we were distance. When I brought up concerns, things would never change. I think he is an emotionally unavailable man, and that he loves me but is incapable of being truly emotionally intimate or expressing love in a normal way. I held on because I was in love with him (still am, to be honest), but I finally realized that I need to start making decisions that are best for me and be happier and emotionally healthier in my life. It is so hard. I miss him and I feel like I have lost something from my life. I know it was the best thing to do, but it’s hard to stay strong in my decision. It’s comforting to know that things will get better.

    • Oh girl do I feel you on that one.

      I had a harsh long-distance thing and I never felt loved. When I did manage to converse with the guy, he was full of gushing and charm, totally loving and making promises – but he never came through. It was so easy to get sucked in because of our long history.
      Long distance will only work if both people are in it 100% and make plans to move together. It is rough and rare that it works out – I know, I’ve done it enough damn times. Sexual chemistry is great but it’s not enough.
      I am now with someone I was long-distance with, actually – however I’ve know him 17 years, and the distance was only a couple hours. Both of us were/are completely smitten and made each other feel wanted and loved DAILY. A good test of this before we were officially even together, was when I went away for a month overseas, and still, we kept in touch as much as possible without a lot of ways to converse. We still made the effort.
      So I applaud you for doing what is best for you – it sounds like this guy is no one to stick around for. You are probably in love with your fantasy of who he is/was/could be – I have been there. That particular relationship both ruined me and FREED me, because I now look at it all so differently, and I am never taken in by hot sex or sweet words – it’s all about the ACTIONS.

      Sending love and support your way.

  26. I am at a total loss. Throughout 10 months of our relationship I craved him, I craved being with him and spending all my free time with him. But I got sick of his ex popping up, he knew I didn’t like it. Sick of him hanging out with a different ex when he knew I didn’t like that. Sick of him kicking me out, not wanting to see me or talk to me and just disappearing on me. But I stuck around. I thought that’s what you do, you don’t give up and you love them when they least deserve it. But 6 weeks ago on the last fight, I never came back. And now he’s wanting the future with me again, wanting to move, willing to completely cut the ex out. Willing to do everything I needed from him….. 2 months ago. I feel like there’s so much hurt, and I can’t forgive him for some of the lies. He never let me talk about the problems as they happened so I just bottled them up & they became resentment. I get so angry when he calls now, and when I have to see him. I used to crave him, I honestly want to want him again. But I just feel so done. But yet I can’t get the courage to fully leave incase this time he really did change? But I’ve met other men & I’m seeing someone else.. Not sure if it’s the excitement that’s altering my decision. I’m scared, he literally knows me. He understands me. He does everything I need now. He wants what I want. But like it’s toooo late.
    What do I do? How do I hurt the man I love just to leave?

    • He won’t change. It’s a desperate attempt to manipulate you into staying because he thinks he can control you since you were a pushover for him before. You can do better – do you love HIM or the IDEA of him, or what he could be?

      As always I recommend reading Byron Katie’s book on love. Does he literally know you? Can you know that to be 100% true? Check out her work and question these beliefs before you make any decisions. How much has he hurt YOU?

  27. Thank you for writing this. Im sure it has helped thousands of people deal with this extremely difficult and painful situation. Love to you all.

  28. After reading your post I feel a huge sense of relief! I feel like this explains what I was going through to a T! Last night I broke up with my boyfriend of two years and it was the hardest thing i have ever done. I never in my wildest dreams would conceive of hurting him, yet I had to in order to keep from hurting myself. For a little insight on our relationship, we met at work and had known each other for quite a few years and even though we are 14 years apart in age, we always had a strong connection, especially with me being an ‘old soul’. Anyways, we started dating and got a lot of flack being that we both worked for my father and he was an ‘older man’. It was tough the first year but he left the job and my dad started to come around. After being together for almost a year I decided to move in and it quickly went down hill. I started to wonder why I even was with him being that we barely had much in common interests and the age gap, and how I had great ambition to run my fathers company and he had never been to college or had a high paying job by any means. But I continued to push through because I knew I loved and cared for him deeply. I never would have thought I would find such a loving, caring man that made me feel so good about myself. All of this made me think we were right for each other, when clearly we are not. I am only 22 and even though I feel more mature than my peers, I have needs and craves for excitement and adventure, not staying in with my partner every night and watching tv. I crave intellectual conversations and passion. He made me promise that I would never hurt him in the beginning of our relationship and of course I said yes. I wanted to be with him, how could I not promise this? This is also a very silly thing to promise someone, like you said, you can only promise to love someone NOW. Since last night, he has repeatedly told me that I broke my promise and that there is no way I love him. I know I can’t rationalize with him now being it is so early in the break up but at least I know I truly do love him and saved him from possibly worse if we stayed together with me being as unhappy as I was with myself and being a straight up bitch to him for it. I just hope I made the right decision.

    • Hopefully in the future he will feel differently. I actually had a chance to talk to my ex 15 months after we broke up – I told him to call me in a year, and he did – I didn’t think he would, but he did. You can’t ever convince someone you’ve left that you actually love them. I mean come on – would you believe that about someone leaving you? However, it is more important that you know it, and continue to be there for them as a FRIEND, in the future, and they will eventually see that you do still love them (if in fact you do want them in your life again at some point as your friend) – I hope this makes sense.
      Proud of you for staying true to yourself. I mean, it’s your only life.

  29. As many others here have said in various and more sophisticated ways – holy crap, are you me? I am actually breaking up with my boyfriend tomorrow night (timing calls for a bit of a delay) though I came to the conclusion this morning that it needs to happen, finally. In my mind, we’ve been through too much bullshit and the baggage is not worth it anymore; at this time in my life I am growing and expanding positively at such a rapid rate, and he just no longer fits in the picture. It’s nothing he has done wrong – in fact, he’s the best man I’ve ever met, second only to my grandfather. Wonderful guy… just not the one for me. He was the right one for these past couple of years, but not anymore. I’m set in that decision, but seeing him hurt over the break up is going to be very painful for me. It will just take some constant self-reminding that splitting is actually what’s best for him as well as myself.

    • People can be amazing but not right for you in a romantic sense. I still love MANY people I have been with in the past, dearly! But I know they are not right for me – or we’d be together. Reality is reality – if it was right, it would be working for both people, and you can’t force yourself to be in love, or you are living a lie.
      I hope your break-up went okay.

  30. I’m breaking up with my dear friend tonight. He was the shoulder I cried on through a nasty divorce and then we started dating about 6 years ago. It’s never been what I expected – he “doesn’t do” romance – but he’s a wonderful man, I’m a middle-aged single mom with lots of baggage and I thought I could live without romance because we are great companions.

    I can’t live that way any more and I know he’ll be shocked by this. Beyond that I don’t know if he’ll be angry, hurt, relieved, whatever. He’s only ever had one other girlfriend and is not the type to meet anyone new. I know… not my problem… but oh the guilt is so bad.

    I may never meet the right person but my gut knows I can’t stay in the wrong relationship because of that.

    Thank you all for sharing your stories, ideas and pain.

  31. Lorra-thankyou so much for writing this. Thankyou to the other people, too, who have shared their stories.
    Having broken up with the partner who was also one of my best friends, I’ve been feeling a bit…mashed. Like somebody has cheese-gratered my soul into porridge, patched it over with a papier mache shell and gone “that’ll do, have fun with that, off you go!” My partner was (and is) a sweet and caring person, incredibly clever and made me laugh. We just didn’t seem to get it quite right though-in three years, I never felt that we were the best possible versions of ourselves when we were with eachother but I kept making excuses to avoid breaking up (most likely because I’m a big ol’ chicken and hated the thought of hurting someone I cared about and risking never being able to interact ever again). Instead I made a nice little list of little lies to myself. “It’ll be better after Christmas”. “It’ll be better when our living circumstances change”. “It’ll be better if we both get haircuts and have a nice day out”. Nothing was bad exactly but we just kept ending up in a fug of frustration and monotony and started taking eachother for granted. Increasingly, I found myself keeping my head down through the bad and gritting my teeth for the sake of the good things in our past while waiting for the good times to hurry up and get back again but the good:bad ratio kept sliding for the worse and suddenly something went snap in my head. I found myself hugely disappointed in myself. What loving partner, or real genuine friend for that matter, lets someone they care about settle for someone who isn’t quite happy and isn’t quite sure?
    So I did the breakup thing and felt like the worst person in the world, a Cruella De Vil/Voldermort level villain who has made their bed and should lie in it. Except that it isn’t so easy to do…well anything. Ive ended up looking online for other peoples experiences and advice (theres only so long you can talk the ear off friends and family, particularly when friends overlap with the ex’s) but info on breakups all seem to focus on the wellbeing of the person being left rather than the leaver which, when you are already a bubbling pot of guilt and crazy over breaking the heart of someone you care about and not feeling too hot about yourself in general, isn’t exactly helpful. It was therefore hugely comforting to find this. Thankyou for all being so brave and for making it clear that its normal to feel brittle and miserable and unlovable and utterly berefit even when the breakup was your decision.

    • It gives me immense pleasure to help people with this problem because I KNOW how horrible it is, and I found NOTHING helpful out there. I tried to think of the advice I would want to hear, and gave it to myself, knowing that it was something I’d have to put out into the world to help others. It’s a horrid feeling, and I am so glad it was helpful for you. You are not an awful person, and in time, even if it takes years, they will likely see that it was for the best. I know that in the past when I was the one being left, it never made sense – not for years or even over a decade, but it will happen, and if there is real love between you, you will want to see each other happy, and if not, well, then that person didn’t really LOVE you, they only wanted to possess you.
      Good luck and I am glad you made the best decision for yourself – unfortunately, it’s rare.

  32. I just received an email linking me to this article from an American friend who is in the middle of another relationship crisis.
    It really does say something profound about the state of society when you stumble across an article with a) this absurdly contradictory title that sounds like the ramblings of an over-tired toddler and b) find it full of the kind of blind, petty, first-world narcissism that contributes to the demise of a relationship in the first place; the relationship as a form of psychotherapeutic mirror, a barometer of wether you are, like, TOTALLY in a good place right now, yeah? (sarcasm) Haha, you even have the undignified vulgarity to display this menagerie of agony in the media.
    After moving our family from London to the remote Scottish Isles, I’ve often wondered why my husband and I, along with what appears to be every other couple here, walk around hand in hand, grinning from ear to ear like love struck teenagers while the rest of the world appears through our laptops with grimaces of abject misery. I just realised (as the moon begins to give way to the morning, our little one begins to stir and my husband winks at me on his way out to tend the cattle, it’s because we’re so far away from all the BS.
    Just my ten cents worth,
    A Stepford Wife (more sarcasm),.

    • You really sound like a happy person 🙂

      You are not my intended audience. This article has helped many, and I wrote it because I did not find the answers I was seeking elsewhere, and wished I could have had some support or understanding.

      If you love someone, it doesn’t mean you are right for each other in a romantic sense. I am extremely happy in my current relationship because we are right for one another. Caring for someone deeply does not make them a good life partner. It takes time to know this, as well. Often it is hard to realize until you’ve been together a long time. People rush into relationships so fast (I know, I’ve done it) and fall in “love” before they even know if they will be good together long term. And when you do find yourself in that situation – deeply caring for someone and yet miserable being “partners” – should you stay just because you care? Should you stay for their welfare but neglect your own?

      I’m glad you are so content in your life. That’s awesome, but not everyone else is, and moving to a remote place isn’t going to fix that. It’s all internal.

      Thank you for your comments, I appreciate all opinions (not sarcasm).

  33. I was with my bf for almost 2 years. I felt the same way you did, I still love him deeply and I wanted nothing else but us to work out but no matter what I did what I change or what I said to him trying to talk about it. Nothing change. He wasn’t responsible always wasted his money and he hardly show me any kind of affection. I finally broke up with him 3 days ago, is been so hard specially because now he hates me and said all this horrible things to me. I know he’s not the right man for me. Thank you so much for your article I found it yesterday n been trying to read it to keep my self from going nuts.

    Maria

  34. I was with my girlfriend for 3.5 years
    We met online and started dating one month later I had moved in with her (too fast)
    At first it was wonderful and over time faded into a roller coaster relationship
    I have now got my own place
    We still talk and see each other And it seems like every time we see each other it’s painful. Because we were used to living with each other every day.
    She has three kids I have one. We found the blended family was hard at some times
    I want to be with her but I know that so much negative has happened that it can’t work right now
    I just don’t want to break her heart
    I’m lost. There is a lot more to the story but I would be typing all night
    We still love each other. And that’s what makes this on of the most unique break ups if have ever been through
    How do I cope?

    • Dude, I dunno. That’s a tough one. Maybe just take some time apart so you can think more clearly. It doesn’t have to be a clean split in every case. If it is toxic, though, it might have to be. It’s hard, I know, believe me!! I suggest reading that book I keep mentioning, by Byron Katie. It’s SO helpful.

      Good luck!

  35. Hi. I wanted to write and thank you for being so brave and sharing your life and love story. I am at the “other side of the fence” if you will, I am the guy who couldn’t understand why my girl friend of 9 years left. How could she say “I do love you but you are not right for me?” What did that even mean? How could you love someone like she obviously did and yet want to walk away?
    So you see this not only helps the people contemplating a split but also the ones left wondering “what the F just happened?”
    We had a love so passionate and exciting physically, we were also best mates and clicked in so many ways. But in all this we were different in some critical areas, namely financial thinking and risk taking, She being the free spirit and me being the feet on the ground sensible sort. We did try living together a few times but it always ended badly in that we had great passion and great sex etc etc and also we talked about everything and anything, I did treat her really well and genuinely thought her beautiful and told her all the time. But the question of it always being my house always arose, I really couldn’t do much about that because along with her free spirit came the burden that she didn’t have anything of value after years spent travelling the world…apart from of course her marvellous tales which I always loved hearing.
    So now I get it…I get that we can and do love each other, we always will, but I also get her now when she says “you never follow through with ultimate commitment for me!” I get that she has had to move on and wlak away as she needs more, it’s not that the love died or the passion died it’s just she needs more and I try and try and try but it is never going to be enough.
    So thank you for helping me understand that you can love someone with your whole being but it be just not right. Thank you from this side of the confusion, many are left wondering what they did wrong, why the love and passion wasn’t enough? It helps to know we didn’t really do anything wrong, We were just different souls with different ideas about life. Will I still love her in 10 years? Damn right I will and she will always own a piece of my heart. But in time that will get easier.

    • Hi! Thanks for such a nice response. It’s good to hear from the other side of the fence. And of course, when you leave someone you love, you always hope that the other person will, if not right away, understand with time and perspective, and even agree or have an epiphany of sorts. With my harshest break-up came (eventually) some of my most poignant changes in regards to relationships.
      I do not have the same sort of love for my ex as I used to – for a while I even had massive disdain (as he had for me – we did converse once in the last 2 years) – but I do still care and if he ever wanted to talk or be friends, that would be amazing. However, I only wish the best for him, and I really hope that this experience for him will prompt him to change many aspects of his life, as he really, truly needs them. Often awful experiences lead to the most important life changes.

  36. I have been in a relationship for three years now; we are in seperate schools. Just of recent she visited me; after much smoother she confess she was cheating on me. I forgive her but after returning she still can’t break up with the guy: though she still love me. And me not having another girl yet; I am scared of letting go; and I thought I might not find another lover like her. After reading this pieces I am now convince of breaking up. But the questions that rings in my heart is; how do I start again and who is that person?.

    • Start where you are.

      Again I am going to suggest reading the Byron Katie book “I Need Your Love – Is it True?” – it will help, I promise.

      Sounds like you are making the right decision. If she was cheating on you and still is, you don’t HAVE a relationship. Do you really want a lover who cheats on you? Are you going to look for “another lover like her” if she is lying and cheating on you? Move on, you have one life, don’t waste it on people that are not with you 100%. That relationship is over. People in solid relationships do not cheat and do not want to. You’re in denial. It sucks to hear but it’s true. When you feel someone pulling away, you latch on – it’s human nature. My ex did that with me – as soon as I started to pull away, he started to be much more interested in advancing our relationship and spending more time together, he got more mushy, lovey, but it repulsed me, I wanted away.

      It sounds harsh, but who knows what her reasoning is – she may just not want to hurt you. But take it from me – the relationship is a lie, so go find your truth. Love YOURSELF, because you clearly do not if you think that this woman is the one for you.

  37. Thanks so much for your article. I am teetering on the edge of breaking up with my fiance of 5 years. I have met someone else who I have developed a deep connection with (although I haven’t cheated physically), which has made me realise the things lacking in my current relationship. It feels like a giant leap right now to take. I still love him loads and he is a great guy. We are just not sexually compatible and actually I feel we lack the level of emotional connection I need from a partner. Our relationship is that of functionality not romance and we take each other forgranted. I know there are things that could be fixed and we’ve talked about it in the past but never managed to make the change. I just can’t see the sex ever being fixed and in the past I’ve just settled for it but meeting this other person has made me realise that actually I’m not happy with that. Sex just doesn’t quite feel like a good enough reason to leave someone but if I stay I will be miserable with this aspect at least. The snowball analogy from a previous poster really struck a chord with me, now the idea is in my head its getting bigger and bigger.

    Just trying to find it in myself to finalise the decision and leave him, but its so hard when there is nothing that is wrong in concrete, it’s all based on feelings. Sometimes I wish he would do something bad to make the decision easier!

    • Shitty sex life is certainly reason enough – and I’m sure it’s not the only one. That’s a huge part of a relationship. It’s the main reason I had to get out of my last one, we had NO sex life, and the rare time we did, it was boring. Next.

  38. Thank you for this article, it’s really helpful. I’m still not sure when to break up, but I know I can’t see a long term future with my gf…I’ve been delaying it and telling myself I’ll just enjoy the time we spend together and next time a big outburst of hers occurs I’ll end it. This morning a little outburst occurred and I googled “how to breakup with someone I love”.

    Man…it’s so hard. I’ve never really dumped someone I care about, we have been together 6 months and spent nearly every single day together. At first I was infatuated with her, but slowly she started to show that she’s immature and manipulative/selfish.

    I got out of a 3 year relationship recently, it ended really badly and if I’m honest with myself I never gave myself time to move on and figure myself out before jumping into this new relationship. My gf loves me a lot, she can be very sweet and I know she wants me in her future, but I just can’t handle how mean she can be…I’m a great catch, I’m good looking, great career, and I care so much for people in general which is part of the problem here.

    I’d now like to vent as to why I’m unhappy:
    -I pay for every single thing, she’s broke
    -She does not drive and this is a major issue, I have to drive everywhere and she doesn’t seem appreciative. I wake up at 5:45am to drive her across town even though I don’t need to wakeup until 8:30 and I work from home. Our fight today was about why she wakes me up to go start the car, rather than doing it herself and waking me up right before we leave. Am I unreasonable?
    -She has some depression issues and a crazy past with drug addiction and suicide…I’ve never dealt with someone like this and it’s tough
    -I’m afraid to communicate with her because she goes crazy if I say the wrong thing
    -She is always thinking of problems rather than solutions
    -She has a sexual past that is way crazier than me and that she tells me about and it’s hurtful, I don’t wanna know that crap, like why do you have to tell me you’ve slept with 60+ ppl? FYI I’ve been with about 10…guys don’t want to know this info generally
    -I miss my ex gf and am not over her, I think of her all the time, I cheated on her one drunken night by kissing another girl and she dumped me. She was great and deep down I’m just disgusted with myself for ruining something.
    -My gf will disrespect me in front of friends by not listening to me, shooting down my opinions etc. She will basically stop me and say not to talk anymore because it’s upsetting her, like I can’ t have a normal conversation with her that involves differing views. A friendly debate (which I enjoy) turns into an argument every time and she wont’ listen to my views…she thinks it’s better just to not talk about things we have different opinions on.

    I know what I have to do…but I care for her and worry she will harm herself….she really is way more invested in me than I am with her

    • Holy SHIT, dude, do I ever relate to this. I have one word for you: RUN!

      She is NOT your responsibility. What she does after you leave is HER business, HER choice, and NOTHING to do with you.

      Also, I recommend reading my article on how to love someone without scaring them away – you’ve only been together 6 months? That is NOT love, it is infatuation, and as you’ve already discovered, the real person shows up eventually. People are on their best behaviour at first. I say wait at least a year before you even consider what you feel to be love.
      I would even reach out to your ex and really show remorse. Atone for your drunken kiss. If she’ll let you.
      But this girl you are with now…get out asap. I relate so much. If she says stuff like she’s going to kill herself, harm herself, whatever…that is NOT on you. Healthy people do not react that way, even when they are heartbroken. Saying that to someone is them trying to manipulate you and hold you emotionally hostage. If someone is that broken, they were already broken and you CAN’T fix them. Only THEY can fix themselves. My ex threatened to kill himself too. Guess what? He’s still alive. When he threatened this to me I said “How dare you threaten me with that.” I said I was going to call his mother (I did). I took it seriously, and I would have called the cops if I had not gotten a hold of her. He was no longer MY problem. He was his OWN problem, or his mom’s problem. Same with your girlfriend – once you leave, you are not responsible for how she reacts (you never were, anyway). Everyone is responsible for their own reactions and they will choose their own way of dealing with it. I have been heartbroken many, many time, and dealt with those times in many ways.

      Take responsibility for YOUR happiness. I don’t wish you LUCK because it’s not about luck – it’s about action. RUN.

  39. I know this post was published over a year ago but I need some serious help right now in December 2014. I was in a relationship from November 2010-January 2014. It was a passionate relationship. When we were good, we were GOOD. But when we were bad, we were BAD. I loved him more than I ever thought was possible, but he was also my first and only love. We started fighting often over small trust issues and we both mutually decided it was not healthy for us to remain in the relationship. Well four months after the breakup, I was happier than I ever have been and felt on top of the world–college was going great, I had more great friends than I could count on both hands and feet, and I was finally discovering who I was and who I wanted to be.

    Well, one perfect afternoon I received a call from my ex for the first time in a full four months. After ignoring the first phone call, I picked up the second one. He stated “____ died”. I dropped the phone and then went through what is now remembered as the worst night of my entire life. I had never endured such an immense amount of pain in my chest for weeks, and months straight. A great friend of ours passed away in an accident. He was 19. We used to do everything with him. I knew him like the back of my hand.

    At that point in time I was not thinking about me and my ex as a couple, but more of me and my ex as friends. I could never and still can never imagine my life without him because I care for him that much. It was his best friend since he could walk. I could see and feel his pain so I stayed with him for several days just doing anything and everything that I could to help his pain. Of course I was in pain too and I still am, so he helped me feel comfort as well.

    Things began to happen that I felt I had no control over. Our fire of passion reignited, and when I say that I mean mentally and physically. We began doing everything together again, and I was happy for several months. Six months to be exact. Now I am here, healing from the death of my friend more and more every day. And I feel trapped. I love this guy, and I would never want him to feel pain because of me. But I am in pain day after day thinking about the part of me that I gave up when I got back together with him. I cannot describe to you the feelings I have when I picture breaking things off with him, because I am so used to having someone hold me at night, tell me I am loved every day, and care for me so much. I do love him. But I love myself more and I am at a loss for what to do next.

    We are from a very small town, and I know that if I go through with this I will have very few people on my side because he is such a well-liked great guy. I have a great family and great friends at school, but I can’t help but think about how alone I will be and feel. It is so sad for me to even be confessing this. But if it’s in my head all the time it probably means I should do something about it, right?

    I can picture two separate futures for me: I stay with him and remain happy and live a mediocre life, or I venture off on my own to find my own happiness and let a relationship come into the picture after I have discovered who I am and who I am supposed to be.

  40. Heya Jerseygirl. So let me get this straight…you feel like your life is held back because of this guy. Hmmm why can you not have a great life and date this guy? If the arguments are so bad then yes it is time to leave. Love generally comes in two types.

    1. Gentle love of tepid passion and gentle days with the usual tiffs about things.
    2. Fiery passion love of hot nights and equally hot arguements.

    To stay in the second is often very difficult as anyone will tell you, just look at some stars like Britney Spears and you will see they have the hot passion with guys but it usually ends up breaking up due to the arguements. I too have experienced this and it is really hard work to make it work. In fact I honestly do not think you can.

    So back to your dilemma, well I would say that if you cannot handle the fiery side then you need to move on, but if you have tamed that side then can you not stay together and have and do all the great things you plan? Or is he the local home town boy that wants to stay put, raise a family and live and die where he was born? Nothing wrong with that, but again if that is not you then you need to communicate that, and if the passion rises again and you argue it is a sign it will never work as you are too different.

    But do think long and hard what you want. To give up a passion love is hard, really really hard. You wonder if you will ever feel like that again. And you may not, ever. But I do understand about your dreams and aspirations. You need to talk first, be open and honest. If he “blows up” then the writings on the wall. Hope you figure it out.

    • Stevo, I really appreciate the response. I am always open for another’s advice and input. As of right now, we have gently ended our relationship. It did not end by blowing up on each other, rather it ended with a calm, deep conversation about how young we both are and how different we both picture our futures. He will never leave our small hometown–and I mean ever. And I have the desire to see the world in any way shape or form that I can. If having these dreams makes me a bad person then so be it.. I am 20 years old. I have so much time to settle down in the future and right now my mind/heart/gut say NO. That’s really all there is to it. They say to listen to your heart and that is exactly what I have done.

      Personally, I view myself as a little more mature than him, although I am indeed the younger one. So far, it has been a breath of fresh air. I have endless time to think about myself and put all of the focus on me and my wants/desires/dreams. I know there will be moments where I miss him and our history together, however I am in charge of my own happiness and I will do anything and everything to continue bettering myself every day. I love having the freedom to focus on my friends, family, and schoolwork. I am starting to believe it is completely healthy to be alone.

      I’ve been doing a lot of reading and journaling and I can already see the improvement in my own security and happiness. I am excited about my future and who I will become as I grow older.

  41. Reading this really helped me but I still would really appreciate some advice.
    So I dated this guy and we didn’t date very long but he said he loved me and has never cared about anyone more. I ended up breaking up with him a few months ago, but I was never really sure why. He was amazing, he respects me and truly cares about me. But even thou I really liked him and nothing went wrong I kept wanting to end things. We stayed really close friends and still are. I realized after going through some stuff this month that I truley love him. I love him so much that it scares me to lose him. He still loves me and wants to be with me….but for some reason even thou I’m madly in love with him I won’t go out with him. He knows how I feel about him and says he understands. But I feel selfish because he loves me and I love him back but I won’t date him for no reason. I wanna be with him, but I also have this feeling in my stomach that tells me I shouldn’t. Today he asked me out and said my answer wouldn’t affect our friendship but I just don’t know what to say. I love him but part of me says I shouldn’t date him. What do I do…

    • It sounds to me like you just want freedom right now – you can still love someone wildly but feel this need to be free, because of things you want to accomplish or experience that would be very difficult or impossible if you were tied to someone.

  42. Hey, i just came across your article and realized that my girlfriend (used to call her my wife) relationship of almost 12 years ended everything we had in a day before a week. i am not able to believe this just happened because she was always the one and i still love her so much. But i want her to be happy in life and let her go. I gave my best in the relationship to work out but her reasons tells something else. She have so many flaws that i cant list it here right now, and i accepted all of it and worked on our relation. Because of which i would get upset with her but after that we would have so much love happening. I tried so hard these few days to win her back but she would stick to her decision. And now i just want to move on which is to be honest IMPOSSIBLE. I am addicted to her. All these years every morning i would open my eyes and see her or her messages. Put her to sleep by talking or seeing each other through skype. Literally be with her everything i did let it be while i m at work or driving or with friends. Now all she says is she is getting married to some guy her parents decided for her. I just cant out of the promises she and we made with each other. i keep going over her pictures, her messages, her memories! I even started talking to myself pretending that i am talking to her and cry for like hours. Please help me out of this, i just want her to be happy. Any advice would be helpfull. Thanks 🙂

  43. Just a follow-up from my post last July… I broke up with a man who I thought had been my best friend because it wasn’t the right relationship. I loved him and hoped we could salvage something once the messy hurt was done.

    His reaction over the months following our break up was a shock and huge eye-opener. He was mean, vindictive, petty and hostile. He said he was entitled (he actually used this word!!) to a relationship with me and I hadn’t “earned” the romance I wanted from him because I hadn’t taken his advice about how to live my life at times. He insulted me, repeatedly, prefaced with “you owe me the courtesy of letting me get some things off my chest, things you need to know about yourself if you ever want to have a successful relationship in the future.” He told me that he’d often thought about breaking up with me and how dare I wait until he was finally happy with things to stab him in the heart.

    So. Now I wonder how I missed all that nastiness before and thank goodness I’m out of it. I struggle with the loss of my social circle – he’s so devastated by the break up, still, that it’s very awkward when I’m around so I mostly stay away from events.

    I don’t feel much guilt anymore, but I’m still working on my own anger towards him and sadness at everything. My breezy sense of freedom is buried a bit, but I’ll dig it out soon enough 🙂

    • Oh yeah, the seemingly “nice” people we are leaving can sure turn NASTY when you leave. It happened to me, too. Don’t you love it when people think you OWE them something? No. People should be together because they BOTH want to be together.
      I allowed my ex to get things off his chest (a year later) and it was horrible. I felt like I should since I broke his heart so badly. But now I wish I hadn’t. I didn’t owe him shit. No one owes me shit for breaking my heart, either. It’s nice, but I would never say something like that because then any apology or sincerity is lost.

      Glad you found your peace and escaped. Hopefully you will find something better, or simply be content with finding out how awesome YOU are.

  44. Wow this helped me out a lot, the love of my life left me about 5 weeks ago and we have a beautiful 4 year old daughter together, we will always love and care for each other, but reading this has give me an insight on how she actually felt, anyway we are both working on ourselves who knows what the future holds, I always accept her back but I’m trying not to show it.

    • I’m glad it helped 🙂 It’s also VERY telling that you are so open to seeing her perspective. That is AWESOME. Most people never look at themselves and never try to understand the other persons’ side. I HIGHLY recommend Byron Katie’s books, especially “I Need Your Love…Is it True?” – pure brilliance. I’ve never read anything more helpful in terms of relationships.

  45. Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to stumble upon. I have been so fearful to break-up because my boyfriend loves & cares for me so much. He’s written me into his future. Just like you, my spark is gone and I’ve been dragged down by this relationship. I have tried to leave before but gone back and promised him I’d work as a team, and he’s promised to change, but it’s been a cycle of disappointment. He is a wonderful boyfriend and there is love, but it’s not working for me. I need to follow this intuition and not drag this out any longer. The hardest part is hurting him, but I can’t stay to help him; that would be sacrificing my needs for his, which is unfair to us both. Somewhere along our path, I began putting his needs above my own – like some maternal instinct. I care and want what is best for him, and the guilt I feel for hurting him has kept me hanging on. I need to accept that it is not my job to help him heal and I cannot be there for him. He will fight, plead and beg for another chance, promising me this is fixable… but I know it’s not. In this moment, I have to put myself in his shoes and do what he needs in order for him to get through this. I need to be straight forward, express my sorrow for hurting him and then cut him off completely and not look back. I can’t be kind or care for him even though I want to because he will see it as a sign of a hope. Unfortunately due to our history, he has learned that persistence can win me back; but this time it’s different. Leaving gracefully in this case means ceasing all contact. Hard to do when you love someone. I will miss him dearly. I feel like a monster, but I must forgive myself. It is not my fault that we are not a suitable match. Not every relationship that is loving will end in a fairytale. It is a tough lesson to learn. You really helped me come to realize that it will be okay and seeing all these comments brings me comfort knowing that I’m doing the right thing for both of us. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My happily married brother says, “when you know, you know” -so I guess, incessant doubt should be a red flag.

    • So glad it helped 🙂

      Funny, when I thought about writing this post (a year or two before I even left my ex), I knew it would be my most popular and it is. It kind of blows me away, actually. It saddens me that so many people are staying in situations that make them unhappy. You need to align with what is right for you in YOUR life. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them. They might not think so, but it doesn’t matter what they think. Eventually, if they align with their own truth, they will know it wasn’t right, either, and you have created a void in their life for someone or something better to fill it – something or someone RIGHT for them.

  46. Your post was maybe the only one that came even slightly close to the situation i now find myself in.
    Im a fifteen year old girl (Yes, i see you rolling your eyes at me….. but please, take me seriously).
    I am in a long distance relationship with a guy who’s the same age as me, and have been so since the last 9 months. I met him at an uncle’s wedding, and it felt that he was EXACTLY the kind of boyfriend i had always dreamt of. He is my second boyfriend, and maybe my fourth crush. His attentions to me were surprising, but pleasing… and over a period of time, we both got over the experimentation phase of our relationship, and went to REALLY wanting a future together. Because of how young i am right now, it might and should sound totally immature, but i can’t explain why i feel that this is more permanent than it looks.
    i have always been cautious. He is the dreamer, the one with starry eyes and an optimistic smile. I know he loves me to death, and i do the same. Both our parents have had a very…. different…. upbringing. They have had their marriages arranged by their parents, and have never believed in loving anybody else but the spouses that were chosen for them. This is very common in India, where people who are in relationships are looked down upon to be people without character or principles. Society in general despises relationships between boys and girls outside marriage. Even friendships are ostracised.
    When my parents came to know about him, they were really angry. They asked me to leave him permanently. They took away my phone and deleted my Facebook and e-mail ID’s.
    However, we still found ways to talk to each other, and we still do. Its not like how it used to be, no late night calls or calls lasting 3-4 hours that cost so much, but we do get to talk atleast once or twice a week.
    The problem is, I find it both emotionally draining and extemely amazing to be with him. It hurts and heals at the same time. I love talking to him like i always did, but lying to my parents is emotionally draining. Added to that, im in 10th grade, and have to give one career deciding examination in 6 months. When i get to 12th, there’s another exam i have to give. Both these exams will decide the college i will get and i really want to score well. The pressure of studies along with the emotional roller coaster of this relationship (which i repeat is a really serious thing for me) is not something i think i can handle.
    The best thing i can think of is to leave him for some time, completely cut off ties and communication for sometime, until boththse exams are done with and i secure a good college.
    He should be doing the same but he is extremely emotional and even a shade immature. I have tried telling him many times, i have tried to leave him even before my parents had any idea about us, but he always asks me to come back, and the way he does it….. i just…. well, i come back.
    i want to leave him but not for ever. I trust myself to keep on loving him and want to get back together as soon as both of us are done with our 12th grade. It would really free my mind to thus let go of him and will really let me concentrate, but he will be really hurt. I wish to have a “break” rather than a “break up”, but he will be hurt because he thinks that there might come one day when i wake up and do not think about him even once for an entire day. He fears i might forget him.
    i doubt this will ever happen, but there are som many questions i my mind…..Will you answer some of them? It would be a great relief, a sort of support that woul be impossible to procure here in India. Every older person would not even attempt to understand; they will judge me and label me and then tell me that this is real life and not a movie where love succeeds.
    I WANT OUR LOVE TO SUCCEED.
    so….
    1. Am I doing the right thing? It just feels so selfish to expect somebody to never fall in love with somebody else and always love you… even when you arent even in contact wih him….
    2. What is the best way of doing this with giving minimum pain to both of us? I dont want to hurt him. Neither do i enjoy missing him so hard that i just break down and start crying over my Maths textbook while studying, or that i cry throughout the nights when i miss hearing his voice over the phone…
    3. How do i find the strength never to talk to him for more than TWO YEARS????? It feels impossible. It will be hard, i know. But i do not know whether i will be strong or decisive enough not to call or text or email him after even a week of trying not to.
    4. Will things be the same after two years IF i manage to go with my decision? I dont expect everything to be just the way i left it, but will we have to start again? That would be ok, and better than him really forgetting me and getting a girlfriend….. THAT would break me. I dont want thing to be same, but i want him to still love me like i will love him at that time.
    That is perhaps the only thing im sure about, that i will love him even if i dont get to be with him…..
    i would be greatful for some guidance… something to direct me as to how i should proceed, a little beam of sunshine through the fog… Please.
    And yeah, im sorry if this post was too long. I just needed a place to let out everytjing since the last four months, because however mature i or anybody else for that matter, try to be, deep inside we are all equally scared when face to face with something we have no idea about..
    Thank you so much….

    • Hi Alyssa,

      I don’t roll my eyes at teenagers. I completely remember what it was like to be 15 and in love. I have it all written out in old journals to remind me. I relate an insane amount to younger people because I never completely “grew up” – whatever that means. I retain my youthful demeanor. However, I have learned a lot in the 20+ years since I have been 15, and I can tell you right now, you need to let go.

      Letting go is the only option in this case. Holding on and trying to force something to work is just going to cause you pain and resentment. If you let go, and things happen between you two in the future then it’s meant to be. If NOT, and he does get another girlfriend, or whatever, then it’s not meant to be – because if it WAS, then it would happen. And yes, it IS selfish to expect someone to wait for you. If you are allowed to go and live life the way you want to, then he should be able to as well.
      Even if that happened, and you got back together in time, would it make a difference?

      One thing I have to say, is that when people are together for a short time (9 months is short, though it feels long when you’re young – trust me, it’s short) everyone is on their best behaviour. Same with being long distance. I have done both MANY MANY times. You are idealizing this person and projecting all your dreams and ideals on to him – he is not the perfect being you are making him out to be – you simply do not know him well enough – I guarantee you don’t even know YOURSELF well enough, and neither does he. And how do I know this? Because NO ONE knows who they are at 15 – hell, I know people my age and OLDER who still do not know who they are – you might think you do, but you do not. And this is not me being an obnoxious adult, this is me giving you a reality check. If you are resentful of this advice in any way, your ego is taking over.

      Teenagers, and people in their 20s (and even older) usually need to learn things the hard way. I sure did – over and over and over and over. People repeat patterns – often forever, unless they notice them and do everything they can to change them.

      The book I mention in basically every comment, by Byron Katie, is what I suggest for you – especially if you are upset and crying into your maths book (as you said) you can question the beliefs you are having.

      I don’t expect you to take my advice, but you asked for it, and I am being blunt because I don’t sugarcoat things. It doesn’t work or help in any way. I went through the same shit as you a ton of times as a teenager, and more after that. I didn’t have a healthy relationship until my 30s. There are still struggles. No one is perfect, no one is “ideal.”

      Your question of “Will things be the same after two years?!” is impossible to answer. NOTHING is the same after 2 years. Even if you stay together, nothing will be the SAME after 2 years. Things happen, new problems come up, experiences, etc. Be in the MOMENT. Be here NOW. In 2 years does not matter – what matters is now. Do you have any idea how much people change even from year to year as teenagers? People change a LOT in 2 years, especially in the teen years – even in your 20s and 30s you will change, a LOT, so don’t expect him to even be the same person in 2 years – you won’t be, either. Make sure you dedicate yourself to becoming a BETTER person ALL the time, and don’t let anyone get in your way.

      When you say he is immature, I don’t know what you expect from a 15 year old boy. The most immature guy I was ever with was in his 40s. If you expect a teenage guy to be mature, come down from the clouds, girl. It’s not gonna happen.

      Take care of YOU first. If he is the one who is meant for you, you’ll know it at the time. No one is psychic, least of all me, but I am a realist, and not an idealist, and I suggest you think the same way, you will get more accomplished and deal with less shit in your life.

      Good luck, sweetheart.

  47. Hi there. Can I just say I love you for writing this? I’ve been looking for a truthful article about how to deal with losing yourself in a relationship and knowing you need to end it even though you still genuinely care about the person.

    Anyway…this is happening to me right now and I guess I’m just writing because I need someone to tell my feelings to. I feel awful if I discuss this with someone else in my life before I discuss it with my boyfriend, but I feel like I need to. (You don’t need to read this all…)

    Basically, I have been with my boyfriend just over three years. We started dating my Freshman year of college and I just started my Senior year. He is a couple years older than me and graduated before I did, so now he is in the weird limbo where he’s trying to figure out his life and at times it really stresses him out. I know he gets frustrated sometimes when I am still busy with school and extracurriculars and he isn’t. So that’s one thing, but not really the point. The point is, he was pretty much my first everything. I didn’t date a lot in high school and somehow I ended up in a very long-term relationship as soon as I came to college. For a long time, it was amazing. I’d say things kind of got weird once he graduated. Slowly his quirks have started to drive me nuts and I find myself feeling like I am living a lie when we are together sometimes. I find myself trying to change him even though my motto has always been that you should never change anything for anyone. And yet here I am trying to make him do that! That just is not me at all. It started out every once in a while, but I can feel it tugging on me more and more. I know that it is 100% unfair to leave him hanging, but I am still working on finding the strength and the courage to break someone’s heart that I still care deeply about. He is my best friend and I want him to have all the happiness in the world, but deep down I know that I can’t be the one to give him that. If I do, I will be sacrificing my own happiness which is not fair to either of us. Lately he has started discussing our future plans – like kids and a house. To be honest, I don’t even know that I WANT the traditional get a job, get married, have kids sort of life. I’ve always been after something bigger than myself. I want to travel and pursue my dreams before I settle down and just really figure out who I am. I’ve told him this countless times and he just doesn’t see it as an issue. He says that he is willing to follow me wherever and figure out his life around mine, but frankly I don’t want to be with someone that does that. I feel that everyone should be happy in their own lives and on their own and then find someone where it just works together. Or maybe later on in life sacrifices make sense, but I don’t know. Right now it just makes me beyond frustrated and sad to hear him say things like that.

    I know what I need to do, but I haven’t the faintest idea how to. I tried once and just started bawling and we kind of left it at that. I don’t think he realized the extent of what I was saying. I also feel like he thinks everything is perfect (even though I feel like the tension is so obvious) and I don’t want him to feel like I’m springing this on him. There is a lot happening in his life and I don’t want to be the shitty person that sends it all crumbling, but it’s not fair to him. UGHH. I guess my question for you is how did you find the strength within you to do it? I used to be the hopeless romantic and I never thought I would end up here. I could use some of that strength you’ve got. ❤

    • Hi 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it and that it was helpful.

      Believe me, I waited until I was a crumbling disaster before I actually left my ex. It was either that or go completely insane and feel ill all the time. I felt ill ALL the time at that point. I had plans to do on a specific day and I couldn’t wait because I felt so sick from anxiety. I knew 100% that I wanted to leave. I couldn’t STAND him. I never missed him. The idea of being physical with him again repulsed me. And not because I didn’t love him – but it was completely platonic by that point and a lot of it was actually pity. I was ruining my own life by staying with him. I knew places I wanted to go and would NEVER get there with him dragging behind me.
      Have you talked to him about all of this? Have you TOLD him you aren’t sure that’s what you want?
      Remember, his life is his to figure out, and you are supposed to figure out yours. Just do your own thing. But make sure you are open about everything so he can know what is going on. It’s pretty brutal for someone to be left by another person when they don’t understand why, or if it’s out of the blue. For my ex, I brought up our issues OVER AND OVER and tried to fix them, and it NEVER worked. I was always open, and things got shut down over and over again. It couldn’t have been a surprise to him because it was getting more and more awful with time, especially my attitude, because I was becoming someone resentful and repressed, and I lashed out at him. TOTALLY unlike me.
      Don’t hide anything. It’s awful. I ended up doing that near the end because I felt I had no other alternative due to worries about him harming himself. But I just had to question the thoughts I was having – is it my responsibility to make him happy? Is it my responsibility if he harms himself? NO. What another person does is THEIR decision and THEIRS ALONE. People break up ALL THE TIME and yes, it’s upsetting, but you can’t put your own life on hold for someone else’s.
      If you’re still unsure, then what I suggest is to focus 100% on you. When you do this in a relationship, you stop putting up with crap, and they notice. They start feeling neglected and might complain but at least they can see you are changing. If they don’t like it, too bad. They can either realize they are losing you and step it up to stay on your level, or they can get left in the dust.

      I have much less patience for lackluster relationships than I used to. I don’t even put up with crappy stuff that comes up in my current one – but when I DO make it obvious I am not going to put up with something, my partner realizes it and steps it up – because he doesn’t want to lose me. If they don’t step up…well…don’t put up with it.

  48. I am going through this right now and have found so much comfort reading this blog and its comments over and over again. It’s validating to know you’re not the only one who has broken up with someone you love. In particular, the points about ‘Be Sure’, ‘Mourn’ and ‘Keep a distance’ strike a nerve in my situation. When I first broke up with my partner (we lived together), I felt like I rushed into the decision, and he wasn’t able to move out right away and we quickly fell into old habits – requiring me to re-break up and it pained me so much to bring the agony back again. ‘Keep a distance’ – it was my natural inclination to want to be in touch with my ex through text, ensure he was OK – because I still love him! Thing is, the constant contact was actually a deterrent from moving on. If you can, it’s best to try and not communicate – it’ll hurt the absolute most, but it’ll accelerate the healing process (though the first few weeks are going to be a real doozy!). And lastly, mourn. You need to. I cried and cried alone, with friends. I really let myself feel the emotion and experience the release. The art of crying is oft seen as weakness (especially for guys), but is one of the most powerful ways to heal. To feel better, I try to visualize the moment we both reach a balance and are happy again. We both are committed to staying friends, but know it’ll take time and can’t jump into anything too quickly and must first achieve a normalcy in our single lives before we can approach a new friendship. In the meantime, when I’m feeling down, I’ll come to this blog, read it again, read the comments and find comfort in not feeling alone. Thanks for sharing your story with the world.

  49. I’m going through this right now. Your article brought me to tears. When I saw this was written in 2013 I figured maybe all the comments will be much older but I see a few from this past December. I really wanted to ask you how you feel now that it’s been a long time- have you ever regretted it? Have you met other people you care for? I love my boyfriend a lot but we took a break 6 months ago and then we got back because I missed him and he said he would make an effort for us to work on our issues. Fast forward to now and there’s still this nagging feeling that something is off, but I worry that what if I have “grass is always greener” syndrome?? What if I leave him and realize that I was chasing a feeling that will fade in any relationship. It’s been 2.5 years and I have had my on and off doubts for a while but as I said I love him and im terrified of regretting this decision. I’m scared of never getting married and wishing I had just made the decision to stay and build a life with someone I love.. But I also related so much to what you said- I can’t shake the feeling that this isn’t my perfect match. Why is it so hard to feel this way. Its really a heartbreaking position to be in.

    • Hi Jen 🙂

      I have absolutely NEVER ONCE regretted my decision. It was CRUCIAL for my sanity, and I actually look back on that relationship with horror and disdain. Do I still care about him? Sort of. I hope he’s well, but I don’t miss him at all. Once in a while I do wonder how he’s doing, but it’s his decision to not stay in contact with me, I have talked to him once in the last 3 years, and again it was stressful, but I answered all of his questions since I felt obligated – since I hurt him I felt I owed him (I didn’t, but i did it anyway).

      Have I met other people I care for? I have met ONE person, who I have been with for about 3 years, it didn’t take me long to move forward, as I was in a soul-crushing, passionless, non-intimate relationship for so long, you betcha I moved on quickly – I needed to! I would also have been happy to have been single and FREE as well.

      Instead of worrying about never getting married, think about how you’d regret being married JUST to be married, and miserable – this happens a LOT, because of this NEED people have to be married – why? I have never cared about marriage – if it happens, sweet, but I would MUCH MUCH MUCH rather be HAPPY and free, and not clinging to someone else to be happy. I don’t NEED anyone, I CHOOSE to be with someone, which is why my current relationship is SO great and healthy.

      Thinking once in a while that you aren’t a perfect match (which doesn’t exist, by the way, stop fooling yourself that there is such a thing as perfect), is fine – it’s when you are CONSTANTLY thinking that, or you are always unhappy – THAT is when you know. If you’ve been thinking that all the time for 2.5 years then move on. It’s not worth wasting your life – is this feeling ALWAYS nagging you? That’s a red flag.

      For instance, sometimes shit comes up in my current relationship, because of certain differences. This is why I have my 80% rule – if I am not happy at LEAST 80% of the time (depending on current outside circumstances as well – sometimes things affect the relationship that have nothing to do WITH the relationship itself), then BYE. I really, REALLY pay attention to this, because why on earth would I spend my ONE precious life being miserable just because it might hurt someone else’s feelings or because I might not get some piece of paper that “proves” someone loves me (and it doesn’t).

      Build a life YOU love. Love YOU. Become the person you want to find. All the work you need to do is on yourself (and this goes for everyone, I don’t mean just you when I am typing this). If you were meant to be with this person and it was good, you would NOT have this nagging feeling. Has he made an effort? How often are you content? When I left my ex i was probably happy about 5% of the time. FIVE PERCENT. I would say now I am happy 90% of the time, and even when it’s been off, I’d still say I was happy 70-80% of the time and it was caused by OTHER people getting in the way of it, causing stress, etc – but we got through it and then things went back to normal, but it was never the relationship that was the problem, and it continues to IMPROVE. If it doesn’t improve you can do one of two things – YOU make the effort to improve the problems, and see if he responds, OR, you leave because it’s not worth the effort, or he doesn’t put in any himself.

      Hope this helps!

  50. I am so glad I found this article and I’m definitely going to save it to help me get through the next few months at least. I just broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years who I live with who is begging me to stay and the hardest thing to do is be strong but I have been so far. Thank you for this. A lot of this I’ve already said in my head like DO NOT FALTER. I know the right thing is to stay strong and not falter when I start to feel weak and want to give in but it is so hard. Thank you thank you thank you.

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