This week’s post by staff writer Stephany Salinas is the first in a four-part series discussing the messy emotions that can delay an inevitable break-up. What are your thoughts?
We all know that. This isn’t news. Break-ups are awkward, sad, terrifying, and above all else, not the easiest task to follow through with.
Why is that? In the big picture, what it comes down to is not wanting to be with another person anymore. So what is it that makes break-ups so hard to do, when, in reality, they’re almost always inevitable?
Honestly, there’s a few different reasons; Familiarity, guilt, fear, and of course, love. I’m sure there’s other reasons, but these are the culprits I see all too often in friends and society in general. Hell, I’m guilty of all four of these, which is why I want to share my personal experiences in hopes that maybe someone will actually learn from them. If not, it was worth a shot. Sometimes you gotta make your own mistakes. This week, I tackle familiarity.
By the time most people have reached their mid 20’s, they will have had at least one serious relationship. The relationship that convinces you that this is it. He/She is the one I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. You’ve already spent so much time with this person. You know everything about them; their mannerisms, favorites, and more. There’s a good chance you know them better than themselves, and that gives you a sense of comfort. You have finally reached the point where you can be your complete self with someone. You did the time. You are so set on actually marrying this person. Hell, you may even have a wedding date picked out.
But then, something goes wrong. Whether it’s a sudden or gradual thing, SOMEthing is wrong. Maybe they broke some meaningful promises? Perhaps trust was broken somehow, and has become irreparable. (Sidenote: If trust has been broken, and has reached the irreparable stage, you have no business being in a relationship,. This will only lead to more unnecessary bumps in the road). Maybe, you just fell out of love. Whatever the reason may be, you no longer feel the same way about this person. That’s when the game changes. You start acting different, and begin to notice things about them that you hadn’t seen before. It gets to the point where you don’t even know how to act around this person that you know everything about.
At this point, you know what you have to do. I did. In my case, trust and promises were broken, and I no longer knew what to believe. I’ll spare the messy details, but what it boiled down to was I could no longer trust him. Someone who I had discussed “our” future with. This was someone who I dropped everything for. I lost friends, lost out on networking opportunities, and a lot more, all because I thought I was spending the rest of my life with them. I broke my #2 rule: Never make someone your everything, because if/when they leave, you’re left with nothing. Suddenly, everything that I had dreamed about became something I wanted nothing to do with. At least not with him. I knew what I had to do.
So why did I hesitate? Why, if I knew what I had to do, did I go back and forth with my decision?
Familiarity. I was comfortable. This was the first guy I could ever see myself actually spending the rest of my life with. We had gone through so much together. He was there when I first moved to the city. We went on vacations together. He was at every family party. I was crazy about him. I loved him. And it wasn’t that puppy love, I had already gone through that. It wasn’t the marriage goggles either, I had already gone through that as well. I was genuinely in love with someone who loved me too. I knew this person, inside and out. Did I really want to start over again? After investing almost two years (which at the time seemed like forever), did I really want to throw myself back in the ocean of dating?
Sure, you see these Hollywood movies where the girl ends up with the love of her life, because she’s the exception. But does that really happen in real life? Most likely…no. So I asked myself if I was just going through a lull. I mean, I shouldn’t have expected the butterflies to last forever, right? That’s crazy. I wondered if all couples went through this. The more I contemplated it, the more I realized this wasn’t normal.
I was comfortable and familiar with what we had, but I wasn’t happy. Something felt wrong, and when I tried to communicate that to him, it would be blown off. I had a choice; to continue this relationship that I was comfortable with, and have that uneasy feeling in the back of my mind, or to end it and deal with the post break-up pain. Comparable to slowly taking a Band-Aid off, versus ripping it off quickly. Both choices sucked. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but after about a month of that uneasy feeling, I got tired of it. I was mentally drained from being constantly worried about what he was doing. So I finally broke things off, cried myself to sleep for about two weeks, went out and partied to get my mind off of everything for about 3 months, and eventually, got over it.
Yes, it was a process. It wasn’t anything formal, but the end result was what I NEEDED. To get over it. Relationships start..and most are going to end. It’s life. I promised myself to never be that weak ever again. Familiarity or not, it was an unhealthy relationship (for more reasons than I talked about, but again, sparing the messy details), and one that I needed to get out of. Having the strength to do so didn’t happen overnight. It took time, which I’m not completely upset about. I just wish I had realized it sooner.
If I could leave people who have a situation similar to this with any advice, it would be to have strength. Have the strength to know what you deserve. I’ve quoted this before, and I’ll quote it again, only because it applies to every relationship situation; “If [[someone]] is treating you like they don’t give a s–t, [[they]] genuinely do not give a s–t. No exceptions”. Whether you’ve been with this person for a few months, or many years, if you aren’t happy….leave. Relationships take work, and that I completely understand, but when you have to justify your relationship to yourself, realize that there’s a problem. Be brave enough to leave something/someone who isn’t treating you the way you deserve. Whether you’re 22, or 62, remember that you can start over and get what you deserve whenever you want.
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. there’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. we can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of few. I hope you live a life you are proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again”. – Eric Roth