How often has one of your relationships ended because of a “betrayal of trust,” because someone did not do what he/she was “supposed to do,” or because someone just wanted out? Sound familiar? If so, congratulations; I’m glad things worked out so well for you.
Whether my mate wakes up one morning and decides she no longer wants to be with me, or she demonstrates her unhappiness by breaking an agreement between the two of us, the underlying sentiment is the same – the relationship is not working for her. And unless it works for both of us, it’s not serving its purpose. So, ending the partnership is what is best for me as well.
Many of us are short-sighted when reviewing the anatomy of a break-up, particularly our own. Most people aspire to happily-ever-after in romantic relationships, and when things don’t go quite as planned, we feel angry, sad, hurt, betrayed, ultimately devastated. But do you really want to stay in a partnership that is working for you but not your mate? If so, take solace in knowing that many people feel this way – though most are unwilling to see it so simply. But to want to keep a relationship intact when your partner wants out is equivalent to saying, “I am not valuable enough for someone to want to be in relationship with me (see ‘Commitment is Overrated‘). I’m not capable of attracting a new and more compatible partner. I have grown comfortable, and my comfort is being threatened, so I am scared and angry.” And that’s a rotten way to feel about yourself.
After the cards are on the table and your partner has made it clear there that are no issues that could be resolved to make the situation better, it’s up to you how the rest of the break-up will go. How much you truly love your mate (as opposed to how much you say you love him/her) will dictate your next move. Will you run to a divorce lawyer and work to take your partner for everything you can get? Will you cry and ask yourself “why me?” Will you tell your friends how much you sacrificed (see ‘Sacrifice: A Tool for Manipulation in Relationships’) for your partner’s sake so you can accumulate sympathy and allies? Or will you thank your mate for the time you had together and say, “I wish you the best.”
If you choose the latter response, I applaud you. You will be showing love and compassion not only to your partner, but also to yourself. I am not suggesting that it will be painless. Quite the contrary; most often, it will hurt. But you get to choose how ugly things get. I hope you set a tone of LOVE and understanding – one that honors both the partnership you shared as well as your own pride. If my mate wanted out, I would not even ask her reasoning (which is not the same as asking if there are issues we could address and potentially fix). It really doesn’t matter why she is ready to move on; I love her and want to see her happy. And I love myself enough to know that, whenever I’m ready to be in a relationship again, I can find someone who wants to be with me.
The perfect break-up is not one without pain. It is one where there is a healthy understanding that things and people change, and a willingness to support them as they do. So if your partner ever wants out, show him/her how much the relationship has meant to you – with a hug.
If he ever left me, I wouldn’t even be sad, no
Cause there’s a blessing in every lesson
And I’m glad that I knew him at all
– India Arie’s “The Truth”