I never actually wrote about how any of my romantic relationships ended, mostly due to the near-decade of trying to get over the friendships that did. Friendship-over’s were more traumatic and romantic endings were less so. Our end happened gradually over time and was more predictable than the immeasurable hurt I’ve ever felt from ex-friends. Still, the end of our story deserves its own chapter, written down for my own closure.
This is three years overdue. I feel like it’s a conversation I’ve never had with anyone. Not with you, not with my old friends. Snippets shared with a few people when they asked. I was engaged, and then I was not, and then I was moving on from an old relationship into the new.
Still, that was seven — eight — years (almost all my 20’s) being in a relationship with the same person. I’m either stupid enough for staying with someone that long, or lucky enough I didn’t get married, avoiding a divorce.
I think I’m the asshole for breaking up with you abruptly, saying I want a “break” when I was so sure I was already moving on. Leaving home a third time to follow my dreams was the conviction I needed to finally end it. I’m probably the asshole for doing it without an explanation, apart from the misery I knew we were both feeling. My expectations of you were too high; I was always angry, or annoyed. I thought I didn’t have to explain exactly why. Besides, you never asked.
We broke up because I didn’t love you enough to stay with you. I didn’t even love you enough to look forward to talking to you during those last few months of our relationship. I didn’t love you enough that you had to walk on eggshells around me, and curate the things you share because you were worried I’ll explode in disappointment and anger.
We broke up because I didn’t love you enough to wait for you. I was always dissatisfied. Because everyone around me felt more successful than you. Because you had dreams, but you haven’t reached them yet and I was too impatient for the day that you would. Because I outgrew you. Because I wanted to settle down overseas, and you couldn’t. Because my plans made sense in my head, and yours didn’t.
We broke up because I wasn’t happy when you proposed. Because I wanted to end it even before the trip to Europe but I thought, with everything already booked I might as well do it after. Instead, I went back engaged. I wasn’t excited to share how I said ‘yes’, and was envious of my friends who were happily sharing their own proposals. I never even said I didn’t like the ring because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings — but now I can be honest to myself. I’ve only had one proposal so far, and it was the worst.
We broke up because I was bullied and exorcised for going out with you. Because I suffered alone and had to beg and cry for you to take my side. Because you never protected me from your friends who traumatised me and hurt me, and so I had to rely on myself to be resilient, survive, and heal.
We broke up because there was no reason for me to rely on you. I wanted you to spoil me, but you never spent as much as I spent on you. I was doing so well on my own throughout my career, throughout the times I moved to different countries, throughout the personal goals I smashed through — I was doing so well alone, there was absolutely no reason to miss you.
We broke up because someone said: love is a decision. For 2,922 days I decided to stay with you, until one day I decided I no longer wanted to.
I’m happier now, and I’m sure you are, too.