This is not like the experiences I’ve had before.
I’m going to be really honest in this post.
My significant other of four years and I broke up today. Truly, this morning, at breakfast, over eggs.
And I’m actually okay.
I never thought I could have a breakup that didn’t devastate me. In fact, just a year ago the thought of not having this very specific person in my life could be enough to send me spiraling into a well of depression and anxiety. But today, single again for the first time in a long while, I’m doing surprisingly fine.
Yes, I did give myself a headache from a good, hour long session of crying. No, I didn’t get any of what I planned to do today done, as I spent the time texting concerned friends and family. Absolutely, I am eating a ton of junk food at the time of this writing.
But I’ve already spent more time writing this article than we did discussing whether or not we should break up.
It’s been happening for a while now, I guess. Not only have we been growing apart in personalities, but we’ve discovered that our life goals are incompatible. He wants to travel. I like setting in roots.
If we’re not going to end up in the same place, why keep asking for compromises in a relationship where both parties already feel like they’ve given too much?
I’m not saying this wasn’t hard. It was a pretty rough day. I think I worried some people by not wanting to spend a lot of time talking about it. I’ve needed to process, and to be by myself. I also needed to move my stuff into the second bedroom we thankfully have.
This conversation was months in the making. Neither of us wanted to quit, but we couldn’t seem to stop asking ourselves if this was really right. Sure, we had some moments where we nitpicked at each other. My frustration with the situation would suddenly turn into a fierce anger that he never did the dishes. Which isn’t true, and he actually did a large number of them tonight while I cooked dinner for us both. That was the first time we’ve worked together on something in months, actually.
At the end of the day, we had been friends before the dating started. And yes, we had passion, romance, and frankly a lot of PDA in the last couple years. But that had been dying out for a while now, months, maybe as far back as a year. We, the stubborn folk that we are, stayed together this long because we wanted to be very, very sure.
And I guess we were.
I don’t remember how it started, but I remember being honest all of a sudden, without prompting, without concern that it would hurt his feelings. I remember discussing how it wasn’t working. How neither of us felt like this was our best option any more. How it really sucked, how we still cared about each other, but not in the same way we used to. And how we both felt confined and really wanted the freedom to do our own things. It was the first time we’d agreed on something for a while.
And then we were talking about finances and dividing up the furniture.
Breaking up when you’re on a lease together is odd. We don’t have the option of never speaking again, because now all of a sudden we’ve become roommates. Different bedrooms, same tv.
When one of us moves out, I’m going to have to buy my own tv.
I don’t know who has what long term plans. I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I don’t know if someday it will be weird, or even if someday our paths will converge back together.
I do know that I’m going to be sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor for a while, like a teenager. But somehow, instead of being a set back, right now that’s the most freeing thing I can imagine.
I also know that we’ve been more pleasant to each other today than we have in the last couple months. Even if we’re relearning how to interact with each other physically, we’ve made more compromises today than I can ever remember doing before.
For a couple days, this will probably still make me cry, knowing that we’re on separate paths. That this chapter of my life is over. But at the end of the day, I’m not really sad about it. I’m sad about not seeing his family anymore — we all got along really well. I’m annoyed about having to find a way to pay for my own Amazon Prime account. I’m worried about what my finances are going to look like, because they already weren’t good before.
But most of all I’m reassured. I’ve never had to be on my own before, not really. I’m about twelve hours in, but I can already tell you: I think I’m going to be alright. No matter what life throws my way, I can handle it.
And that’s something I wouldn’t have known before.