I broke up with my girlfriend about a month ago and I miss her like hell. There. I said it.
It was the hardest thing I ever did and will probably stay that way for quite some time. I had to gather more courage than I even thought I had but I did it.
Let me be clear. This breakup wasn’t the I hate you kind of breakup. I broke up with her while still being in love with her because I could see we were diverging and knew it would be better to break up now than when we’d be married and have children.
Like anybody else, I absolutely sucked at giving the news. I didn’t know what to say even though I had thought hard about it and tried to imagine every potential way the conversation could go. Yet, the shock was so big, she couldn’t process it and kept on telling me one thing.
“I don’t understand.”
Those words, repeated over and over again, got carved into my skull and just thinking about it brings me back to that fatal evening. I will probably connect those words to this experience for many years to come.
It felt clear for me but my own tears probably prevented me from seeing the full picture and choosing the right words. It was a long and difficult conversation at the end of which she left my flat. It was done. And yet I felt like the worst person on earth for having broken such a beautiful and pure heart.
A few days later, I received a message from her telling me that, after I suddenly disappeared from her world, she had thought a lot and realized she wouldn’t be able to move on without clearing misunderstandings left in the air. A new conversation was thus planned on the next Saturday.
I spent my week worrying. “She’s definitely going to try to get back together, right?” But then the day came and a long open conversation ensued. She had thought hard about it and really just wanted to become able to turn the page.
Complaints, thanks, laughs, tears, hugs. It had it all. Even discoveries on topics we hadn’t shared enough about.
My worries flew away as the conversation unfolded and we left my flat after 3 hours, her stuff packed, and went for drinks one last time. Or to be more precise for the first and last time as we realized we had never gone alone just drinking. It had been a byproduct of restaurants and such.
The experience was majestic, to say the least. I spent what will be remembered as one of my best evenings with her. A long conversation about our future and how we could both move on and what we should improve on our sides so that the next person could be the right one. From laughing to crying in the middle of the bar, we definitely looked like crazy people.
This experience forged me and opened my eyes to a few things and that’s what I think needs sharing more than anything else.
There’s no perfect time
It doesn’t matter the reason why you might want to break up, you should always try to hurt the other person the least and that starts with when you do it.
Even if you were hurt before, if your lives are about to be separated, you should wish for that person to become better. For this reason, we often push the time of a breakup, waiting for the right time. But there isn’t such a thing.
Waiting for the next weekend, or the next time at your place, or the after that trip you’ve planned… Those are all excuses to push that fatal moment.
Either way, it’ll hurt so do it when you are sure you want to break up. Don’t delay it. I know both me and my ex would be in a happier place now if I hadn’t pushed it away. For the single reason that more time would have passed by now.
Create an exchange
While the decision might be taken on your side, the other person also has their own thoughts and feelings and will need to share them to be able to move forward.
It might be the end of this relationship, but there will be other people for both of you. Creating an exchange now and suddenly learning more about your soon-to-be-ex will make you grow and avoid similar mistakes in the future.
It’ll be hard. It’ll hurt you like hell. You’ll hate yourself for allowing you to hear tough things. But that pain will help you internalize them and become a better person.
Set barriers but play with them
Going to drink with your now-newly-ex sounds like a recipe for disaster. Who knows, you might say awful things or even want to suddenly find a solution that’ll fix everything. I know I did.
Yet, that time is also necessary to get the much-needed closure both of you deserve. If that’s the last time you’ll be seeing that person, then make the best of this bad situation.
Forbid yourself of certain actions but allow yourself to go just above if it can help you process the experience and go forward afterward.
A breakup is not about the past
It’s about the future and what it holds for you. The reflection needed to make the decision cannot be just about the past. It has to be about what you expect the future to be.
After a decision is made, there is no turning back. Wondering “What ifs” won’t change anything.
We noted with my ex that we had a problem with communicating our feelings and bringing to the table tough conversations. Yes, there is a solution to this. Yes, we could have set times where we reflect on our relationship. But we didn’t.
“Remember, you can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”
Wondering about the past won’t help you move on so spend that breakup period to make your peace with your errors and the relationship itself. Only this way can you move on.
Relationships are experiences stacked one on another again and again. Some may be bad, but positive ones were definitely present. Remember those and be thankful.
Some people think it’s wrong to say thanks to the person you break-up with. I disagree. Yes, they may not want to hear it now. But in a difficult situation, those words will be remembered and that person can know how much you cared and loved them.
Negativity is attached to the experience of breaking up. But if you open yourself to the power of thankfulness, then a small ray of light will shine through the clouds to help both of you to find peace and acceptance.
I’ve already told her how thankful I am for all the different things I experienced with her but let me say it one last time:
Thank you for everything Shiho. 本当にありがとう。