Why Knowing Why You Broke-up is So Important

14 09 2012

Photo: Geeklawblog.com

“Hey, how are you?”

I looked at my phone in disbelief the other day, trying to figure out if my eyes were playing tricks on me. I rubbed my eyes, blinked a few times and then looked again, but it was still there. On my phone really was a text message from a guy I’d broken up with over a year 1/2 ago.
I looked at the phone again and even though I hesitated, I eventually decided to respond back with polite pleasantries.

And everything was fine for awhile. He’d wanted to know how I was doing. If things were going well for me. If I still lived in DC. You know, the basics – nothing too harmless. Until he asked if I was seeing someone, engaged, married, and/or in love. That’s when I knew that his text wasn’t one of those “I just want to make sure you’re doing well” inquiries. No, he wanted to see if I was available.

I told him that I was neither and that I’d recently ended things with someone and quickly tried to send that conversation to another topic, namely on him and how he was doing. I wanted to be clear without being harsh that even though I was single, I was not available to him.

He was having none of it, however. And proceeded to inform me that he still thought of me all the time and that he had every intention of pursuing me to the best of his abilities.

Oh boy.

This was not good. Especially because I knew that I had no intentions on getting back with this man. We could be friends, because by most accounts, he was a good guy – but I’d closed the door on that relationship a long time ago. And I thought he had as well.

A few days later I talked to one of my friends about the situation, explaining to her that I was so confused by his stance on the matter considering how we’d ended. Sure, it was an amicable ending. We actually ended up laughing during our “break-up” conversation. But the lead-up to it had been anything but that. We were arguing all the time. We’d both realized that we had two different ideas of what it meant to be in a relationship, and most importantly I’d realized that while I liked him – I was never going to have the same feelings for him that he had for me.

And all of this was coupled with the fact that we were long distance. This was also all before he let me know that I was someone he wanted to settle down with.

As bad as it sounds, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I just didn’t want to continue dating a guy who was falling for me, but who I just liked. Contrary to what those old wise women say, that did not make me happy. So I did the only thing I felt was right. I ripped the band-aid off and ended the relationship before I could hurt him any further. And I made sure to explain all of that when we talked that fateful night in March of 2011.

Had he forgotten all of that, I asked my friend. And if he hadn’t, how could he still think we should be together? And what was I supposed to say to a guy who was a nice guy, but just wasn’t the guy for me? I thought I’d done this already. No? Why was I having to do this all over again a month after ending things with someone else? I mean, could I get a break from these damn serious arse conversations????

After listening to my barrage of questions, my friend calmly said to me, “you know I think the thing is that unlike a lot of people, you tend to know why a relationship ended for you. And that makes it easier for you to not look back. Most of us forget after awhile and we just start remembering the good things and want that person back.”

She was right. Once she explained it that way, I could see how someone could look back and have relationship amnesia. I mean, hell, I’d been that person before, but one of the many things I’d learned from dealing with Jake and Cosby was that looking back on the past with rosey glasses only set myself up for going back to the past and trying to act like things would be different. Sometimes it would be different, for awhile. But eventually, the very same reason it had ended before would come up to the surface… again.

Maybe those experiences had made me more resistant to the idea of going back to exes. And maybe they’d taught me that break-ups happen because something doesn’t work in that relationship and that denying that fact only brings more pain and heartache.

What this experience was teaching me was that everyone has different perspectives on what happened in a relationship.

I finally spoke with the guy a few days later and tried to get across the point that we’d ended because there were several things that didn’t work between us. His response was indicative of the difference between the two of us. “I don’t remember it that way,” he said.

But I did. I knew why we’d broken up. And I wasn’t looking forward to looking back with him.

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