Why It Doesn't Matter Why He Broke Up With You

It may be about "you,” but that doesn't mean you should look at his breakup words as a homework assignment.

Why It Doesn’t Matter Why He Broke Up With You

It may be about “you,” but that doesn’t mean you should look at his breakup words as a homework assignment.

-Julia Austin

Break up

When someone dies, we try to negotiate. We think of all the things we could have done to prevent it. We think of all the ways we could have been nicer to them before they left. We think about that time we said a mean word and didn’t apologize, or the time we were short with them because we’d had a bad day at work, the time we weren’t appreciative enough when they made us dinner or the time we were suspicious of them and they really hadn’t done anything wrong. We think if I had just, just, just…

But, you can’t negotiate with death, and a break-up is like a death—you can’t negotiate with it either. At least, you shouldn’t try. I’m not talking about having a conversation about an issue in your relationship. In those, you should absolutely hear one another out and try to come to some solution. I’m talking about the moment your partner comes to you and says “this is beyond fixing.”

Read What’s the Craziest, Stupidest Thing You’ve Done for Love?

I know. Those words he said are eating you alive. “I just don’t want a relationship right now,” “I think we need to figure out who we are on our own,” “We just want different things out of life,” “We want different things out of a relationship,” “You’re smothering me,” “You’re never there for me.”

And you’re trying to figure out how? How did we want different things? How is it such a bad thing to be in a relationship? How did he figure that we didn’t already know who we were on our own? Most importantly—what did I do to lead him to that conclusion? What little moments, what daily actions, what words added up to this relationship-ending conclusion he came to?

Here’s the problem with this negotiation. Maybe you were too needy, too demanding, too aloof, too emotionally cut off, too emotional. Maybe you were.

But you know what else you were? You.

Yes, you could promise to be better at this or that if he would just take you back. You could write up a whole 10 page contract with three appendices specifying everything you promise to do different. But…that would be miserable to do. Any degree of having to monitor yourself would be miserable.

Of course, we make adjustments and compromises within reason to make our relationships run more smoothly. But think about all the changes you’d have to make to get this one back and running smoothly. Are they really within reason? Do you really want to have to think about the way you behave around your partner? Do you really want to walk on eggshells? Hold back your feelings? Pretend to feel things you don’t feel?

Even more importantly, even if he was right—even if it could do you some good to change in one way or another—if you totally didn’t see that coming before he said it, then you are far from implementing those changes into your life to a degree that would actually help the relationship.

Many times, when I’ve broken up with someone, instead of telling him he was too x, y, or z I have been SO tempted to just say, “Because you’re too you. And that’s fine. It just doesn’t work for me.”

Maybe you were too needy, too pushy, too aloof, too emotionally cut off. But you were only too much of any of that for him. For someone else, you won’t be. Don’t look at his breakup words as a homework assignment—a write up of all your flaws. Just look at it as him recognizing that who you are doesn’t work with who he is. And the very simple fact that he felt that way should be enough evidence for you that who HE is doesn’t work for YOU.

One more reason you shouldn’t dissect his breakup words: it might have been complete BS. He may have just been saying whatever came to his head—whatever he’d read somewhere—to get the job done.

Actually, yeah. Just look at it that way. Saves you a headache.

Julia Austin is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She covers travel, lifestyle and love+sex for a number of media outlets including Discovery’s PlanetGreen, LipGlossCulture.com, and QuickieChick.com, a site dedicated to giving busy women quick and easy workouts, recipes and lifestyle tips to better their body and mood. When she isn’t writing she is planning her next trip or sharing dating stories with her friends at happy hour.


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