I recently broke up with my girlfriend of a year and a half. We met each other during the breakdown of our marriages and helped each other through hard times as friends, nothing more.
Eventually, after we separated we became romantically involved and things developed from there. We moved in together after six months and until recently had the best relationship we could have wanted. We enjoyed each other’s company, were best friends and talked about the future.
About four months ago something changed for me. I started treating her with ambivalence and had second thoughts about being in the relationship. I was not happy. After three months of this, I broke up with her. Until that time I had not said anything about the way I was feeling.
I told her I didn’t think I loved her anymore and didn’t think I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. A few days later I realized I was wrong in my decision and told her so. I didn’t want things to be over. After a month she said she wanted to work things out, too.
Question is, how do we deal with the uncomfortableness we feel about being together again? How do we start over and what can we do to remove the discomfort?
Derrick, you thought about leaving for three months before you told her. You weren’t having second thoughts. Your thought was, I don’t have feelings for you. So you left.
And came back. Did you realize you loved her, or did you realize that the space she filled was now empty and you didn’t love that? It’s almost as if you moved out before you had another apartment lined up.
People often don’t tell their boyfriend or girlfriend, their husband or wife, they are looking for someone else because they want to have that person installed in their life before they leave.
After you broke up you simply failed to do the next step: date other people until you found the one you love above all others. You two were a crutch for each other in a difficult time. That’s all. But once a crutch is no longer needed it is put aside.
Why does it feel awkward now? Because it’s supposed to feel awkward. Your heart is inconstant. This can happen again and you both know it. Your feelings toward her are limited, and you know love is unlimited.
What does it mean to say you will work on this relationship? Is this work, like working on an assembly line? Would you go to baseball games so you can work on loving baseball? Working on it and love have little to do with each other. What you seek is the relationship like no other. Working on it means, I will act contrary to my true feelings.
Anton Chekhov, the Russian short story writer, said, “If you are afraid of loneliness, do not marry.” What he meant was, in a wrong relationship you will feel the greatest loneliness of all.
She can’t trust an inconstant heart and neither can you. You care about her, she’s a good person, but she’s not the one for you.
Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of April 4, 2016
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