I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
I sent him a text asking him how he was handling the break up and he replied,
“She made the wrong choice.”
I knew his words were out of pain and desperation. She had been the only woman he had ever truly fought for. He told me they had discussed getting married by the end of the year. All words that most people will say in their lifetime but coming from a guy who was notorious for not settling down or ever living with another woman, his words carried a bit more weight than the average.
But she had ended things and he wasn’t taking it well by anyone’s standards. He would text me about how embarrassed he was. He would cry and beg and attempt to reason with her. He fought so hard to keep her that he missed the point. She simply didn’t want him anymore.
And that’s how breakups work. We like to believe that there is something we can “fix”. As if just modify some of our behaviors will make the difference, but what we don’t realize is that the behaviors are indicative of something bigger – that we are changing. All of us are constantly evolving. We are molded by our surroundings. The news, our co-workers, books, movies, our families, death, infidelity, responsibilities – all of these forces are constantly pushing and pulling on our subconscious and altering who we are, what we believe, and how we react. And sometimes we simply evolve in different directions.
“Keep in mind, it’s not about right or wrong choices – it’s about compatibility.” I texted, “You don’t need to convince me of how good of a dude you are. The fact is, right now she is not in a position to be able to appreciate everything you have to offer.”
And that was the truth. But the brutal truth was, she simply doesn’t want him anymore. And once someone makes up their mind, it’s almost impossible to bring them back. Now plenty of people can guilt someone to stay with crying or bullying or threats. Some can even go so far as convince their partner that they can change everything for the better – but their change almost stick, because they aren’t that person anymore. And when a person has one foot out the door, they almost never come back in.
But breakups are good.
Why? Because while the foundation of a relationship is love and communication, compatibility is the mortar that holds the house together. And if you aren’t evolving in the same direction, if you both don’t look to each other for inspiration, and if you no longer feel adequately appreciated – your relationship is already over. And so many of us will do our best to save it. But fighting for a lost cause isn’t noble when it is born out of fear of being alone. Healthy relationships are held together by equal and mutual levels of happiness. Where you both have a desire to make each other happy. And if one person stops trying, their level falls. And when their level falls – stress, spite, and anxiety creep through the cracks and begin ruining the foundation. When someone suggests a breakup, it really means, “I am unhappy that your evolution is not on pace with mine” Because no one has ever ended a relationship who has felt loved, fulfilled, and truly appreciated.
He sent a text, “Yeah, I know you’re right.”
One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my journey is to recognize when someone is no longer in love. When someone stops trying, they have fallen out of love with you. Oh, you can certainly still love someone, but I’m talking about IN love. There is a huge distinction. And if you don’t recognize that, then you have never been truly in love. Because when you’re IN love, you want to do everything to see them smile. Whether it is something simple like surprising them with a pizza or buying them $10 grocery store flowers for the hell of it or texting them funny cat memes because you know it will make their gloomy work day a little bit brighter, even just for a second or two. Because those seconds count. And when you’re in love, you should want to think of new ways to brighten a few more seconds in the life of the person you love. Because they are an investment and you want to see your investment grow and become healthy.
Relationships need constant work. You don’t simply “attain” relationship status and relax and sink back into the couch. You make that couch comfortable for the both of you. You fluff up the damn pillows and you pull out a heated blanket and you order sushi and you put on the shows you both like. Because you care. And because few things in the world should make you happier than seeing the person you’re IN love with, smile.