‘I spent nearly half of my relationship not loving my partner.’

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We broke up, and I’m totally okay with it.

It’s not that there was anything wrong with him or me – there was something wrong with our relationship. There was no love left.

I haven’t loved him since our first ‘break’ – nine months before it was over for good. It took me five months after that to realise, and four months after that to finally break it off for good.

Is that cruel? Yep. I spent nine months of a 21-month relationship not loving my partner. How could anyone justify that as not cruel? I sure as hell can’t.

In the end, I was selfish. It was almost as if we had been broken up for months before it was officially over. I wasn’t present in the relationship, I was too busy focusing on bettering myself and changing my life and who I was.

But if I was being selfish and helping myself, was it really that cruel? Yes and no.

Yes, because I could have ended things, let him be free, let him move on from such an unhappy relationship.

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No, because I felt unsure and indecisive, and couldn’t stop asking myself questions. Would I miss him? Would I regret my decision? Could I start loving him again? Do I actually not love him or am I just convincing myself I don’t? Can I be alone? I couldn’t be sure of any of it.

I could be called heartless – little things he did started to annoy me, I avoided spending time with him, I didn’t reply to his messages or answer the phone, I began to wonder if it would be better to be with someone else and made up excuses for him to leave my house so that I could watch Netflix. I told all of my friends how I felt about him before I told him. I stayed so long in an expired relationship that I ended up despising it.

It sounds like I was just plain old horrible towards him. In reality, I was struggling way more than I was letting on. I cried myself to sleep so many nights, not because I was sad or felt sorry for myself, but because I knew I was hurting him and I didn’t know how to stop without hurting myself. I so badly wanted to love him like I used to, and want to be with him and have a perfect and happy relationship, I was almost convinced it would somehow all fall into place – I just couldn’t bring myself to accept it was never going to happen.

I look back now though and realise that of all the things he gave me, the kind of love I yearned for wasn’t one of them. Maybe if I’d have learnt to accept that and adapted my own way of loving to suit his, we would still be together. But I didn’t, and we’re not.

The end of the relationship left me feeling like I was claustrophobic. I was stuck in a box I couldn’t get out of and I kept getting so worked up and anxious I couldn’t calm myself down enough to realise there was a lever right in front of me. I was freaking out about the relationship and questioning absolutely everything for so long that I didn’t take five minutes to truly think about what I should and needed to do. Eventually, I did. I pulled the lever, broke up with him, and finally got out of the box and the relationship.

After months of going back and forth on my decision, trying to fix the relationship, trying to fix myself and trying to fix him, it took me taking the leap and breaking up with him to realise I truly was better off without him. As was he without me.

When people ask me why we broke up, it’s hard to give them a straight answer. Essentially, I broke up with him because I wasn’t in love with him anymore. But why wasn’t I in love with him? Well, that I can’t answer. I have no idea why. I wish I could give him an answer, too. I could say ‘we just changed and grew apart’, but he didn’t, he stayed the exact same as the start of the relationship. Something within me just changed and I can’t pinpoint anything that went wrong, I can only say I fell out of love. Maybe my lifestyle and outlook on life changed, maybe my feelings changed or maybe it was a mixture of both.

I can’t find a moment where I felt like I moved on. Hell, I can’t even remember the period of time. It might have been towards the end of the relationship or maybe as soon as we broke up, but I just can’t find the moment I did. All I know is, at some point I must have moved on because right now, just over a month after our break up, my feelings for him are gone.

Osher Gunsberg’s love advice…

I learnt three major lessons during this experience.

The biggest lesson of this break up was for me to trust myself. Trust my feelings and my gut instinct no matter how scared I am of where they will leave me – I have feelings for a reason and I must learn to have faith that they will lead me in the right direction and I will end up where I need to be.

I also learnt that it’s okay to be selfish, but I also have to continue to be mindful of the other person. I could have definitely improved on that front, but that brings me to my last lesson – forgiveness.

Forgive him for not being what I longed for. People shouldn’t have to change their entire personality for you and it probably means they’re just not right for you. But also, forgive myself for hurting him. Sure, I could have handled things in a better way, and I could have been very different in our relationship, but it’s in the past now.

I’ve apologised to him, I’ve apologised to myself so now it’s time to go onwards and upwards.

For more on relationships:

Breakups in the age of social media: we’ve never had it so bad.

Why some women who love having sex are choosing to be celibate.

Three weeks after giving birth, Jen realised her ‘perfect’ husband was anything but.

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