BY RACHEL WONG
When I broke up with Adam* after a failing relationship that lasted six months, I was finally free from all kinds of unhappiness. Admittedly, I had fallen in love with Adam very quickly – one minute we were talking for the first time, the next minute we were holding hands. Soon after we were meeting the families and stealing kisses from each other.
Our relationship started before we knew it and unraveled just as quickly. Though we would see each other on a regular basis, he would always avoid talking to me. He was always too busy to hang out, never comforted me in my time of need and did not want to be seen with me when his friends were around. I couldn’t understand why he was acting this way, especially when a few weeks beforehand he was calling me “the best thing that had ever happened to him” and “his beautiful girlfriend.”
Now, almost two years after we parted ways, we seem to be on amicable terms. But over the two years, I never had closure. I never understood why he broke up with me. What did I do? Did I say something, or do something? Did he fall in love with someone else? Was I not pretty enough, skinny enough, good enough?
Recently I worked up the courage to ask Adam why he acted the way he did towards me during our supposed relationship. His answer was simple – “I just fell out of love with you.”Though he apologized profusely for leading me on and not owning up to his feelings towards me sooner, it led me to two conclusions.
First, it made me reflect on how poorly I had dealt with past relationships. At first, when Adam began apologizing to me for unnecessarily dragging out our “relationship,” I was upset. But then I realized that I had done the same thing with other guys that I had previously dated, and now I was finally getting a taste of my own medicine. Of course, the choice to end a relationship is by no means an easy one – it takes time and discernment. However, while I was sorting out my feelings, I kept putting it off, in part because I didn’t know what I wanted and also because I was afraid of being single again. I didn’t want to experience life on my own after spending so many months having someone to always lean on. It was irresponsible and unfair to the guys that I did that to, and for that, I feel so awful.
On the other hand, it made me realize that our relationship’s failings were not my own fault. I spent two years holding onto the burden of thinking that I wasn’t good enough for Adam. Once I told myself this enough times, I began to believe it. I began to believe that if I wasn’t good enough for Adam, I wouldn’t be good enough for anyone. For a large portion of time afterwards, I avoided the entire dating scene and lost confidence in my ability to ever be in a relationship. I continually told myself that the only reason why I was single was because I was a terrible girlfriend.
The closure that I finally received was verbal affirmation from Adam that it wasn’t all me. It takes two people to love, and it also takes two people to fall out of love sometimes. But more than that, remember that even if someone breaks up with you, it does not mean that you are worthless, that you are a terrible girlfriend/boyfriend, or that you will never be in a relationship again. Sometimes we just fall in love with the wrong person at the wrong time, and that’s no one’s fault. So whether you’re single or in a relationship, take the time to appreciate all of life’s stages, as each bring with them different lessons and offer you different perspectives.
* Name changed to protect privacy.
Rachel Wong is a Communications and International Studies student at Simon Fraser University. Aside from Speak Out, Rachel is also a regular contributor for the Student Life Network and SFU’s student newspaper The Peak. She loves going on foodie adventures, kicking back with friends and telling other people’s stories – all while writing her own. Her dream is to read off a teleprompter for a living one day. Rachel hopes to help change the way society looks at mental illness, one word at a time. You can find more of Rachel’s work at http://rchlcwng.blogspot.com.