This past summer, I ended a two-year relationship. I knew it was the right thing to do – the relationship no longer made me happy – but it was still SO hard. He was up for a big promotion, I was in the middle of waiting to hear about the big contests I’d entered – so many things were up in the air for both of us. We’d seen each other through a lot of stressful stuff leading up to that moment. As we tearfully said our goodbyes, I told him that I’d like to know whether he got the promotion and asked if he wanted to hear from me about the contests. He said, “No, I can’t look back. I can only look forward. I don’t want to hear from you.”
At the time, I was desperately sad. I couldn’t blame him – I was the one ending the relationship and I knew he was hurt. But my past experience had led me to believe that contact after a break up was normal. It didn’t necessarily feel good (in fact it usually felt crappy, like constantly moving your tongue around a sore tooth), but it was normal. This time I had to suddenly go from talking on the phone multiple times a day to not at all and I didn’t know how to handle it.
Over the last several days, I’ve felt something brewing under my skin that I knew needed to be handled – a friendship that has been very meaningful, but which is no longer healthy for me. Tonight I had to “break up” with my friend, telling them that for a while I need to not have contact.
I suddenly have so much more compassion for my ex. A teacher once said to me that you’ll never fully understand something until you’ve been on both sides of it. I fought against that lesson for a long time, but once again I’m learning how true it is. It is only in experiencing this situation with a friend that I can finally understand why my ex asked to not hear from me and I can fully support and respect his decision. At the time I thought he was being immature and vindictive. Now I think he was probably acting in a healthier way than I was. That’s not something I thought I’d ever say, but I’m grateful to see it.
He’s a good man and he deserves a wonderful life with someone who will be a much better match for him than I was. And I deserve the same.