Air-out: Going through a breakup of a 7-year relationship

Break-ups are difficult, but not impossible.

When I was 17, I was new to the high school. We were in the same class. We all experienced this — having a crush on that cool guy / pretty girl in the class. At that time I was lucky that he returned the feelings. I fell head over heels for him, and then we got together after 2 weeks since our first conversation.

I was naive, so I didn’t think much about what I needed. I thought I would be guided by my feelings. I was and still am a headstrong girl, quite stubborn in fact. We argued a lot about what I should do or what I shouldn’t do. I didn’t like being criticized on my behavior. But I had that feeling of “I can’t lose him”, so that whenever we argued, and he ended the phone call, I would panic and call him back to apologize and compromise. The problem had been there for 7 years, but I chose to “fight”, or so I thought. We continued to argue but the result was the same every time in the past 7 years.

When I graduated from university, it went worse. A lot worse. I graduated and have a stable job, while he’s still studying in the university for his part-time Bachelor’s degree because he performed not so well in the public exam a few years ago, and not so well during the Associate degree. I did not care about our difference in academic achievement, and I still think public exams or university degrees do not define a person. However he cared a lot. He was ashamed that he was not as good as his (then) girlfriend. He became extremely insecure since I graduated. He was afraid that I would find others more attractive than him. But he did not tell me anything about these. He had not once mentioned his insecurities to me, not until the day after we broke up. Nevertheless I sensed it in him. I gave him a lot of insurance on his request and proactively by telling him who I hanged out with, how long I will be out, how many female friends will be present, and even declined the social events just because I don’t want him to argue with me for these things again.

I thought I did enough. But it would never be enough. The insecurities didn’t come from my actions, but were stemmed from him, his very inner soul. The thought that he would never be enough for his girlfriend, that he would never be better than the people around me, killed the relationship.

Or was it a romantic relationship? Looking back, I am not very sure now. Whenever I wanted to kiss him in public, he said there were too many people. OK, perhaps he was really that shy. Whenever I wanted to lay my head on his shoulder, he said it was too itchy, and ask me not to do it. Whenever I said something sweet like, “please miss me when I am away.” He would say nothing. (After the breakup he told me that he thought I said so because I did not trust him, and that I thought he would be with other girls. I was like ???)

I was so frustrated. And I was even more frustrated by his real thoughts that he shared after the breakup. Then he told me 4 years ago when I tried to break up with him for the first time, a female classmate during the Associate degree approached him and he considered to be with her instead because he thought eventually I would dump him for boys I meet in the university. He didn’t tell me before because he knew that if he told me during the first breakup, I would not have returned to him. It was this enlightening moment that I finally understood after this 7-year relationship that I have never known this person. He hid so much from me. And he had never trusted me. I have always been an extremely faithful and loyal kind of person. I could not bear that he thought of me in this way. Considering that we used to talk on phone every night, which was 2592 times using a duration counter to be exact (excluding the calls during the day), it was FUCKING SCARY.

2 months ago, I donated some money to a very talented friend who wanted to pursue further study but did not have enough to support himself. My ex-boyfriend argued with me on values, saying that I was illogical to donate money to my friend because no one should ever get money other than through working. I said, I did not think it was wrong because my friend worked very hard for both studies and money, and that he was so close to his target now that another university accepted him. This friend declined one fellowship offer 1–2 years ago because of his limited savings. I did not want him to decline again and wait for a few more years. In the end I stood my ground, but my ex-boyfriend still made me compromised to “ask for his advice before any future donation to anyone”. I was very pissed off, but I felt the need to protect my relationship, so I said OK. Now that after the breakup, he told me that he knew that I was right, and I should always stand my ground. And that he argued with me ONLY BECAUSE he felt that my friend stole my attention and love for him. I WAS FUCKING MAD after hearing this. But I did not care to scold this ex-boyfriend at all because my heart went cold.

So it was like this every time. Every time we had any argument in these past 7 years, he would say things to make me feel guilty and wrong. When in fact it was just him not wanting me to do things. Some examples are, he doesn’t want me to hug my colleagues for saying good-bye when they are leaving for holidays. I said it was common and just a friendly gesture, and I said we did that to both male and female colleagues. He said it was not about the gender. Then I asked him if it’s ok to hug my female colleague XXX, he said of course. Then I said so it was about gender. And then he said no. Then I said so we don’t discuss this anymore because we don’t have the same view and that’s all. Then he became angry and said he couldn’t accept this at all. He didn’t allow me to let it be, instead he must make me compromise. I said no, you were making me compromise, and he said no, we were reaching a consensus. I did compromise at the end. Every time it was like this. I said OK, so I would not hug them.

He knew that whenever I promise something, I always keep my promises. And so he made me promise all the time. I promised not to drink coffee, because it’s not good for my health. I promised not to drink wine, because it’s not good for my health (of course I believe he was also scared that I would be taken advantages by my colleagues when I was drunk, which I don’t think it will ever happen because I can drink A LOT and I am a very disciplined person that I will never drink to become drunk.) I promised not to dye my hair light, because he doesn’t like it. I promised not to travel alone, because he doesn’t allow it. I WAS FUCKING SUBMISSIVE MY GOD. WTF WAS WRONG WITH ME? If I was my usual self, I would never have made these stupid compromises. Everyone knows that even at work I say whatever I like, and I do whatever pleases me. WHY THE FUCK would I have said yes to everything he asked for? I know, because I cherished the relationship too much. So much to an extent that it hurts my personal well-being that I feel stressed all the time. So much that I didn’t know since when I have fallen out of love with him. So much that after crying 2 days for the breakup, I felt nothing else other than happiness.

After the enlightening night of break-up talk, I did a lot of reflection. What did I do wrong to let such a ridiculous relationship continue for 7 years? I was so angry at him and myself. I felt deceived. My biggest takeaway was that I was too impulsive when I was 17. I did not know this person when we started the relationship, and I did not know what I wanted in a partner.

I did not think before getting in the relationship.

And year after year, I looked at the number of years that we dated, I thought of the time when we first met, I cherished so much the figure of “him” that I loved, I cherished so much this long relationship, that I decided to do everything I can possibly do to keep the relationship.

But I didn’t think about whether this relationship was keep-worthy or not.

Some things in our life just happen. This guy no matter how wrong he was for me, he was there at that time. I might as well have had a crush on someone else at that time and got together, and it’s just that the universe decided that it was him. It didn’t mean that I have to be with him forever just because he had been here for so long.

Now I understand one very important thing:

If you need to hurt and twist yourself so much in order to keep the relationship, the two of you are simply not meant to be together.

I am so much happier and sexier after getting out of this relationship because I can finally be myself and do whatever I like.

For anyone out there suffering, I wish this new life for you too.