We Need to Break Up
I realized the other night that I need to separate from my partner.
Today, I’m struggling to pull the trigger. He sees that I’m not okay, and so he’s naturally being closer, more affectionate. In anxiety, he latches onto me.
It makes it harder to build up the courage to sit him down and say, I can’t do this anymore.
Because unfortunately, love is not enough.
It doesn’t matter that I love him more than I’ve loved anyone. Or that I’m one of the most important things in his life. Or that we’ve become family.
None of that means that the relationship is sustainable or is moving in the direction of what I want and need.
I’ve spent eight years thinking this would be the person I’d marry and have children with. And I spent quite a few years waiting for him to get down on one knee.
And then all of a sudden a little over a year ago, he expressed how much he wanted that life and that family soon — as immediately as possible. I jumped on that, truly hopeful for the first time in a while. But it was short-lived.
As we struggled through the pandemic, it became clear to me — really, it’s crystallized in this last couple of days — that he’s not ready, has never been ready, and likely won’t ever be ready if we stay together.
As it is, I can’t count on him. I can’t count on him to take care of responsibilities or hold up his end of bargains. I suspect that if we had a child, I’d be the one who had to be the one in charge of and on top of everything.
I don’t want that. I want a partner who carries his own weight, and someone who can, when it’s necessary, hold me up.
I used to think that you could grow within a relationship, and maybe some people can grow in certain ways. But I don’t think that two people who are as enmeshed as we are can work while together on those tendencies that lead to that enmeshment.
Together, he leans on me, and I allow him to do so.
But he needs to build his own life, find his own path, begin to love himself and take care of himself.
There was a time when he really did need me, and I was there, and I got him through it. But now, my care is mostly enablement. It gets in the way of him doing the work he needs to do.
And it gets in the way of my life. I need to learn how to live for myself and have an existence that doesn’t involve consistently worrying over someone else. What sort of life will I have if I don’t learn that lesson? Not an expansive one, I suspect.
So I need to talk to him. Need to tell him.
But ending a relationship of eight years — a relationship that is in many ways positive and happy — is the worst thing I’ve ever had to do. And as he lays there on the couch, unsuspecting, I find myself faltering.
I don’t want to do this.
I’ve written about this relationship before…
If you’d like to write for Introspection, Exposition, check out our submission guidelines here: