Why My 6 Year Relationship Ended & The Big Lesson I Learned
— Anonymous, 26 year old male
It’s easy to hide the problems in a relationship when you’re away for half the week. I’m a traveling consultant who was dating my girlfriend for almost six years. For most of our relationship, we’d just spend time together on the weekends. I was ready to propose to her and had all the plans laid out. Before I was getting ready to pop the question, one of my friends told me I should use the Marriage Material app to confirm our compatibility. I took the quizzes when I was alone in my hotel room having a few drinks. I was surprised when I took the first test. 58% compatibility.
Who’s an app to tell me about the merits of my relationship?
So I closed it, and decided not to think about it. The next weekend, I was spending time with my then girlfriend and the questions I answered flashed in my mind every time I bit my tongue in a minor disagreement. Since we only saw each other on the weekends, it was easy for me to be very accommodating to her because I could let loose by myself come Monday morning when I would get on a jet plane and leave her presence.
We were sitting next to each other at dinner that weekend and a few of the questions I thought about when I looked at my girlfriend across from me were:
“Do we have the same interests?”
“Do we have the same religious beliefs?”
“Do I share my intimate secrets with her?”
I realized then I hadn’t told her a secret in years. I’d go to other people for emotional support. We were sharing a dinner, sharing plates of Tapas at a trendy Spanish restaurant, but our minds couldn’t be further apart. I tried not to think about it. We talked about how delicious the food was. We watched a movie later that night. Then she went to sleep as I continued to play video games for a couple of hours trying to drown out my thoughts. This had become our routine.
When I got to work next week, I purchased the question pack and took all the quizzes. After taking the quizzes, I realized I was doing everything to numb and distance myself from the fact that I felt so alone in the relationship. A couple of weeks later I decided to open up about my concerns about the relationship to my then girlfriend. She took a step back. I poured her some red wine. I poured myself a healthy glass of scotch.
“I really wanted it to be you.”
I was shocked by her response. Wanted? Past tense? Apparently she had been having doubts about the relationship for the past six months but was too scared to talk to me about it. She had been trying to be happy in the relationship because she thought I was so happy in it. After a long conversation we both realized that we weren’t on the same page about our futures. Maybe that’s why I delayed asking her to marry me multiple times.
We tried to make things work by being honest with our thoughts and desires for a while. That’s another story in itself, but in the process our relationship did improve, mostly because we had created a place for dialog.
However, eventually we went our separate ways. It took a lot of courage to leave a relationship I spent so much time cultivating over six years. But, I’m happy I did it. I spent a great six years with her I’ll never forget. Not every relationship ends because it was a bad relationship.
In the future, though, I’m going to keep myself honest and check up on any future relationships I have by asking the right questions about who I am and who my partner is.