When someone straight-up tells you that the relationship isn’t working and that they don’t want to continue, it can feel wounding if you don’t share their view and are caught off guard. Hell, even if you feel similarly, you still might regard their declaration as a sign that they’ve failed to see the value of you or the potential in the relationship. When you’re not in agreement on the breakup or see it as a sign of your failure, you’re likely to attempt to get them to work at things.
But not everyone comes out straight and says that they want to break up. Some people behave badly and treat you like shit so that you end the relationship instead.
In this scenario, you’re still in the relationship trying to sell the idea of you and them together. You’re trying to realise the potential that you misguidedly still think exists. The fact, though, that they stay but don’t work at the relationship or their words consistently contradict their actions, doesn’t mean there is a potential or that they’re working at it. It means that they’re dropping hints so that you will do the heavy lifting of the breakup. Sometimes they want to come out smelling like roses no matter how badly they behave, so they put it on you. Then they can say that they were ‘trying’ without being honest with themselves about the passive-aggression.
Neither of these breakup scenarios warrants continuing. To do so is like trying to flog a dead horse and breathe life into the carcass.
In fact, both situations scream this:
Hell, I know I’m crazy about this person and the sex is off the chains, and I think they’re my soulmate and blah, blah, blah. Still, if they don’t want to be with me, for whatever reason, I’m going to take every ounce of strength and dignity that I have left and tell them to take a run and jump because something must be wrong if this is happening. And it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with me.
These breakup scenarios are major signs that all is not well. I know this, and deep down, you know this. The reality, though, is that many women don’t want to see things for what they are. We’ve been socialised to ‘see the best’ and ‘potential’ in others, and to believe it’s our job to ‘fix’ and ‘convince’ people, especially men, into relationships. We want to see shades of grey where there is hard-edged black and white, and gold where there is rusty, jacked-up copper. Sometimes we want to keep the rose-tinted glasses on.
But…you can’t make someone love you and, actually, you shouldn’t have to.
I have often mentioned about ramming your love down someone’s throat. When you try to pursue a relationship with people that don’t want you, this is what you’re doing.
Any person who does not see the value in you is not worth knowing or pursuing.
If they are ever going to see your value, it won’t be because you stuck to their side like glue and told them how much you loved them no matter how badly they treated you. They finally ‘see’ your value because you went about your merry way even though it hurt like crazy. It will be because you moved on with your own life instead of letting them, as my friend Mich says, eat up your good years.
Imbalanced relationships, especially ones with assclowns, are about one-way investment. And it’s all coming from you.
They’re in for a penny and you’re in for a pound. You’re so busy trying to make them love you, trying to ‘keep’ them, and trying to persuade them that they should stick around and see your wonderful qualities and realise your vision of things, that you don’t realise that they’re throwing in a crumb and you’re chucking back a loaf. The more you do, the less they do. They do something minuscule and you thank the heavens, take it as a sign of his love, and go into emotional investment overdrive! Over-giving alert!
But let’s get clear about something: Not everyone who wants to break up with you is an assclown.
Sometimes relationships don’t work out despite you thinking that it ‘should’, and the reasons aren’t always immediately clear. Whatever it is, it’s about compatibility. Someone either halfway decent or who at least will face down the potential for conflict and criticism, tells you because they don’t want to waste either of your time. It hurts like crazy and can be difficult to comprehend, especially if we think they’re decent, lovely, ‘nice’ or even ‘perfect’. But, not every relationship is destined for greatness. And…either way, they don’t see how great you are.
A shady ex of mine, who by the way, didn’t have the brass balls to break up and instead behaved badly, including cheating and gaslighting, once said, “Relationships are for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. Now let’s not dwell on the fact that he said ours was for a lifetime, but there is truth to his statement.
Still, sometimes people who straight-up tell you that they want to break up also mistreat you in the process.
Sure, they’re not “wasting time” if they tell you relatively soon after realising it’s not working. They’re being shady, however, when they take their sweet time whilst enjoying the fringe benefits of the relationship and even lining up someone else to move onto first! It’s an assclown move if they told you they wanted to marry you and move in together five days ago and then told you it’s over today. Yes, that happened to a friend of mine.
But…when they do say it, that is your get-out moment. From the moment they vocalise not wanting the relationship, for whatever that reason may be, YOU are wasting time if you stick around.
As for those who like to make sure their bread is buttered on both sides by ensuring that they don’t do their own dirty work so that they can look like less of an assclown, don’t second guess what you’re experiencing. Of course, the irony is that in the effort to avoid looking like an assclown, mistreating you so that you break up with them has the opposite effect.
Anyone who makes it their vocation to treat you poorly is telling you in their own not-so-sweet way that they want out.
Yes, they’re still there, but they’ve figured out that you don’t respect/value yourself enough for you to opt out. Often, the person who acts up to make you end up the relationship is so disconnected that they actually think they’re a ‘great catch’. If anything, they’ll make it seem like you are the problem. It helps them avoid looking too closely at their own actions.
So what can you learn from this? A breakup, especially with anyone behaving remotely shady, means step away, move back, and move on. Obsessing about why they’ve broken up with you, and what each of you said/did, prolongs the agony. It’s basically beating the crap out of yourself with self-blame while they get on with their life. Isn’t it enough of a reason that they want out?
*This post was updated 9th Feb 2021.