Painful Breakup

Question: Dear Luise: I am not happy in my relationship and haven’t been for a long time. Actually, it goes beyond that because staying in it is a very defeating experience for me. My partner is happy and sees nothing wrong. I care about him as a person and want to leave without causing him pain. Is this possible? If so, how do I do that? Thanks. Brenda C.

Answer: Dear Brenda: Usually, in a working relationship, both partners want the other to be fulfilled. Accomplishing that is often another story. We’re all so different and offer so many different approaches to communal living. A relationship can get way off balance when one person is getting what’s wanted and needed and the other isn’t. The courts call it” irreconcilable differences” in legalese.

We often look, on this web site, at each person being the way they are…not at “how can I change him”. It sounds like that’s what you’re doing. It’s not working for you and you have obviously come to a crossroads without much hope of change.

You can’t control or be held responsible for the reactions, perceptions or limitations of another. You can only be as kind as possible and let him know that it’s time for you to move on. Make as many “I” statements as you can and stay away from the “you” statements. Hold him able to cope with the situation, in your mind. By that I mean, try not to see him as a victim or to feel guilty. Sometimes those who take the news the worst, adjust the quickest. It’s not a time for shame and blame or trying to figure out who is at fault. You thought you might be a match and you gave it your best…end of story.

So the bottom line is you can’t be sure you won’t cause him pain when you leave. It’s his choice regarding how he processes your decision. You can only make yourself very clear, in the most decent way possible, stand firm and wish him well.

You might want to look to see if there is a lesson to be learned in this, after you are back on your own. Sometimes it’s just not possible to determine how it’s going to work out, but perhaps you glossed over a few glaring red flags in the heat of newness. It may be wiser, in the future, to slow down the initial decision making until your head’s on straight. Simple concept but never easy. Blessings, Luise

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