It is very normal for relationships, even those that started with great joy and optimism, to wither and die. No one can promise to love another forever, for we cannot foresee the future. But it is necessary to understand what a relationship’s dynamics are when one partner wants out of the union and the other does not.
The blame game
Few issues are one-sided enough to cause a relationship to end. Things like domestic abuse, addiction, and cheating on your partner come to mind as single-handed deal breakers. Most relationships, however, collapse because of the changing dynamics between the two partners. It is important to remember that, if your partner decided to end the relationship, it is not about you. It is about them and the decisions they made based on how they decipher the experiences and changes in their lives.
Figure it this way, some things that cause one couple to grow apart, can make another grow closer together. What makes a love union work or not depends solely on the two individuals involved.
The reason people use escape clauses
Even if you are the one wanting to end a relationship, it is gut-wrenching to tell your partner. In our human desire to explain what we do, we are baffled when we don’t have a simple answer. It is also natural to want to avoid conflict. This is why we obfuscate our desire to end the relationship with phrases that often confuse, blame or shirk our responsibility in the matter. This can often leave the discarded partner confused, or even worse, convinced there is reason to hang on.
Clear and truthful communication is compassionate
We can learn a lot from hindsight to inform our future choices, this why it is important to look at relationships. Many couples stay in flawed relationships long after what should have been an expiration date. To stay in the union, they relied on the illusion their partner would change into another person more to their liking. They also never expressed their truth to one another out of fear of bringing the relationship to an end. Knowing what they know now, they wish they had not wasted so many years in sour and unfulfilling relationships.
We owe it to one another to be clear in our communications. Sharing our issues honestly to our significant other, especially during a breakup, is compassionate because it informs them of the truth and allows them to make the decisions that works best for them.
The hidden meaning in three commonly used clauses
People use escape clauses to get out of relationships. These commonly used phrases are not truthful about the real intention of the user. We may say them hoping we don’t hurt the recipient, but they make things worse.
The following is the meaning I have deciphered when someone uses these phrases to end a romantic connection. If you are hearing any of these from your partner, then you may want to pay attention to this interpretation before accepting words that will keep you attached to a sinking relationship.
1) It’s not you, it’s me. This is true, it is about them; they are the ones deciding to end the union. But, by using these words, the user is deliberately shirking their responsibility to explain why. When this is all you get, you will spend time torturing yourself thinking about what you could be doing to fix the problem if you knew what it was. But you will not get an answer, for he/she doesn’t want you to fix it. I know this is hard to accept, but when you hear this from your partner, move on without them. They have already left and don’t want to do anything to change their minds.
2) I have to go find myself. This clause is also intended to be as vague as the aforementioned No. 1. The lack of clarity is indicative they don’t want to fix the relationship. Unfortunately, these words will confuse the recipient. What are you supposed to do in the meantime? Will he/she return when they find themselves? Should you remain waiting for their return? What the user is really attempting to tell their partner is that they are bored and feeling confined in the relationship. They are leaving because they need room to grow. There is nothing to do here but to let them go.
3) I love you but I’m not in love with you. I hate to be so blunt, but chances are great your partner is telling you they are seeing someone else. Don’t let the “I love you” portion of this clause trick you into believing there is some substance left in the relationship worth salvaging. The key part here is that, in telling you he/she is no longer “in love with you”, they have found the grass to be greener somewhere else.
i realize I am mind reading here, but I think my perception is accurate. Nevertheless, there is nothing that says that your partner is not wanting to fix the relationship when they use these phrases. But, if your partner really wanted to mend what is bothering them, they would come out and tell you with more clarity. My recommendation is that, when you hear any of these phrases, your best bet is to forge your future path without them.
There is always a possibility your partner might reconsider in the future and you can cross that bridge when you get to it (if that is what you still want).
One last thing
Invariably in a breakup, you might get asked by your outgoing partner, can we remain friends? Remaining friends with a spouse you share children with is a good idea. The welfare of the children has to be paramount as a couple goes through a breakup. But it is not such a good idea if children are not part of your relationship, especially if you are still in love with the departing partner.
A partner looking to end the relationship may ask you to remain friends to reduce the guilt they are feeling or because he/she is still interested in getting some of the things they have gotten from you, like financial or moral support. More than likely, however, they did not ask to remain friends for your good. Remember, being moved from a lover to a friend is a demotion. Don’t fool yourself into thinking by remaining friends you can attract them to come back. The opposite is true. By remaining their friend, they will use you to meet their needs, not yours.
It is important to get past the anger and bitterness in any relationship breakup; we are all entitled to change our minds and pursue the things that make us happy. But if you are discarded from a relationship, it is best to stay away from him/her for a while so you can heal your broken heart. There may come a time when being friends without complications is possible. But, following a breakup, you must cut off all contact so you can mend, discover and learn. You can always evaluate that standing at a later time.
It is hard, especially after a breakup, to see how the actions from one will benefit both partners, but they do. The lessons you needed to learn from this relationship have concluded and, if you can remain calm and open, you will be free to find an even greater love in your life who will teach you more important things.
Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will fill you with joy and contentment.
Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.