Was the breakup the right decision?

Dear Meredith,

I broke up with the guy I've been dating for about a year. I graduated college in May and he had an extra semester, so he just graduated about a month ago. We've done distance for almost the entirety of our relationship. He finally got a job in the same city and was moving in one week to the day that I broke up with him. We've been on and off during our relationship because the distance was always difficult. Jealousy was involved (on his part mainly), and I was often worried about our personalities not aligning. I'm outgoing, social and extremely optimistic – sometimes to a fault. He enjoys drinking, but prefers smaller social gatherings with people he knows, and sometimes he can be really pessimistic. But I loved him and still love him.

But, sometimes love is simply not enough. We fought frequently, about small things, but he would often stonewall me or respond passively-aggressively. Until one day I had enough. Now, I know I am far from perfect and can push buttons often. I'm independent and don't like to feel suffocated, and sometimes I don't want to compromise on things that I want to do. Is that wrong? I'm conflicted. But in the end, I couldn't deal with having to convince him of my loyalty to him, and I couldn't force him to view life with a bright and excited lens. So, I ended things.

I'm happy about my decision but I feel hurt. I wanted our relationship to be something – I envisioned a life with him. But I felt exhausted and drained from all the confrontation. A relationship so new is not supposed to have this much turmoil, right? How do I deal with the hurt and loss when I was the one who did the dumping? Do I tell myself this was right, or did I give up too soon? I have this continued thought that so many things were great. Am I expecting too much and am unrealistic? I've been talking in circles in my mind and to people who know me. I'd love some fresh advice.

– Too soon?


Your letter explains exactly why you broke up with this person, and all of your reasons sound logical and legitimate. You tried hard to make this work, but in the end, it didn't feel quite right, not even when he was on his way to town. This wasn't a rash decision; this relationship has been troubled for a long time.

That doesn't mean you'll feel great about it. It's not as though people who've been dumped always wind up crying in bed with ice cream while the dumpers move on to next dates and sparkling drinks. Breaker-uppers can experience great grief. There's also this phase of second-guessing, which I've heard about from so many other letter writers. The dumped often get the benefit of feeling like the decision wasn't up to them. They get to feel their pain, get mad, do the rise-like-a-phoenix thing – whatever they need. Meanwhile, when an ending isn't a mutual decision, the dumpers sometimes have to sit with themselves wondering, "Wait. Did I do the right thing?" It’s an unpleasant part of the process.

But ... it's a normal one. Don't let this phase erase or minimize all of the moments that led you here. You wanted a different kind of romantic partner, and you were sure that this boyfriend couldn't become that person. You have been seeking something optimistic and fun, and this relationship was anything but.

This decision took time. Remember that.

– Meredith

Readers? Interesting that this breakup happened right before his move?