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Sex + Relationships

Breaking Up When You’re Still in Love

Breakups are hard. It doesn’t matter if the relationship was three weeks long or five years long—going through a breakup is still going to be a heart wrenching, debilitating process. Mutual breakups are somewhat of a beautiful thing, however. If you both agree that the relationship is not working for either of you anymore, but you part with mutual, amicable love, then what’s to cry about, right? I’m not sure if it’s that simple. 

My partner and I were together for three and a half years. We dated from senior year of high school all the way up to my senior year of college. Our relationship survived him moving all the way across the country to California and doing long distance for close to two years. However, despite him living on the East Coast again, only an eight-hour drive away, there are still many factors that complicated our relationship. 

We decided mutually to end things. This is the kind of breakup I would wish for everyone, honestly, not that it hasn’t been the most painful time in my life so far. We want to remain in one another’s lives, purely because we were each other’s first loves. We were each other’s first everything. But despite our feelings for one another being only positive, is it healthy for me to keep the pictures of him up around my room? Should I keep the blanket that his grandmother hand-knitted for me on my bed? Should I keep the hundreds of photos of our times traveling together so accessible in my camera roll, or should I hide them until I’m ready to revisit those memories? 

Breaking up when you’re still in love is a difficult, beautiful thing. It shows that those involved have mutual respect for each other's future happiness. This piece’s ending is not blissfully optimistic, as currently, everything I know is pain and last night I finished a bottle of wine while crying on the toilet. So, sorry, I don’t have any advice for anyone who may be going through this, too. 

I had never considered that three and a half years of making memories with this person ever had a finite ending. 

In the past, I had always been confused about the idea of breaking up with someone while still being in love. Now I think I understand.

Kailey is currently a senior at Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a Writing, Editing, & Publishing and Communications & Media Studies double major and hopes to one day enjoy writing as her profession. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, exploring Boston, and spending time with any dog she can find.
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