On Ending a Long-Term Relationship

A little over a month ago, my boyfriend of nearly three years and I broke up. In some ways, I had seen it coming. Long distance was becoming harder and harder to maintain––we were talking less, always on our way to a shift at work or a class or a meeting, stressed about lives that were too far apart. As much as we tried, and for as long as we made it work, the relationship just wasn’t there anymore, and that really, really hurt.  

Breaking up, no matter the circumstances, is a difficult situation. Breaking up over the phone, with your best friend, makes it all the worse.  I cried for almost an hour afterward, ugly sobs over the fact that I had just ended the relationship that had been such a big part of my life for so long, the first real relationship that I’ve ever had.  But even though it hurt like hell (and sometimes still does), it was the right decision.  

He and I first met in fifth grade, sitting in desks next to each other.  We’ve been friends ever since then, and didn’t start dating until junior year of high school.  By then we knew each other so, so well. He is and always has been my best friend, before anything else, even while we were dating. There was so much good in our relationship—he was the person who I could talk to about anything, the person who I wanted to see every day, who I wanted to laugh with and go on adventures with and fall asleep next to.

Then college happened, and long distance was painful, but we made it work, at least for awhile.  I can’t say for certain what made the relationship stop working, but the combination of being so far apart and on such different and busy schedules slowly came between us more and more.  And I know that I will always, always love him.  He is forever my best friend.  But we are not in love anymore, not the way that we used to be.  And even though I am scared to death of such a fact—I had counted on a life with him (as silly as that might sound) for a while now—it is the best thing for both of us.

Maybe this is just an attempt to rationalize the ending of a relationship, because I am still working through its aftermath.  We still talk, less frequently and a little more awkwardly, our conversations always a little bit tinged with the fact that there used to be more between us.  What are you supposed to do with all that?  All of the love, the hand holding and the late night kisses, the spontaneous adventures and shared secrets and promises of a life together?  I honestly don’t know.  


Image Credits: Feature, 1, 2