What I Learned From Going Through an Amicable Breakup

When I was younger, I always imagined breakups happening because someone did something outwardly wrong. I thought someone had to cheat or lie or perform a hurtful action in order for the breakup to occur. And when it came to myself, I never really pictured ever having to go through many breakups -- it was most likely due to my overly romanticized perception of dating, but I was sure I would only have to date one or two people before finding “the one.”

I started dating someone in my sophomore year of college. For some reason, I had always thought I would meet a person sometime in my youth, date them for a while and eventually get married. So when I began a relationship in my second year and things were going well, I thought I had it all. My friends liked him, we had all of the same interests, he treated me well and he made me happy -- what else could I possibly be missing?

Like many relationships, the honeymoon phase inevitably ended. I don’t look back at this particular partner and regret any decisions made on my behalf, nor do I hold a grudge against him. I recognize that everything happened for a reason, and I trust that we both learned a lot about ourselves through those events. But the circumstances of our relationship gradually began to distance us from one another, and I eventually realized that we weren’t moving forward. We were perpetually stuck in a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere. Yes, we loved each other, but unfortunately, that adoration wasn’t enough. Disney movies had never prepared me for that one.

It got to the point where we knew the best thing was to break up. We were driving ourselves insane trying to make things work. I was happy with him, but that happiness only lasted some of the time. If a friend or family member asked how my boyfriend was, my heart would fall to my stomach. I would say that he was great, that we were doing well, that everything was amazing, but I knew I was lying.

Getting over someone that I still loved with all my heart was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. I often wondered, in the months following the initial breakup, if we had made a mistake. Even now, we still talk quite frequently and it’s apparent that we care for one another. But I constantly remind myself that we ended things for valid reasons that haven’t changed, and if things were meant to be, then they’d be.

I think what I’ve learned the most is that not every breakup has to be malicious and mean-spirited. In certain situations, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with staying friends with your ex-partner. I felt really pressured by my friends and family to completely cut my ex off after the breakup, but the truth was, I wanted to keep things amicable. There wasn’t one reason why I should block his number or delete him off of social media. I remain to be comfortable with our friendship, and I feel better knowing that we’re there for one another should we need it.

The way that I handled my breakup clearly won’t work for everyone -- that’s a given. Maybe some people will read this and think I’m a fool for staying friends with my ex, but I disagree. I spent a year and a half alongside someone I deeply loved and cared for and I don’t regret a moment of it, even with the mistakes made on both of our behalfs. When we broke up, it wasn’t because anyone cheated or lied or did something awful. We ended things because it was time. Sometimes that’s just how breakups go.