Earlier this month I broke up with the man I'd been dating since February. I've mentioned or alluded to him on-blog several times, but never properly introduced him--and maybe nothing is greater evidence of my shittiness than the fact that I'm only doing it now, after we've broken up, in an effort to assuage my conscience or whatever it is that I'm doing.
This is the first time I've broken up with anyone. Back in my early 20s I did pull a few fades with guys I'd gone out with a handful of times and just wasn't into--but it felt inconceivable that I could tell them as much. And several of my friends have argued that, in a sense, it was I who broke up with my long-term partner--since I was the one with persistent dissatisfactions, who had suggested that the relationship would end if certain changes weren't made. I'm fond of this interpretation, but the fact remains that I wasn't the one who actually ended things.
Each of the times I've been broken up with has been awful, but I wasn't prepared for how awful it would be to initiate a breakup, too. I knew I'd feel bad and probably rather sad. I didn't know I'd cry for three days.
I suppose it's always hard to cause another person pain, but when that person is someone you truly think is fantastic, who has been a perfect boyfriend, and is even--in all the usual and some unusual senses--a great "catch," it's hard, too, not to believe that you're crazy or at least ungrateful and possibly constitutively dissatisfied.
But I spent months telling myself that I was crazy, and that as long as being with him made me happy, I shouldn't worry about that vague sense that something was missing or my feeling--which I could never explain--that this wouldn't work long-term. Surely I was just resisting commitment, or wasn't completely over my previous relationship, or whatever. He was amazing. My friends loved him. Surely I'd settle into it.
And of course, it's not impossible that I could still settle into it, given yet more time, but I don't think so. I've never understood what people mean when they say "trust your gut" or "follow your heart": I don't feel things when I make decisions; I tend to know, with great clarity, exactly what it is that I should do. I didn't break up with him until I knew it was the right decision. Or rather, since knowledge implies the ability to explain--to point to specific problems or incompatibilities--maybe it actually is more accurate to say that I felt it to be right.
But what I feel, primarily, is awful.