Throughout my life I've seen so many people start dating, and then break up after a while. It's pretty normal right? We see it all the time in our society and we accept it as common place. The basic break up process for most people seems to be; something happens that makes one or both parties think there's a better alternative to the current relationship, then comes the breakup, and afterwards temporary, or permanent disassociation. The thing is, we treat breakups both quite frivolously, and all too seriously.
First of all, why do we break up? Usually there are about three main reasons for this.
1st: Change in Interests
This is when one or more parties have found someone else who they have begun to like more than their current partner. This can lead to many different actions on the part of those involved. It can result merely in a breakup followed by both people moving on to be with other partners, or it can lead to the second reason.
Cheating can obviously happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes it's because one party is unsatisfied with the current relationship. Sometimes it's for revenge and out of spite for one's partner. Sometimes it's because one or more parties are simply being asses.
"Drifting," is when one or more parties begin to feel like they are no longer compatible in a romantic relationship. It's basically another way of describing the phrase "our lives are going in different directions." Essentially, this is when one or both people feel as though there are other things they want to be doing, and having the relationship they're in doesn't fit with that idea.
Now that we've established these three basic kinds of breakups, what do we do now? What's the point of making that distinction?
All too often, we treat each breakup the same way. As I mentioned before. Something happens, or the couple drifts apart, and they decide to breakup. It's what happens afterwards that I want to focus on. Usually after breaking up, two people will break off all or most contact for a while, sometimes permanently, depending on the situation. But why?
Sometimes it's healthy to break off any sort of relationship with a person. It's not wise to stay in a relationship who casually cheats on you or who you know doesn't have their heart in the relationship. If someone is going to continuously treat you poorly it makes sense to break off the relationship, including any sort of friendship that might have gone with it. But then there are times when we do the same thing for really petty reasons.
Not that long ago I broke up with my girlfriend of 2 years. Previously she'd been my best friend. One day she told me that she just wanted to be friends and that she didn't think she could be with me since she didn't love me the way I loved her. I knew immediately that wasn't the only reason. Her best friend for several years had just visited her from over seas and she realized how much she liked him. (She hadn't been willing to admit it previously).
Obviously there are probably a lot of guys who would have been hurt by the fact that their girlfriend left them for another guy without being completely honest about it. Many would have refused to talk to her for a while. In one sense, this is completely reasonable. Who likes talking to or dealing with someone that has hurt them? On the other hand, she was my best friend before she was my girlfriend. It would be stupid of me to give up that friendship simply because she no longer saw me as the most important person in her life. I'm very glad that I can say she's still one of my best friends to this day.
The fact of the matter is, I really did love her. Some people might think that would have made it hurt worse, but my first thought when she broke up with me, was both how proud I was of her for being honest with me, and excited for her future. I know she loves the guy, I know he would love her, probably more than I ever could. There was no reason for me to be angry with her for loving someone else. Sure, it wasn't me, but the purpose of the relationship was never what I could get out of it, rather, what I could put in to it, and how I could best make her happy.
Why Breakups Are So Bad
Why do we break off relationships with people when a relationship ends? Is it simply because there was a never a true friendship in the first place? Are we always just in relationships for the sake of being in a relationship? If so, then of course we're going to have breakups where we disassociate with each other. If the foundation for the romantic relationship is simply for the sake of having one, it's almost impossible to continue being friends afterwards. We have weak foundations for our relationships, so when they crumble, they end completely. A house built on a strong foundation can not only weather stronger storms, but it can be more easily repaired should a storm damage it.
We rush in to relationship so easily. We build our house, forgetting to lay the foundation, and we expect it to stand. Then, we're surprised when it crumbles. We feel hurt when it happens and we so often blame others for it. Not to say that it isn't sometimes the fault of others, but that doesn't mean we've played no part.
There are different kinds of romantic relationships, and not all can be easily repaired. The issue comes when we are so used to the kind that completely crumble, that we aren't willing to put the effort in to repair the ones that can be fixed. Sometimes relationships won't work out, that's just how life is. But if we are willing to build them right the first time, we can save a lot of heartbreak. There are valid reasons to break up and there are invalid reasons for doing so. Breakups cause damage every time. They should never be considered if there's another way. But, if two people do break up, and they built their relationship on a solid foundation, they can still build something else in its place. It might not be the same, but that's not a bad thing. If a good friendship is the foundation for a relationship, the relationship can end, but the friendship can remain.
Most of the time, we can save ourselves, and others, huge amounts of heartbreak, if we are only willing to be patient, and to lay the foundation for our relationship before we start building.
P.S. I'm afraid I'm very tired while writing this, so I apologize if it flows poorly or has grammatical errors that I missed while proof reading.