Dear eNotAlone: I recently was in a relationship with this guy for a year and a half, we were well on our way to talking about getting married when suddenly I thought I met somebody else who seemed to "fit" my life better. So, on the spur of the moment, I broke up with this other guy without any real explanation.
I now realize that this was a mistake. I didn't really know the other person, and although I definitely had strong feelings for them, it was mainly a case of puppy love for someone who seemed perfect in my eyes.
Meanwhile, my previous partner is understandably shocked and hurt. We've been friends for almost 5 years prior to becoming romantically involved so he has a lot of emotional investment in this relationship. I feel horrible for not giving him an explanation and at the same time, I don't even know what to say because all explanations seem to be insufficient for the gravity of the situation.
At the same time, I understand his feelings and can't help but feel awful for hurting him the way I did. I want him to be happy but I'm certain that I'm no longer the best one to provide that. I don't want him to wait around if there's someone else out there who can provide him that happiness, but at the same time, I don't want to hurt him further by telling him I'm no longer interested.
My confusion and guilt have me wondering what I should do next. How can I explain to him the reason why I find myself in this situation, without making things worse? Is there any way I can salvage our friendship while still allowing him the space to move forward without me?
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The situation you are in is a difficult one. This is understandable, as feelings are emotions that are very intense and powerful. It is not unusual to feel confused, uncertain, and somewhat helpless. You may find yourself questioning your decisions or trying to make sense of how to move on.
The reality is that breaking up with someone is never easy. Even if it is what needs to be done. Your ex-partner may be sad and hurt, which is only natural and understandable. As you pointed out, this includes his emotional investment in the relationship.
It is essential to remember that regardless of whether the break up was expected or unexp (all), there are ways to go about it in a considerate and respectful manner.
First, it is important to communicate with your ex-partner. It is sometimes difficult to find the right words to explain why the relationship ended, but being honest is the best route. Your honesty will allow your ex-partner to take the proper steps to heal and move on without harboring resentment due to ambiguity. make sure to give him emotional support and kindness if possible. Reassure your ex-partner of your friendship and let him know that you will always care and be there for him.
Second, it is important to create space for your ex-partner and for yourself as well. Allow both of you to come to terms with your emotions and feelings. Everyone needs some time to process and reflect on a break up experience. Taking some space from each other is a great way to maintain the friendship, but also to take care of yourself emotionally.
Always keep in mind that no matter what happens, learning to accept change and move on with life can be challenging. Even if the break up feels sudden, it is part of life's experiences. Communication, being honest, and taking time for reflection will help you to understand the situation and find closure by accepting it and moving forward.