Dear eNotAlone: I'm at a crossroads in my life. I don't know what to do and can't seem to get past this hurdle I'm stuck on.
I've been with my partner for eight years and our relationship has always been volatile, with us constantly breaking up and getting back together. Every time we'd break up, we'd be so sure that it was the end, only to reconcile soon thereafter. Recently, things reached their peak and he said he could no longer take it and refused to take me back again, even after I made it clear that I wanted to work on the issues we have.
During the duration of our relationship, we shared so much: the highs and the lows, the moments of pure bliss and head over heels love and the moments of tears, shouting matches, and hurtful words. We both know that we've cared deeply for each other and yet at the same time, we seemed to always clash. It's an odd dynamic, and now that its over I don't know what to do.
I miss him and I still want him back in my life. But at the same time, I do recognize the faults between us and without his help, I don't know how to move on. He's hurt me more times than I can count, but I can't deny how many special memories we've had together. I hate that every time we broke up and got back together, only to be stuck in the same pattern of arguing, by the end of it feeling like I had nowhere to go.
I'm feeling lost and confused and don't know how to make a decision. Part of me wants to reach out to him, while the other part of me is telling me to just let go. I'm hoping maybe you could help me out. What should I do? Do I try to get him back or do I take this as a sign to cut ties and move on?
* * *
It's understandable that you're feeling lost and confused in the wake of such a tumultuous relationship. Breakups are never really easy, no matter the circumstances and definitely not when there is such a strong emotion involved, like in your case.
First of all, it's important that you take some time to process your emotions and grieve to some extent. Allow yourself space and time to understand why the relationship didn't work and what your contribution (if any) was in it.
When going through breakups, we often tend to miss the other person and long for the familiarity we once had, regardless of how unhealthy or destructive it was. It's important to remember that the appeal of their presence diminishes over time and that your sadness will become lighter with time. Though it might be hard right now, look forward to that future.
If you really want to give the relationship another shot and work it out, make sure to set up expectations on both sides to ensure mutual respect and accountability. This would require complete honesty from both of you to go over the grievances that have been constant throughout your relationship. Discuss openly and be prepared to agree to terms that are workable for the two of you. Start with basic common values and move to bigger issues that kept coming up again and again.
At the same time, if you can't make amends with your partner and decide to part ways, the most important thing to remember is to do so with grace. Trying to stay friends or being civil, if possible, will always help navigating through breakups. Plus, it's a time to gain clarity on what you need and what you can do to better understand your coping mechanisms, and work on self-improvement.
Look within to understand what you can do to become a better version of yourself and then ponder over reconciling or cutting ties— whichever makes more sense. figure out what's going to be beneficial in the long-run.