I split up with my fiancé a couple of months ago. I’d like to say I left, but until we sell the house I have nowhere to go, so we are still living under the same roof albeit not the same ceiling.
We were arguing a lot. Some of the things he said during our arguments, but most importantly the threats he was making if he did not get his own way, made it very clear that he did not love me. I realised that I could not spend the rest of my life with him. I told him.
He did not argue with me. He did not say that he loved me and that he couldn’t lose me. In fact he said that he didn’t love me but that we should stay together for the sake of our son. However, he is taking a while to accept that we are actually separating and last week came home from work saying that he is a mess. He had been drinking.
To the outside world I am not a mess. I made the decision and I am coming to terms with it. I fear that friends, his family, work colleagues, society in general, see us and think that I am the evil one, the heartless one, because I am able to end the relationship and I am not a mess. What people forget, or simply don’t realise, is that behind the facade, I am a bit of a mess. When I realised that I couldn’t spend the rest of my life with him, I was floored. My dream of the happy future that we were going to create for our child had been shattered. I had to stop speaking to my Mum for a bit for fear that my emotional roller-coaster was causing her too much distress. I was crying in front of our child – fortunately he is very young so he won’t realise what is going on, but I wasn’t happily playing peekaboo with him as a mother should be. People don’t realise this because this is the pre-public bit of the break-up. My ex partner doesn’t realise this. The person that terminates the relationship starts going through the break-up pain before the break-up happens.
So, next time you are comforting a friend or family member who has been left, spare a moment to think about the person who made the decision to leave. They have been through this pain, possibly on their own because they couldn’t display it publicly because the break-up hadn’t happened yet. They are not evil or heartless. They have had to be massively courageous: the easy option is to spare the other person pain and to stay in a relationship, particularly when there is a child involved. It takes courage to be decisive and to do what is best.
We should spare a thought for the leaver on occasion and recognise the turmoil that they have been through and are probably still going through.