This breakup story starts on a Thursday. The Thursday in question was perhaps, the worst Thursday of my life. Though, admittedly, the breakup was only part of that.

A Breakup Story

This past semester, I’ve been teaching an extra class. And that fifth class took place Thursdays from 6 PM to 8:50 PM. And since Thursdays are the last day of my week, they were always a little arduous.

Imagine if your Fridays required you to be a functional human for a really long time. That’s what it’s like.

Anyway, I came home carrying extra bags of library books and an umbrella. The day itself had been gross simply because it was one of the most humid days in recent memory, and I was covered in several layers of sweat that had dried throughout various times in the day.

My clothes, for the record, smelled like the cast iron skillet of onions and bell peppers that accompany your order of fajitas.

This Thursday was also the final day before my students would be turning in their formal reports. It’s always a harrowing time, simply because no matter how much time you give your students, they will wait until the last minute to ask questions. So in addition to giving tests in my two classes, I had 3 hours worth of questions in my office hours. I tweeted about it.

After office hours I grabbed nachos in the student union, because you get to eat nachos when you’re worn out. And if you work on a college campus, you get to eat like a college kid. It’s in the employee handbook.

Then I went to my class, gave a test, and let the students leave when they were finished.

And when I got home that night — that’s when the breakup happened.

I don’t feel it’s right to say all the reasons why, because some of them are Chris’s reasons, and not my story to tell. But I will say this: The breakup was probably a long time coming.

Which feels weird to type after posting about house hunting, but like, I guess forever decisions like mortgages make you take stock, and had Chris not done so, I probably never would’ve either.

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All that is to say that yes, Chris is the one that brought it up. He stood at the kitchen table just minutes after I walked in the door that night. As I put something in the trashcan right next to the table, I asked him what was up, because he looked super anxious.

And that’s when he did it.

There were no major fights or blowups. There were no big red flags. There were no conversations with friends over drinks about all the problems we were having.

Because there weren’t any major problems, nor have there ever really been. Chris and I are really good friends. And we always will be, at least I hope. But we’re not meant to be together.

We’re like a reverse When Harry Met Sally.

And I think we both knew that the relationship itself had been on autopilot for a really long time. It’s kind of like we had built up enough momentum over the years and we were able to just coast for the past few years.

But coasting and momentum are no way to live.

If we hadn’t broken up when we did, I’m sure we would’ve gotten married. I’m sure we would’ve had a couple of kids. And I’m sure that we would be the couple that gets divorced when we were in our fifties because the kids had grown up and we no longer had anything in common.

I can’t say that it’s been easy, because it hasn’t. And I haven’t told many people. (If you’re getting the news of the breakup via this post, and you feel slighted, sorry, I guess. But also, I owe you nothing.)

The breakup itself hurt. I cried. But I gotta be real. The minute Chris did it, I exhaled. It was like a small weight had been lifted. Because I think we both felt that we were moving in this direction. But I’m glad Chris did it, because I don’t think I could’ve.

See, in the sober light of day, we aren’t the same as we were almost 7 years ago when we met. I was 24, a bartender, and barely capable of being a human. He was 30, fresh out of a divorce, and just going to a bar to blow off steam on a Monday night. Neither of us were looking for a relationship, but, well, life happens.

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In those years we’ve been together, we’ve changed dramatically. And though we’ve pretty much grown in the same direction as friends, we aren’t in love anymore.

I think here is a good place for me to say that I’m not posting this to solicit advice. In fact, I rarely, if ever, solicit advice. I know some will say that there are natural ebbs and flows in relationships, and that Chris and I should just stick it out. But as my friend Mari said, when you know, you know. And I know we’re doing the right thing.

So, I dealt with my emotions the way I always do — on Twitter.

I am a garbage millennial, always on the social media. WRING YOUR HANDS AT MY LIFE, BOOMERS.

But other things that have helped during this time are:

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As for future plans, I’m slowly making them.

I’m still house hunting, but for a very different type of house. Me and Rosie, the greatest dog in the universe, need a swingin’ bachelorette pad.

I also plan to put a lot of time and energy into writing. Chris didn’t prevent me from writing, but I was in a really comfortable place in our relationship, and I definitely didn’t focus on artistic growth in the way I should’ve. It’s time to stop coasting.

Fitness is going back on the radar too. I mean, it’s always on the radar because I am a woman in a First World country, and I’ve been conditioned to believe I’m garbage if I don’t obsess about fitness in a pathological way. But I’m looking forward to establishing a new workout routine.

As for dating again, I’m sure it will happen eventually. But for now, I’m going to respectfully decline all your offers to hook me up with that one single guy from your office/church/homeowner’s association/fantasy football league/biker gang. I’m really good at being single, and after 7 years of being in a relationship, I’m really looking forward to being single again.

22 Responses

  1. I’m sorry. 🙁

    I have lots of words but they aren’t for a comment box. *hugs* to you and I hope you find a swingin’ bachelorette pad!

  2. I’m so happy/sad for you! Congrats on your mental cleaning — you sound like you’re headed in a great direction, you and Rosie.
    And I gotta say, the whispers of a Writing Group sound fabulous, too

    1. Thanks, Michelle! It sounds like there may need to be some writerly meetups regularly on the schedule…

    1. Thanks, Gina! I’m glad it appears mature from the outside, because I’ve been self-medicating with cookies and chicken nuggets.

  3. I am happy for you! This sounds like a smart and healthy move for you both. And you know what? You can totally own that a new chapter is invigorating and that you are excited about what the future holds. I can’t wait to see what you do next.

    P.S. Go be single. You’re so right. People don’t pause enough between life stages, relationships and jobs. I think it is essential. Enjoy the gap and spending time with you.

    1. Thanks, Bethany! I’m super excited for the new phase and starting all over again. And bonus: Wine tastes better when you’re single.

  4. This stinks. Thank you for sharing a bit of your heart with us. Sending happy thoughts your way. ??

  5. Mari is right…when you know, you know. I’m really glad that you are okay and ready for single time. People tend to jump into a relationship just because they don’t know how to be alone. You be you.

    1. Thanks, Stephanie! Get ready for the weird period of self-exploration and awkward growth that I’ll be documenting on this blog…

  6. So sorry to hear this,Mary and I will keep you in our prayers. Next time we’re at your mom and dad’s house you’ll have to be there to meet our grandkids??. Your dad fell in love with them

    1. Thanks, Steve. I really appreciate it. And I was so sad I missed you guys the last time, especially when I heard about those babies!

  7. Omg Marisa, i really needed to read this…ive been think about leaving my boyfriend. Im 18 and young. I want to feel free not trapped in a dead end relationship. But yet im not sure i can get myself to say to him “i want to break up.”

    1. I think you always have to do what feels right to you. And a lot of the time, what’s right is the hardest thing to do. That isn’t to say that I think you should break up with him–only you can make that choice. But you should search your heart and figure out what feels best to you.

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