How do I stick to my guns and break up?
April 22, 2012 7:36 AM Subscribe
I've determined that I need to get out of my current live-in romantic relationship. How do I stick to my guns and break up?
posted by anonymous to human relations (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've determined that I need to get out of my current live-in romantic relationship of 3 years.
I tried to end things several months ago, but caved in upon promises of change, which have subsequently not materialized.
This time, I am tempted to actually move out while he is out of town next week. I feel guilty about this because it seems so abrupt
and I know he will be shocked; even though it shouldn't come as a complete surprise that I am breaking up with him, I think the method would. But I fear that if I don't make that huge commitment of actually finding a new place and moving my stuff out, I may backslide again and continue on in this relationship that is not working. I have started looking for places and have been approved for one, but haven't signed the lease yet.
I still care about him, in fact I genuinely consider him my best friend, and it is excruciating contemplating doing something that will hurt him. I'm also terrified of being on my own again, already feeling how lonely it will be. I have no friends in this geographic area, which makes that feeling worse. Yes, I plan to take steps to make them, but the point is NOW I do not have anyone supportive other than long-distance friends and family, which makes the prospect of breaking up with my SO even worse, and is one reason I fear backsliding from this decision. For a variety of reasons I don't want to get into, it is harder to make friends while attached to my SO.
We have no kids, no pets, separate finances, and a month-to-month lease. Neither of us could afford our apartment on our own, and he especially is in a bad financial place and may have difficulty even affording another apartment in this area at all. This adds to my guilt.
This is a "too good to leave, too bad to stay" situation, which is one reason it has been so difficult to come to a firm decision and why it is easy for me to backslide. Some things are good, but the things which are bad are things I am really not ok with; I've been tolerating the intolerable, and have been very unhappy for many months. I think we are essentially incompatible. We fight frequently and both the reasons for the fights and the fights themselves have chipped away at my trust in him and my enthusiasm for this relationship. He is not happy either but I am fairly certain he won't want to break up.
I've thought of offering the option of "trial separation" both to make things easier for him to accept and to appease my inner unreasonable hopeful voice, but I don't think that's really the right way to do it. I have to find a way to bite the bullet.
So my questions are: How mean or unethical is it to move out while a partner is away without telling them until after the fact?
And secondly: How can I be sure I won't backslide this time and continue our relationship in some manner? What are ways of approaching this, emotionally and/or practically, that will make it "stick" this time?
Thoughts from people who have overcome their own waffly tendencies and made the change they know they needed to make?
Thoughts from people who LEFT a "too good to leave, too bad to stay" relationship?