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The Break-Up

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On Friday, after nearly four years of dating, Shawn and I broke up.

Warning: this post is extremely long. I've tried to trim it down, but this is the best I can do.

The last time we saw each other was in May when we went to Boston. I really enjoyed being in Boston and I loved all the things we did, but I didn't enjoy Boston with Shawn. We only see each other twice a year, and I always hate leaving and wish I could spend more time with him. This trip was different. When it was time for me to leave Boston and go back home, I was more than ready.

I felt criticized a lot during the trip. One evening we were trying to find a restaurant. We didn't have a map because Shawn said it was a waste of money. We were wandering around lost for about an hour. I was trying really hard not to be the nagging girlfriend, so I tried not to say much. But it was getting late, I was really hungry, and we were walking around lost for an hour in Boston. Eventually I suggested that we go someplace else to eat because I didn't think we would be able to find the restaurant. For the next hour that we were lost, Shawn told me that I never try hard enough and I give up too easily. I can understand that Shawn was frustrated too and that's why he lashed out at me. But I felt criticized and attacked more than once during the trip.

Back to the story, we eventually found the restaurant. We were both angry and not talking to each other. There was an old man sitting next to us, and as he got up to leave he said, "I don't know how serious your problems are, but I hope you can work it out. My wife is in the hospital across the street, dying." I started crying silently over my food. Once we got back to the hotel, I went to the hotel bar and called Melissa, my college roommate and best friend, crying. I'm not much of a drinker, so Melissa knew that something was seriously wrong since I was sitting in a bar, crying.

Once I got back home, we didn't talk to each other much. Phone talking has always been an issue in our relationship. Shawn doesn't like talking on the phone and considers it my responsibility to call him if I want to talk. He rarely calls me. This doesn't work so well in a long distance relationship. All we have is talking on the phone. I was starting to feel resentful and frustrated that Shawn didn't call me. It made me feel unwanted and unappreciated. Call me a needy girl, but it's extremely important for me to hear from my boyfriend once a day. (Sidenote: Shawn has been working from 8-4:30. He definitely has the time to call me once a day.) I decided that I wasn't going to call him anymore and see how long it took him to call me. Juvenile, yes, but I wanted to know that I was important to him. I wanted to know that he thought about me throughout the day. And that's what a phone call says to me.

We went for 11 days without talking, texting, or emailing. When something happens in my day, Shawn is the first person I want to tell. I guess Shawn just didn't think about me for 11 days, which of course made me feel like crap.

Those communication problems alone would cause any relationship to have problems. When I was in Mississippi this past weekend, I explained to my friends what had been going on and outlined reasons to break up.

Really important reasons:
1. Lack of trust. I don't want to go into a lot of personal details, but I've been having trust issues with Shawn.
2. Lack of communication
3. Due to reason #1 and #2 my friends and family don't approve of our relationship. My family is important to me and I want them to like the person I end up marrying.

Slightly less important reasons:
1. I've been feeling like Shawn has been leading me on about wanting to get married. We've talked about marriage a lot. Shawn would tell me that he could see us getting engaged around this date/time. And it wouldn't happen. Then he would come up with a new date/time. It still wouldn't happen. I started to realize that I was pushing too hard for marriage. I decided to take the marriage talks off the table. That's when I wrote this post and then this one back in January. Once I stopped talking about getting married, so did Shawn.
2. This is going to sound petty and immature, but Shawn's Christmas gift to me really hurt my feelings. He gave me a bracelet. The problem being that I NEVER wear bracelets. I just don't like them. Having stuff hanging off my wrist is really annoying. I wanted a Skagen watch for Christmas (which my dad later gave me for my birthday). I found it half off on Amazon and sent Shawn the link. He gave me a bracelet instead. I tried to talk to him about it. I tried to be nice. I didn't even utter the words, "How could you not know after 3 1/2 years of dating that I hate bracelets!!" I was thinking that, but I didn't say it. All I said is that I would have liked the watch better. That conversations completely blew up in my face. Shawn spent about an hour telling me how spoiled I am and I don't appreciate anything he does. The real issue here isn't that he bought me a bracelet, but that I wasn't able to talk to him about it without feeling attacked.
3. We argue about money. We're only dating, and I don't even want to think about what it would be like if we got married! Shawn frequently tells me that I spend all his money. This really hurts my feeling because we see each other twice a year! I've been a poor college student and all I can afford are the plane tickets to visit him. And paying for that usually took all my money. I know that meals and activities aren't cheap, but it's twice a year and I think I should be worth it. Whenever he says that it makes me feel like I'm not worth spending money on.

I realized that I just couldn't see myself spending the rest of my life with him. I didn't want to give up after 4 years together, but I knew that nothing was going to change, so I broke up with him. I love him very much, and I thought I would spend the rest of my life with him. Before we broke up I wrote down a long list of things I like about Shawn. That list is much longer than the six break up reasons I listed above, but those six reasons are huge issues. It was very, very hard. I've cried a lot, but I know I made the right decision.

If you've managed to read through this long post, please leave a comment. I could use some encouragement.

27 Responses to “The Break-Up”

  1. Oh, Rebecca, I'm so sorry! I know this has to be heart wrenching, but you're so wise to realize how serious these issues were before you got married. I'll be praying for you during this tough time!

  2. Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. I know that had to be so hard. Especially after 4 years together. I agree with Carrie. You are very wise and incredibly strong to realize these issues were serious and needed to be dealt with in one way or another. I dealt with some communication issues like you talked about when my husband and I first started dating. I dealt with it in the same way you did and it almost ended our relationship. I know how tiring it is to feel like you are the only one carrying the long distance relationship. Hang in there hun. You're in my thoughts!

  3. I'm so sorry you are going through this! But you definitely deserve someone who is willing to put forth all the effort into your relationship as you do! I'll be thinking of you!

  4. You are absolutely gorgeous, obviously extremely intelligent and gifted, and this post alone shows that you have the maturity most people can only dream of possessing. It sounds like, while it totally hurts and sucks, you made the best decision for you. You deserve a man who knows that you hate bracelets, who listens to you, who wants to talk to you all of the time, that adores you and can't wait to be your husband. You deserve to have someone that your family cannot wait to see at the holidays.

    I'm praying for you, I know that even the right decision isn't always easy.

  5. I wish I knew what to say. I could have written so much of what you just wrote- I understand. You made the right decision- you deserve to feel good about yourself and loved and precious. You are precious and if you aren't feeling that way, something needs to change.
    You are strong, amazing and beautiful, so let yourself feel badly for a while but know that it's only temporary.
    Take care of yourself, and let me know if you need to talk- are you near Georgia?

  6. I'm sorry that you have to go through this. You do deserve someone who will treat you the way you want to be treated. You're in my thoughts!

  7. I am sorry that you are dealing this, but I'm more sorry that he didn't realize how badly he was treating you. You deserve better than that Rebecca and I know you will find someone who treats you the way you should be treated.

    I know it was probably a hard decision for you to make, but it sounds like it was the right one.

    You need anything just let me know!

  8. Good for you. I know right now it hurts and I bet it will for a while. But you are so strong for seeing that he wasn't what you wanted. A lot of women would have stuck around just because they didn't want it to be over because they had spent so much time in the relationship. You know what you want and he wasn't it. Next time you will know exactly what you're NOT looking for in a guy.

    Keep your chin up. Everything will work out in time.

  9. I think D.A.R. wrote the perfect note of encouragement to you, go back and read hers after you read mine. :)

    The hardest thing to do when it comes to relationships is know when you have to walk away. What you've done is going to make you sad in the short term, but it's going to make you stronger and happier in the long term. Take it from me, someone who broke off an engagement and canceled a wedding at a young age, you are very wise to take a close look at the good and bad before making a life-long commitment to someone.

    I am so happy that part of this post was about you visiting friends to talk things over. That's exactly what you need right now - your friends and your family.

    **big hugs**

  10. What a difficult decision to make, but very impressive how calmly and maturely you thought it through. I hope for the very best for you in the future.

  11. I had a long (and long distance) relationship prior to my husband. He started paying on a ring and we were planning the wedding. But then I just realized, it wasn't right. It doesn't have to be a struggle all the the time. If we fought like that then, what would it be like when we were married. However, without that relationship, I NEVER would have appreciated how easy things are with my husband. It's not a struggle, it's not a fight, I don't feel bad, and I don't worry.

    I pray that the same holds true for you. That this relationship is just part of the "broken road" that helps you to appreciate the person God has waiting in the wings. You are so strong to make the decision. Getting away from what is comfortable and going into the unknown is difficult. But, realizing it now shows great maturity and insight. You are awesome, and there is someone out there just as awesome waiting for you. Someone who doesn't care if you spend all his money and likes you bracelet free. :)

  12. Sorry you said, you didn't see yourself with him for the rest of your life. It's better that you figured that out now than later. There is someone out there JUST FOR YOU.

  13. Aw sweetheart. You did the right thing. No one deserves to be treated that way, and I think you made a very wise decision. It can be hard to let go after that long, but you'll thank yourself down the road. God knows what you need, and he'll bring you the right person when you're BOTH ready! *Hugs*

  14. I second everything that everyone here has said. It's great that you have the maturity and the perspective to realize when something isn't right for you and when you need to focus on YOU rather than a relationship in which you feel unfulfilled.

    I hope you feel better.

  15. Rebecca---
    You are so right about your reasoning with the breakup. Being married, I can tell you that those issues will only be magnified a million times over when you get married. It's a hard enough road; you don't want to feel like you're on opposite teams.

    I know how much you are hurting; I've been there before. You feel so invested in a relationship and with someone, but when it's not right, it's just not right. I know how hard this is for you!

    Please let me know if I can do anything or if I can help in any way. I'd love to do lunch sometime if you're ever in town. Just let me know!

    Love you tons,

  16. I'm so sorry. Even though it was the right thing to do, I know it's still not easy.

    You seem like such a bright and talented girl - and one day you are going to find someone that treats you as good as you deserve! Never settle for anything less.

    *big hugs*

  17. Good riddance to bad rubbish! I am SO PROUD OF YOU! I am not sorry - I am ELATED for you that you are smart enough to see where it was going and have enough moxy to stop that train.

    Take your time - healing will take a while, but soon enough you'll need a cheering section. You go Rebecca! On to the next chapter!

  18. Oh honey... I had no idea.

    Still, quite honestly, many of these things you mentioned are the exact reasons why Soldier and I didn't work out.


    Hold on to that list that you made of things you do like and BUILD ON IT. Write out everything you wish for and how you wish to be treated.

    I did. And it makes me smile to see most of it in the new man in my life.


    You are one strong woman! With the right guy, you won't feel needy at all. He will practically beg you to lean on him more!

  19. I am sorry that your relationship ended after so long but it sounds like already you know you made the right decision. I know that doesn't make it hurt any less, but you will find the right person for you. When you do, he will make you feel GOOD about yourself and not criticized. Keep your head held high because you did what you needed to do for YOU, and that is the best thing you could possibly have done.

  20. Wow...that must be painful. Gosh, girl, you DESERVE someone who calls you on a daily basis, someone who WANTS to talk to you, just to "hear your voice".

    Keep your head high!!!! :) Wait for the man who is CRAZY about you!!!

  21. You did the right thing and you know it. Six reasons sound like a small number but in a marriage, those six reasons can become a huge mountain to scale.

    What you must know is that you deserve to be loved by some one who truly cares about your feelings and respects you as a person. That is the kind of relationship that will bring you happiness and make you realize that what you experienced before was truly nothing meant to be remembered even for memory's sake.

    I am sure you will find the strength to move on gradually to a more meaningful relationship. I wish you all the best. God bless.

  22. 4 years is a long time but 4 years and 1 day is EVEN longer if you already know he's not the one!

    It's very tempting when you really want to be with someone to settle for much, much less -- even a vague pathetic facsimile of less -- than you would have ever imagined. Remember always what you set out to get and please don't settle for less. These guys exist because there are a lot of women out there who allow them to.


    I could go on and on- but I won't. Here is a quote I love: (sort of about the calling thing- I mean that is the foundation-communication )

    "Calling when you say you're going to call is the very first brick in the house you are building of love and trust. If he can't lay this one stupid brick down, you ain't never gonna have a house, baby. And it's cold outside."

    Samantha :)

  23. Rebecca... hello, I'm a new reader to your blog and sorry to hear about your break up, but I wholeheartedly agree with many of the comments above. It takes a lot of courage and strength to act when you have come to the decision that the relationship has no future and is not what makes you happy. I am struggling with taking that step right now and reading your story gives me a little push in the right direction.

  24. Rebecca, Never settle for someone you cannot see yourself happy with it will just make you miserable in the end. It is awesome that you are able to see things for what they are through this whole situation. I know it is so hard to pull apart the emotion from the logic but it takes a strong person to do that!! You and your family have been through so much already. No one is perfect but one day your prince really will come and he will be everything you need! I don't mean to sound redundant but when "the one" comes along you will know it!! It is just something that is so sure with in you that you won't have a doubt! You will be the center of his world & he will be head over heals crazy for you!! Big Hugs and best wishes to a NEW beginning!!

  25. I know this is super hard for you, best friend. More so, I know you're miserable now. But take heart. Being miserable now, or for maybe a week or two-- even a month or so--is so much better than being miserable for the rest of your life.

    We always sat around and talked about how sad it was that girls we knew who stayed with men who hurt them, physically or otherwise, or just made them always feel awful--yet they would never leave. They would take it. Accept it. Say they deserved it. I'm so proud of you for realizing and upholding the belief that you are worth more, and you do deserve something and someone better.

    I'm proud of you. And while you're hurting, you won't hurt forever.


  26. It really is a difficult decision, but I'm proud of you for doing what was right for you. It sounds like you've been feeling this way for a while and you came to the conclusion that you just couldn't take it anymore. Good for you!You deserve a boyfriend who wants to call you every day and who doesn't criticize you so much. It must be someone who brings out the best in you and loves you for who you are. I know you will find that person eventually. You are so sweet and such a beautiful person! [[[big hugs]]]

  27. I found your blog through a comment you left on C's blog... as I was reading your entry, it was almost word-for-word how I felt about a relationship that I had in college/graduate school. I know how tough break ups are, but you deserve someone who will value you, put you first, call you!, and work as a team with you. I was so hurt to end that relationship, but learned so much - and it made it easier to tell when Mr Right came into my life! So I hope that, even though you are hurting now, that someday you will be able to view this as a blessing. You seem great (and talented!) based on what I've read so far... I'm sure you'll find someone who will adore you and treat you as you deserve to be treated!


Comments make my day! You can also email me: RenovatingRebecca (at) gmail (dot) com