Sometimes Breaking Up Feels Like A Bunch Of Clichés


I think we should just be friends. It’s not you, it’s me.

Okay, so that’s two clichés — both of which (in some form of another) I uttered during my first breakup. Let’s start with the latter.

It’s not you, it’s me. I take full responsibility for the demise of this relationship. I was too shy to communicate my wants and needs earlier on, and by the time I realized the things that made me unhappy — I didn’t have the drive to try and fix things. I liked you. But that’s the thing — I liked you. I was excited by the idea of falling in love with you. You were — are — smart, funny, talented, and oh so cute with your blue eyes and scruff, but that didn’t do it for me. You were also passive, indecisive, the Robin to a whole world of Batmans. Perhaps I am the victim of one too many works of fiction, but I need a man who, well, is a man. Maybe that’s one of the pitfalls of trying to date when you’re young — being swept up in a whirlwind of whiskey and conversation, only to wake up, weeks later, with the realization that you’re with what Mindy Kaling describes as a “man-child.”

I’ve come to realize, that people (both men and women) tend to be at wildly varying degrees of accomplishment (referring to jobs, health, and accomplishment in the Jane Austenian sense) during two stages of their life: their 20s and “the end.” How you are functioning at the end of your life depends on many things, but mostly how you lived it and took care of yourself during the time you were given on this planet. Some senior citizens are confined to bedpans and nursing homes, while others can still be found kayaking and roaming the streets of whatever city they decided to use their retirement funds on that week.

The same can be said of people in their 20s. Granted, you’ve only been alive for 20-something years — but during this time you’ve had the opportunity to grow as a person, using whatever books/movies/life experiences that’ve come your way to further yourself and learn. A man encroaching on his mid-to-late 20s, can either be on the cusp of his career — he’s passionate and excited about life, and may be getting his shit together sartorially — or he could still be living in a post-college haze of bro-nights, video games, and shattered illusions of what he though life would be like.

I don’t regret any of it. I loved the excitement I felt every day when things first began to develop — the way my heart would flutter every time you IM’d me — saving me from just another menial day at work. I liked that you felt that I was someone you could confide in — someone who could share in your life’s problems and joys. I loved that you could make my friend’s laugh and that you would invite me to partake in the occasional guy’s night — knowing that I could hold my own in a room of beer, scotch, and invisible cigars.

I learned from this. I learned that I couldn’t deal with your lack of reciprocated questions. I learned that I need to voice my thoughts on us — on what was and wasn’t working. I learned that we were not meant to be. I need a man who is curious about my life and who wants to take me to such-and-such exciting restaurant/movie/place because he thinks it’ll make me happy. Which brings me to…

I think we should just be friends. We were before, and I hoped that by ending things now, we could still be. We had more fun during those times — hanging out in diners late at night, sneaking alcohol into movies, laughing for days with our combined host of friends. I know you’re hurt. Breaking up sucks. I made the mistake of watching Crazy, Stupid, Love and cried myself to sleep that night. Knowing that I was the infliction of your pain made me sick. I wasn’t expecting to feel sad — I thought, for a moment, that I may have made the wrong decision. If breaking up was my choice, shouldn’t I feel better about it? But eventually, I did. I knew that in breaking up with you, I was potentially severing ties with all aspects of our life together, both before and after us. I feel jealous whenever my friends run into you around town — always wishing I was there to see how you are, hoping you’ll realize that you’re over me. I miss us as friends.

It’s not you, it’s me. I think we should just be friends — can we, please?

featured image – Friends With Benefits