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I broke up with someone I love, and it was harder than I thought


Breaking up sucks. I never thought it would hurt as much as it did, because when you break up with someone, it’s because you’re not in love anymore, right? Not always.

I was dating the perfect guy (let’s call him Joe). He wasn’t perfect but pretty damn close. He was kind, sweet, funny, and a real charmer essentially, everything that I could have wanted in a guy, right down to a pair of amazing cheekbones. (Ladies, don’t underestimate the power of defined cheekbones.)

 And here’s the thing: we meshed so well. For the first couple of years, we were constantly laughing, cuddling, playing video games, and tangling up the sheets. We had a total blast. At first, by the time we graduated from college in May, we had been dating for over two and a half years. Until that moment, his faults seemed like perfect imperfections that I found endearing.

 I had been planning our future together, both in my head and out in the open. We would move to Philadelphia together, our fingers entwined, looking at apartments together, and talking about how lovely it would be to have one of them to ourselves. It sounds ridiculous, but it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time. I guess that’s love, right?

 But outside of college, I saw our relationship in an entirely different light. I found myself having to try harder and harder to connect with him, to be on the same wavelength. I started to become weary and cynical. I kept thinking that it was a phase, or a hiccup, or a post-graduation relationship rut.

  Until one day, it hit me: It wasn’t just a hiccup. We were different. We had always been different. Suddenly, I couldn’t see us ever truly connecting in the real world. There was a distance between us, a chasm that was widening so rapidly that I was afraid I’d be swallowed up forever. I was exhausted from reaching over it, hoping he’d be able to grab my hand to make sure I didn’t fall off the edge.

But there was no point. I wasn’t growing. He wasn’t growing. There was no bridging the gap. I didn’t want to be in the relationship anymore, I thought.

 That realization made my heart sink into the depths of my stomach. I had never been in this scenario before. My first relationship totally crashed and burned. There was no chasm, just an explosion. Though it was a miserable affair, it was very obvious what needed to happen. He was a jerk, he treated me badly, we broke up, I moved on, and that was that. But this was different. I still loved Joe. I cared about him, and he was one of my best friends. But I knew that romantically, we couldn’t be together anymore.

  There’s a vast misconception in this world, thanks to the good old romantic comedy industry, that those who do the dumping are cold, heartless, and ready to run around and make out with anything that moves as soon as they kick their SO to the curb. Maybe that’s the case for some. But often at least, for me nothing could be farther from the truth.

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