I can practically hear my friends rolling their eyes as I write this.
I am, to the horror and distaste of all my friends, one half of a couple that is constantly breaking up… and getting back together… and breaking up again. Trust me, I know. I’ve read the articles. I’ve seen proof that this kind of relationship brings you to hell and back. It chews you up and spits you out and you become a different person altogether after every single break up.
I’m not stupid. I know that this type of relationship comes with a cost.
My boyfriend and I have broken up three times in our 1.5 years of being together. Dating him is wonderful and amazing. We fight, but then we get over it. We talk things out. But other times, it’s explosive. And we end up breaking things off because there’s that strong belief that it’s what’s best for the both of us.
But, unlike Taylor Swift, I can’t just wave my hand and say we’re never going to get back together—never ever ever. It’s hard to leave someone you still deeply care about. It’s hard to say goodbye after an explosion. There’s still a lot of love buried under the anger and frustration. You still care about the other person. You still love them.
Walking away is hard, so I never do it.
Constantly breaking up and getting back together is a painful cycle that relies on having a lot of faith. You have faith that it will be different this time and faith that it will work out. I know all the clichés already—I’ve said them hundreds of times before. We’re different. We’re meant to be. We were always meant for each other.
I remember my friend telling me, in the middle of me sobbing my heart out, that this isn’t what a healthy relationship should be like. Our other mutual friend and her boyfriend? That’s the kind of relationship people should strive for. That’s the kind of relationship I should want. Why would I want anything else?
Honestly hun, if I could, I would. If I could change myself to be the type of person she is, I would in a heartbeat. If I could change my perception of the world to match hers, I would. But I can’t. Some of my arguments leads to the nagging thought that maybe we’d be happier apart. Maybe he’d be happier away from me.
Normal relationships have arguments where you say XYZ upset me please don’t do it again. So they don’t do XYZ anymore and everything is okay. I am explosive in nature and my emotions are often all or nothing. I love with all my heart and I get angry with every fiber of my being. The difference between normal relationships and mine is that I take breaks in the form of breakups. I cry and I heal and I change. It’s not the healthiest method, but it’s my method.
I stay with my boyfriend because he brings me stability. We break up because I create that instability in the first place.
Every break up is a learning curve.
I learned a lot of things about myself and relationships. I grow and change and adapt to every breakup. There are parts of me that I discover during the periods of endlessly crying.
You learn that crying can heal all wounds. Sobbing into your pillow at one in the morning, trying really hard not to let your friends now how awful you’re feeling, is almost therapeutic. It’s a time for thinking and reflecting. You wonder what went wrong. You wonder what you can do to fix it. You wonder if you can fix it. It leaves you shaking and weak and vulnerable, but it leaves you feeling human.
You learn about your own strength. It’s hard, but doable to overcome. You will cry, but you can get up after and dry your tears and function. Breaking up is hard and upsetting, but you learn that you can rise from the pain and heartbreak. It’s hard, but even if it feels like the end of the world, you can still function.
You learn about the importance of your friends and family. You learn that, sometimes, it’s not worth it to be Miss Independent. It’s okay to need help to cope. You’re allowed to need and want someone to talk to. You learn to be weak and vulnerable—to shed that outer wall that left you guarded and pessimistic.
You learn about love. You learnt that love hurts. You learn what you wanted from that love in the first place. In the midst of all that crying and hurt, you start to see that it hurts because it matters. You’re crying because the relationship was important and pivotal to your growth and life. It’s not your whole world, but it was a big part of it.
You learn and you grow and you change. And, in my case, you revisit those hurts and you try again.
You reevaluate your relationship. And then you decide to try again.
I feel the judgement from my friends already. I would judge me too.
Sometimes getting back together never solves any problems. You can’t put a band aids on a broken leg and expect it to heal. But you’re allowed to have hope. You’re allowed to hope that it’s just a minor sprain instead of a broken bone. There’s hope and faith that it can be fixed.
So you try again.
But how can you move on from that breakup? You can’t just ignore everything that happened, because you obviously broke up for a reason. I guess being able to ignore it is a part of maturing and growing up. The sort of “I love you so all that stuff doesn’t matter” kind of thinking where you’re all too ready to forgive and forget. But ignoring it isn’t conducive to growth and then you’re stuck in the cycle again.
Have you both changed? At the end of the day, everything that lead to you breaking up with them will still be there if there isn’t change. She’ll still take things too far. He’ll still have trouble with communication. You can’t expect things to work out anymore if you don’t work on these things, both of you.
The point of breaking up, in my opinion, is giving yourself some space to learn and grow and want to change. The point of it is giving yourself an option to leave if you want to, but also the option to come back and stay.
It’s a lot of wondering and hoping and maybe a little delusion. You tell yourself that it will be different this time, and maybe it will be.
It takes a lot of forgiveness.
You’ve hurt each other, and that’s not something that’s easily ignored. When you break up and meet someone new, you’re starting of fresh. Unmarred. Untainted. But, instead, you’re reuniting with someone you have history with. There’s scar tissue where fresh skin should be, and previous grievances and grudges that can weigh you down and lead you through another awful cycle. Everything is torn and ragged and revisiting the knife that tore you apart is painful.
Getting back together means letting go. It means going into the relationship without any grudges or resentment—it’s acknowledging your past and keeping it there, where it belongs. The only thing it’s good for is growth and personal reflection; a reminder of what happened and how much you both have changed since then.
It’s an extremely difficult process. Agreeing to try again means agreeing to forgive and forget—as if that’s a walk in the park. It’s a decision riddled with confusion and hope and fear all at once. What if you’re just starting the cycle again? What if you just need to leave once and for all? What if the only thing in your future is heartbreak and tears? But what if they’re the person you’re meant to be with?
Is it worth the risk?