So, I just broke up with (I prefer to say ‘parted ways’ with) my boyfriend of 4.5 years. I looked at our connection objectively about a year ago, right around my college graduation, and had a brief emotional breakdown (you have to let yourself feel things in order to move through them). During this breakdown I voiced a long list of concerns, not including the ones that I couldn’t put into words or others that would have cause irreparable damage. I asked him to think about the concerns I brought up and to let me know his opinion. He never got back to me on that.
My concerns stewed in the back of my mind for the past year. Then this summer while I was in Iceland and had some space from the relationship, my heart told my mind what needed to be done. I decided that the relationship wasn’t meant to be. I broke it off within 12 hours of returning from Iceland. I said we weren’t going to work out and I didn’t want us to ruin our relationship by fighting and tearing each other down like most other people do before they break up. Why not just leave now, when I know it won’t work out, instead of wasting time waiting until we despise each other and have no good memories of the relationship left?
This decision came as a surprise to many. I made the decision rather quickly and quietly. At least it seemed that way since no one knew I had been watching to see if my concerns were valid for the past year. I didn’t need to consult with everyone I know. I consulted one of my best friends and my parents, mainly because they were the ones with me in Iceland and they know me the best. Once I made the decision to end the relationship I was 100%+ confident in that decision. Many of the people who were surprised were only surprised because they didn’t see it coming. Almost no one was surprised that I decided it wouldn’t work out in the long term. My family, my friends, his family, and my therapist all agreed with me.
Our relationship appeared to be great and fully functional from the outside. We got along well and hardly ever fought. If we did fight we were very good at communicating and resolving the issue. We traveled well together, we did everything together and public displays of affection were par for the course. But there were important incompatible variables that matter more than getting along socially. Cultural differences, religious differences, different life goals, different life views, different levels of openness to adventure, different levels of acceptance of others, different levels of tolerance for others, different ideas about my role in my own life, AND the list goes on.
Did I really love him for all of those years? Yes. Did I love the incompatibility of our core charateristics? Not in the least, but it took me some time to realize this. Is love all that matters? No. Is it enough to hold 2 people together despite all adversity? Not at all.
Movies teach us that love conquers all! Love is all that matters! Love is unbreakable! How could I just walk away and not look back? For one thing, I had a year to think over the issues in the back of my mind. Also, I am adopted. What love is stronger than a mother’s love? No love is stronger than a mother’s love. If a mother can give her child up despite her love for that child, because she knows that it is what is best for the child, then any love can be given up in the name of what is best for the participating parties. I have no doubt in my mind that walking away from the relationship is what is best for me. Really, after my birth parents gave me up so I could have a better life than they could give me, and after my parents worked so hard to give me the best life they could, it would just be disrespectful to not also do my part to make sure I have the best life possible. Happy, successful, boundless.
Adoption affects the way adoptees approach relationships. It is my nature to love intensely and wholeheartedly. This is with my friends, my family, my significant other, humankind and life. I am afraid of people leaving me, as most adoptees are, so I build strong, close relationships so people want to stay around. I think it must be more a fear of rejection than a fear of losing someone, because if a friendship or a romantic relationship isn’t functioning the way it should, I will leave. I am not saying this in a cutthroat, cold-hearted way and I never leave any relationship without thoroughly thinking it through. I basically decide “this isn’t working out. It would be best for both of us if this relationship ended…immediately.” I am always confident that the decision is best for both of us, and usually after a little time, the other person realizes that I was right.
This was my first introduction to relationships. Day 1 of life this is exactly the way it happened when my birth parents gave me up for adoption. On the day I was born they said ‘we love you dearly but we have to let you go, this just isn’t going to work out’ (they didn’t actually say this, their actions did). I understand why my birth parents gave me up. They were right to do so. In their position, I would have given me up for adoption too. I’m just thankful they didn’t choose abortion instead. Keeping me would have been a negative thing for me, and for them. Now, we all have healthy, flourishing lives that we may not have had if I weren’t put up for adoption. I guess because of this, I really see the value of having the courage to let go of a relationship that doesn’t play, or no longer plays, a positive role in your life. I wouldn’t exist as who I am today if I hadn’t been let go.
I never mean to hurt the person I part ways with, just as my birth parents didn’t mean to hurt me, and I always know that that the other person will be ok. If I, and many other adoptees, turn out (relatively) ok, then anyone that I part ways with will be fine. I’m absolutely sure of it.
Love doesn’t conquer all. Love isn’t enough. And sometimes holding on to love despite all adversity does more harm than good.
So when people say that they are still pulling for us, that they think we were perfect and that they are keeping their fingers crossed…I say “STOP.” (1. nothing is ever as it seems. 2. I have never understood that breaking up and getting back together nonsense) I don’t go in-and-out of relationships. I am in a relationship, or I am out of it and I don’t make the decision to leave lightly. I don’t have the mind or heart to handle ambiguous connections. There are enough of those in my life. I do have an open adoption after all.
If someone leaves me? Devastation. Of course, not so sure that I will be ok. Hypocritical? I prefer the term unstable ;).
LOVE always and forever,