CHAPTER 9 – Long Distance Breakups

CHAPTER 9 - Long Distance Breakups

Your partner might be the one and only for you. You might end up together forever in life from a fairy tale.

But, on the other hand, you may break up.

Not all relationships make it, and when you add that small thing of long distance into the mix… who knows.

Although there are many couples who managed to get it through and are now in loving marriages, this might not be the case for everyone.

So, what to do when you start feeling that this is not something that you can do anymore and that this person is just not the one?

Besides, there is a big difference in ending the relationship that lasted for a month and a three-year-old relationship that lasted through the whole college.

Therefore, this is yet another matter that should be thought through.

Signs of trouble

Once you start thinking that there is some trouble in your relationship, you should think thoroughly about if there is really any trouble or if that is just you being irritable or jumping to conclusions.

Is there really a problem, or things are just not going the way you hoped and expected them to?

Of course, not all problems lead to an end. There are people who work on their problems and create incredibly meaningful and strong relationships, despite the trouble they had.

It is all up to you to decide what you will tolerate and what not.

When deciding on these, be reasonable, but also, keep in mind your own best interest.

Non-exclusive relationships

Of course, there are long distance partners that have agreed not to go exclusive and to be allowed to see other people.

But, that does not mean that the jealousy will not appear and one point of time or another.

And to be fairly speaking, if you want the relationship to work, it would be much easier if you know that you two are only seeing each other.

How can you dedicate yourself to cherishing your relationship with your partner, when you know that they are spending so much time with someone else who is geographically closer than you are?

So, if you are not comfortable with this setting, the first thing you should do is talk to your partner.

But if there is no understanding and mutual interested for going exclusive and dedicating one to another solely, it is maybe just the time to move on.

Trust and bitterness issues

One of the biggest obstacles there are in any, and especially long distance relationship is the trust. Or the lack of it, to be precise.

Truth be told, it is much easier to go around when the two of you are in different cities, and when you are not known as a couple, right?

You just have to trust the guy! If you try to make threats of you accuse him of something, you will never work! Girl, know what you want and act accordingly. If you want for the two of you to stay together, you will have to trust him!
Liana, separated for 2 years
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Simply put, when your partner is not close, and you don’t have access to what they are doing, you might start wondering.

And if mutual trust cannot be established, there is a big chance that the relationship you two have will just lead to more and more arguments, and eventually, the breakup.

So, you have to make a decision. Either you are going to trust your partner, or you were going to make this relationship miserable.

If you can’t sleep at night and just roll around in your bed thinking that your partner is far away, having fun with someone else, this is not healthy!

And, unless your partner has given you any reason to doubt their truthfulness and commitment, you should stop wasting your time and nerves on something like this. Worrying about the thing that you can’t change will not help you. Ever.

If you are someone will who just easily starts thinking about almost impossible situations, you should work on yourself, and you will soon enough find out that these long distance relationships are much harder than what you have thought in the very beginning.

But, if you generally have a strong relationship, and mutual respect with your partner, but still find that there is something that made you worry (maybe your partner has started to act strangely, or you heard something from a friend), it is high time for a serious conversation.

Many times this will be just an ugly feeling. It is very easy for one’s mind to start wondering when you are so apart.

However, there might be times when you just can’t shake off the feeling, and you have solid proof of their cheating, but you don’t know how to deal with it.

Well, this is the time to be strong and face them with what you know.

Cheating is not an ultimate deal breaker for all couples, and most decide to continue even after the unpleasant occurrence.

But if there is damage beyond repeating, break up might be the only logical option for the two of you.

A different problem that can often occur is bitterness. Did any of these questions ever cross your mind:

  1. Why can’t I be with my partner like everyone else?
  2. Did they really choose their career over me?!
  3. Do they really not love me enough to move closer?
  4. Is this just my luck to love someone who is so far away?

It is very likely that you have experienced bitterness and that some of these questions crossed your mind at some point in your relationship.

But if these happen regularly, there is something truly wrong.

The truth is, you cannot spend all of your relationship being bitter and still expect from it all to go well.

But if you cannot shake off this feeling and find that a long distance relationship is really not something that you can do, maybe it is for the best to call it quits.

Of course, we would always suggest talking to your partner about it first and try saving what is to be saved.

But, if it is not working, there is no point in making yourselves even more miserable.

Cheating

One of the biggest, if not the main reason most relationships fail is that one person cheats his or her partner with someone else, and you can only imagine how more easy it is to cheat when you’re in a long distance relationship.

And just imagine, you’ve talked to your partner about your goals and aspirations, you’ve made plans to build a future together and all of a sudden you see that your partner is acting weird, not answering your calls and so on.

Surely you’re going to think that your partner is cheating which doesn’t feel great, I can tell you that.

Of course, as in any relationship, there is some paranoia at the back of your mind that your partner might not be loyal, but when the option of discovering whether your intuition is true or not is obsolete because of distance, you tend to get even more suspicious.

So what do you do? Do you confront your partner or wait and see how things will go as time passes? Do you think you’re overreacting?

So many question pop into your mind, especially before you go to sleep and you just lay there, scratching your head and wonder why it’s all happening to you.

Well, you see, you wouldn’t be having this problem if you’ve established a deep connection with your partner in the first place. Some people are born cheaters don’t get me wrong, and you can’t stop that, but if you detect that early on, you can save yourself a few good nights sleeps.

It’s all about the connection you have with your partner, and given the circumstances, you both have to try extra hard in order to maintain mutual interest and have a strong bond which won’t be broken easily by shallow desires, which, leads us to the next question – why do people cheat?

Well, it’s not an easy question to answer, but usually, the main problems are high expectations and lack of interest. And what’s even worse is that at the beginning of the relationship you both don’t even realize it before it’s too late.

The cure for the cheating disease is good communication.

Emotional infidelity

And while physical cheating is something that a person consciously decides to do, this other type of emotional infidelity can just sneak up on you without you even wanting or realizing what is going on.

It may start out just like a regular friendship, and before you know it, you are sharing emotional moments, and you are more than happy to see them. Well, more than you should be, at least.

And, before you know it, you are in love with your friend, or them with you, but you know that nothing physical will ever happen there.

Is this cheating even if there is no serious physical contact between you?

Many people think so.

Some intimacy and we are not talking about physical intimacy, should only be reserved for a partner.

The harsh truth is – when this happens, a decision has to be made. Your long distance relationship will not work if you are involved with anyone else – especially emotionally! And if you continue things like this, someone will end up hurt – no matter if this is you, your partner, or the third party.

On the other hand, even if you chose not to have physical contact with your partner, some physical closeness can still happen if it is not stopped in proper time.

In other words, if you want to start a relationship with your friend, or whomever this third party might be, please, be fair to yourself and your partner, and end things on that end first.

When you start doing things that you think your partner would not approve off, it is time to start thinking about what are you doing to make this relationship work? And, if you want it to work, in the first place.

Being in a relationship is a choice. And why stay in a relationship that is not making you happy if there is something else (or someone else) you would rather do?

Going towards the Realization

Having in mind the nature of your relationship, it might seem obvious after a while that it’s just not worth it any longer.

You get irritated by the absence of an occasional goodnight/good morning SMS, you start missing the physical part of your relationship, the ordinary touch, the occasional unexpected hugs and kisses, the “be there” part, and much more.

So, you start blaming the absence of your SO for all the bad things that are happening to you at the given moment.

You feel abandoned, forgotten, lonely and alone.

Not a nice feeling, is it?

But we have all been there!

Moreover, as time goes by you realize that once yourSO is now a stranger – someone who does not know how you spend your days, who doesn’t remember how you like your eggs for breakfast or how your hair smells.

And, quite frankly, that hurts.

Instead of spending time with you, they are somewhere out there leading a life independent of you as you are independent of them. So, what do you do in that case?

This is it – The End!

You may struggle against it, but as you grow apart with every new day, finally the break-up seems to be the only way.

Now, this is a tricky business!

Break-ups aren’t easy in regular relationships, let alone in a situation like this!

You need to put in some extra effort to preserve the dignity of both parties involved. And we can all agree that this is not simple at all.

Even if one party has stopped caring for the other, every sensible human being will make an effort to be decent about the act.

Still, one way or another, a break-up is a mess, and someone inevitably gets hurt in the end.

The Best Way to Do It… Or Is There One?

Now let us all pause just for a moment and ask ourselves, “In which way would you like to find out that your SO is breaking up?

Honestly, if you still like the other person, you do not want to hear the news at all!

Are you still thinking? There is no best way, is there?

Some of the methods to do the act are as follows:

  1. by SMS or through social networks;
  2. passive-aggressive approach (until the other side decides to end it);
  3. calling/video calling;
  4. by E-mail;
  5. writing a letter;
  6. face-to-face conversation.

Pros and Cons of the Break-up Methods

As we see, there is no pleasant or right way to do it. Each of the options above is almost just as equally bad as the other. Anyhow, let us go step by step.

a. SMS/Social Networks

As you could have guessed, this is the least preferredmethod for all.

 Just think about it. How would you like if someone broke up with you by an SMS or message on Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber?

You wouldn’t, would you?

This method actually says that the person breaking up is not mature enough to face their own feelings and acknowledge the feelings and/or the pain of the other party involved.

The only thing this method is “good” for is that you will most likely avoid the follow-up questions and potential arguments.

b. Passive-Aggressive Approach

Similar to the previous method, this method also reflects the absence of emotional intelligence in an individual.

When you follow this principle, it means that you are doing everything you can to make the other side end the relationship instead of doing it yourself.

For example, you do not reply to messagesin a timely manner, and when you do, you tell your used-to-be SO that they are boring and that they are suffocating you.

But when you do, you find something completely irrelevant to rant about.

Of course, the other side is to blame for your current mood.

Besides being immature, the approach is selfish at the same time.

In the end, everybody feels sorry for you while the other side turns out to be the “bad guy”, right?

c. Calling/Video Calling

Now, this is a methodthat adds a personal note to your breakup.

Here you can take your time and gradually explain to your once SO that things are no longer working out well between the two of you.

With the personal note, you can show at least a little appreciation towards the other person’s feelings.

Despite the above, the method is still a bit impersonal.

d. E-mail

A break-up e-mail helps you point out the reasons you are not happy with your relationship anymore. It is a useful tool to avoid phone conversation and the torture of saying the words out loud.

But, honestly, it is not much better than breaking up via SMS or a social network message.

However, one needs to pay attention not to drone or give lengthy excuses here.

Make it short, to the point, and also take into consideration the well-being of the other side.

e. Letter

This approach is similar to e-mails, and the same rules may apply.

The only difference is that this is the “old-school” method, which is lost on the new generations.

But, if you could use love letters to communicate, you can use them for an old fashioned break up too.

f. Face-to-Face Conversation

This is potentially the most preferred method to end your relationship, which requires emotional intelligence and the courage to speak out.

A drawback in this approach is that you have to wait until you meet the other party in person. And until that time, it is really hard to pretend that everything is just fine.

Isn’t that right?

Obviously, there are no easy ways to do it. The final choice is up to you, and it is highly dependent on your current mood and the appreciation for the other.

Post-Break-Up State of Mind

Once your relationship has ended, do you have any idea what comes next?

Probably not.

You do have some general notion in your head, coming from films, TV series, books, or experiences both your own and someone else’s. But, that’s just not it.

However, every relationship has its particularities, which make it unique. Accordingly, every break-up is a situation on its own, and that is how you should treat it.

There are no “best” pieces of advice. There is no “best” behavior or predefined period of time, which is just enough for you to recover. You simply do what feels right for you at the time, and you take as much time as you need.

Though, one thing is certain here. Your life has changed completely. You got used to the other person being around, and now you are suddenly on your own.

Naturally, your feelings are mixed. At one point, you might feel relieved and sad, and disappointed or even angry at another.  And sometimes you end up in a dark state of mind losing your will to live.

Coping Mechanisms

On the bright side, since human beings are programmed to survive no matter what and how your mind starts developing various coping mechanisms so you can move on with your life.

However, note that not all coping mechanisms are equally fit for everyone. The variations are many, but the end result is always the same. You have moved on.

Some of the stages that you need to undergo before being fully liberated from the heavy burden of your former relationship are listed below:

  1. Seclusion/Isolation
    1. Binge-watching/eating/drinking
    1. Cleaning
    1. Partying (& picking-up random people)
    1. Over-working
    1. Normalizing

Stages’ Overview

Before we dive into details of each and every stage indicated above, one should be aware that they are almost completely independent one from the other.

Also, the order of occurrence varies among individuals. Whichever the case, you are bound to develop at least one of these mechanisms.

a) Seclusion

Even though we have established that the stages do not follow the above-indicated order, seclusion seems to be stage one in the majority of cases. This period refers to the first couple of days, or even weeks, after the break-up, when all you want to do is curl up and never leave your bed/house again.

This is the time of brooding, going back and forth in your head, thinking what would have happened if only you had put in some extra effort. At the same time, you are struggling hard not to call/text your ex, even just to ask a completely irrelevant question.

Interestingly, a person can also go in a completely opposite direction. In this case, you come up with reasons why you should have ended it long ago, and you keep evoking all the flaws of your ex-lover and the wrong-doings, thus justifying the break-up.

During this stage, you avoid contact with other human beings as much as possible. You keep coming up with excuses not to go out for a drink or pizza. It feels so great being alone with your thoughts and memories. Or at least, so it seems at first.

The positive side here is that the stage does not and should not last long. Again, it strongly depends on the individual, but everything longer than two weeks is completely unreasonable.

b) Binge-watching and Binge-eating/drinking

As a matter of fact, this stage might coincide and/or overlap with isolation. The whole point of this stage is to find a new object/habit to obsess about, so you still have a “perfect” excuse to avoid everybody.

In the binge-watching case, you find a new TV show, and you watch it obsessively. As soon as an episode ends you immediately play the next one. And then the next one, and the next…In this way, you shift the focus from your current mood to another story, even if it is fictional. Sometimes this temporary oblivion is just the thing you need.

As for binge eating and drinking, here you need to tread carefully. Even though they bring instant pleasure, food and alcohol can have long-term consequences to your state of mind and general health and well-being. But, sometimes you just cannot or will not resist the temptation. And besides, aren’t the binge-watching & -eating the best combination of all times?

c) Cleaning

The word is explanatory of the stage. They say that a tidy space helps create a tidy mind. And after a break-up, your mind is all mess.

In this stage, you usually wake up one morning, see the mess around, and then you start picking things up hysterically throwing them away.

During this time, you will most likely stumble upon some of the items belonging to your ex, whether it is clothes or personal hygiene-related, or whatever else. At this point, you have to make a decision – return everything to your ex or throw it away.

It does not seem so at first sight, but this is an excellent situation for you to see where you stand. If you decide to return the items, you are doing it under the excuse of being a decent human being while you actually just want to see them (but, seriously, would you need your months old toothbrush back?) and if you decide to throw them away, you are considering it a small victory since you have denied them something it was theirs not so long ago. The final choice is completely up to you.

When and if you go through this stage, both your mind and the space around you will be more organized than before. And besides, there will be no more irrelevant objects to remind you of irrelevant people.

d) Partying (& Picking-up Random People)

This is certainly an unpredictable stage. Suddenly, you’re having extra energy, and you want to spend it somehow. You are ready to party all they long and all you want to do is go from another night club to another having the time of your life.

Nevertheless, you need to be extra careful here. One drink easily turns into many more and grieving, and drinking do not go hand in hand. You can easily end up with a complete stranger no matter how you’re good at self-control.

Fighting fire with fire rarely brings something good. So, even if you have urges to party, try to stay on the safe side, since the consequences can be immeasurable.

e) Over-working

This is another instance of your occupying your mind with everything else but your former paramour. You go to work, and you keep piling up things you need to do just, so you do not have a moment alone with your thoughts.

Looking short-term, it is a good option. Long-term it can only cause additional complications, since you will keep spending too much time at work, not having any free time and losing the grasp over your social life.

f) Normalizing

Naturally, this is the last stage of your recovery process. This is when you combine a little bit of each mechanism. Everything you do in this case is under your full control, and you need not worry about potential exaggeration.

You call and meet your friends; you go out on a regular basis, nothing more or less than before. You still find the time to watch the favorite show eating a delicious sandwich or pizza in your bed. Occasionally, you also find the time to think about your ex. Think, not obsess!

Mixing Stages/Mechanisms

Having gone through all the stages/mechanisms separately, it is interesting and important to note how rarely it happens that an individual goes through one stage only.

Usually, the stages are mixed so one morning you might hate the world around you while in the evening you are in your party mood. And each new day is a new story.

Also, we do not handle breakups in the same way. Someone will do just fine by isolating themselves from the world at first, while others will jump to partying the very next day and wanting to be left alone way later.

Whatever the stages you go through and whatever the time needed, one thing is certain. Break-ups are something we recuperate from. And once it’s over, your new self is fully ready to open your door and heart to someone else.

A No Fault Breakup

Even though it might be extremely painful, there might come the time when you just cannot go on with the relationship any more.

Maybe you met your partner on vacation on the other part of the world, and you don’t even have the intention of going there ever again. Or your job is just not letting you move anywhere.

And even though you might have put a lot of effort into this relationship, there is just the time when you have to be truthful to yourself and your partner and realize that there is no good chance that the two of you would ever end up together.

So, despite the deep feelings that you have for each other, the time to say “goodbye” has come.

If this is the case with your relationship, allow yourself some time to grieve over the loss of a relationship and of a good partner.

And, hopefully, you two will part as friends and not let the frustrations come in the way of your respect for each other.

There are some people who, when realize that there is just no logical way for this to work, to pick a fight and just distance themselves from their partners.

It seems easier for some people to end it this way, in bad blood.

But, be true to them. You owe them that much.

And the truth is that you never know what might happen in the future. And ending the relationship on good terms with each other will not leave you bitter, and you will remember only the good stuff.

Pros and Cons of Long Distance Break Ups

Pros

  1. The rule “Always break up face to face and never over the phone” doesn’t work when you have to fly more than 3 hours to get to your (ex) partner.
  2. Your bills will probably drop, and that will give you more funds to all of that binge drinking and shopping.
  3. You will have more time to dedicate to your friends and family, and if you are the one who moved away, you will have plenty of time to explore the city on your own and meet new people.
  4. Harsh but true – it will be easier to get over someone when you are used to not having them around.
  5. There is little chance of accidental post breakup encounters.

Cons

  1. Breaking up over the phone is humiliating and disrespectful, no matter how far away the other person is.
  2. If you moved away, you would have much fewer friends to comfort you.
  3. There is less chance that they will accidentally see you with your fabulous new partner (and deep down we all know that we wish for it so hard sometimes)
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