if you want to break up with me, break up with me

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If you want to break up with me, just do it-

— don’t wait for me to do it for you.

Break ups can be weird when you’re polyamorous**.

I think, would ever get “back” with my ex meta.  We never quite “dated.”  We never quite “broke up.”  Neither did she and my partner.  She divorced my partner, true— but she never really sat down with him and said, “This isn’t working and we are going to split up.” 

She never had that talk with anyone.  She just moved our partner out of her home, moved a new guy in….and that was that.  No explanation happened, then or ever.  And then things started eroding, falling apart, not working…

Because he and I allowed it, the whole disintegration of the — multiple— relationships ended up dragging on far too long.  Emotions ran high, people got hurt— and the bottom line is the little ones took the brunt of the fallout.  I regret everything about how the breakup “happened,” because it truly did “happen” to us.  We— my partner and I— didn’t take control of it at all, and she just wouldn’t.  

I can make plenty of excuses. 

“I didn’t know it was happening.”  “I didn’t believe this new guy was worth leaving us for.” As if anyone thinks, “Yeah, that new [insert sex/gender] was totally worth my [insert partner label] leaving me.  S/he’s so much better than me!” (although now I totally believe she and he are exactly what they both deserve). 

I did ask her, got no answers.  I thought I could make her happy by educating her and explaining to her what I wanted.  I couldn’t.  What made her happy was something I couldn’t even admit to myself, back then, I couldn’t believe it possible of any human being.   Stupid and naive as I was at twenty-five.  But ultimately they are all excuses.  I wasn’t stupid back then, I just didn’t want to deal with the reality.

I’ve heard this question brought up many times,

“If one’s partner is hurting, emotionally, does the other partner have an ethical obligation to break up with them?”

Common wisdom told me it was his responsibility to break up with her, not the other way around. He wanted something not socially as acceptable.  He was the dominant, he had the strength to leave.  He wasn’t unhappy— well, maybe he was, but he could handle it— but she was unhappy and lost to her pain, anger, and confusion.  

But he chose to try to fix things, rather than leave, when the conflict first arose.  Was he wrong to try to fix things, rather than leave?  To try to make it work for the sake of the family? Some might say it was ego to think you could change someone and “make” them understand you. Maybe it was, but what if it was also the right thing to do?

Sometimes you have no choice but to try.

You don’t know someone’s pain, or why they choose to stay or to leave.  At any rate, I don’t.  Therefore, I don’t judge.

I know of people who have worked through the pain and discomfort the one partner felt, as their relationship evolved into something they never knew it could have been.  Never planned for.  In some cases, it fell apart anyway.  And I guess the person suffered for nothing.  

But in other cases, they are absolutely happy with each other, and secure in a way they never were before.  Maybe life just isn’t always that easy, but it’s still worth fighting for.

Today I know this,

If I want to break up with my partner(s), I will do so myself.  I won’t wait for them to break up with me.  And I won’t break up with them, unless THEY make that choice.  I won’t take away their autonomy.  I might, temporarily, ease back from them.  Give them a little space.  But I won’t break up with someone who won’t do it themselves.  Unless it becomes abusive or mentally hurtful to myself.  Or the relationship seems like it’s of no use to me, or them, at all.

I’m poly, and I don’t HAVE to break up with someone, to keep pursuing my own happiness.  I’ll want to bring them along with me, because I care about them.  To me, breaking up says, “I cannot stand to even be in your presence, anymore.”  

That is a lie in nearly every case.

I’d rather try, at least for a good while, to make it work.  So that I know, if it ends, I did everything I could.  Say, “Hey, we both mean well.  Let’s not throw away something good, for the sake of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.”

I have to give it a shot, especially when someone’s emotional wellbeing is on the line.  My own well being included.

…and you know why I do it?

Sometimes it hurts.  Yes.  And sometimes…

…sometimes you wake up to this.


**they’re not exactly fun if you are in any other non monogamous, or even monogamous, relationship. But that’s another issue…

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