If you want to break up with me, just do it-
— don’t wait for me to do it for you.
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.
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 his ego to think he could change her and “make” her understand him. Maybe it was, but what if it was also the right thing to do?
I was sure he was wrong, but maybe he wasn’t.
Sometimes you have no choice but to try to make it work.
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. Polyamory breakups** might be weird, but I don’t want another miserable dragged out…thing…like happened with Her. She wouldn’t take responsibility for it; he didn’t want it; I wasn’t sure. So it just hurt everyone.
But I won’t break up with them for their sake, either. 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.” If that’s true, fine, but if it’s not, well…
If it’s a lie, I won’t say it.
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…