The Crime of Leaving and Moving On

Posted on April 27, 2014

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When you’re one half of a couple, you sometimes get seen as a single piece. Especially in circles of friends where everyone is partnered up. It’s often, “What are you guys up to this weekend?”, “Oh, A and B and coming”, “But they usually have brunch together on Sunday mornings” and many other descriptors that signify that you are joined at the hip. Inseparable.

When a break up or leaving comes into question not only do you have to answer to the person you’re with. You also have to answer to all those people who saw you as one. They’ve grown to love you. By “you”, I mean you and the soon-to-be former better half. Different friends will call you to ask what happened. The romantic and meddling ones will nurse hopes that this is just a phase. Maybe you need some space. You will get back to being “you” again. Inseparable.

You will try hard to drive home the point that “you” are over. That “you” has ended. That “you” has to take on a new meaning. That which it should have always been. The you who came into the world alone. The you who exists in a singular, unjoined state.

Naturally the question of if there is someone else is on the lips of those curious friends. “Yes, there is”, you answer. For two reason. Because you want suggestions of a sit-down to be dropped and because its the only way you can pacify yourself for stifling the urge to share what is extremely exciting news for you.

Thereafter comes the worry about when is a good time to introduce your new person to the circle. Will the ex be there? Will it be awkward? Will everyone act grown up? Will your new person be comfortable? Will your old person be upset? All these things will eventually get straightened out. If you’re lucky you have a semblance of friendship and mutual respect to hold on to. You could get (un)lucky again and you and your new person are christened as one. A full circle back to “you”.

As for leaving or staying with a partner, I’ve come to see that there isn’t a set period for when its OK to date someone new. Finding your way home can take different routes. There isn’t one set journey for everyone. There sure as hell is no specified mourning period for a dissolved romantic relationship.

What you do owe is hard work at respecting your partner’s feelings. You owe it to them to let them know when you’ve made a mistake. You owe it to them to quickly correct any misconceptions about being on the same page or wanting the same things. You owe it to them to clearly communicate how you feel about them and what you want from them. All these things are complex and difficult to accomplish.

Yet, some things must die and in their place will spring new life. It’s pointless to feel guilty about meeting someone new and being happy with them. Fuck raised eyebrows of questioning friends and do you. Be happy when you can. You don’t know how long it will last.

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Posted in: Opinion