What’s the worst reason you’ve used for breaking up with someone?
I’ve always laughed at this question because it forces me to realise how often I’ve broken up with someone for the most shallow reasons. And what’s worse? I’ve never revealed this to my scorned ex-partners.
I’ve endured relationship break-ups for the ‘conventional’ reasons. There has been the post-cheating breakup, where either side confesses to their horrible deed. I’ve survived the break-ups that come from months of fighting and awkward silences. And I’ve been through unmemorable breakups, the ones not worth noting in the history books.
You could say that I learned the most from the conventional breakups.
However, that hasn’t meant I’ve ended a relationship for the most trivial of reasons. Reasons that I would label as immature and shallow upon my maturing.
And I can’t ignore what I’ve learned about what I want in a relationship from these stupid reasons. Sometimes the trivial reasons add up to something bigger.
He Lacked The Equipment I Needed
I never thought that size mattered in a relationship. I believed it was all about what a man did with their appendage, rather than what was bestowed upon him.
But when the size is lacking, almost non-existent, it’s impossible to not notice.
And that’s what happened with Tony. He was small, significantly small.
Intimacy wasn’t his forte. Though he talked a big game in front of his friends, and in front of me, his timid bedroom behavior left me to be in charge. I didn’t always want that responsibility in our relationship. Nor did I want to seem like the more experienced of the two.
When I broke up with this man, I didn’t reveal my observations of his unfortunate endowment. It wasn’t his fault, after all.
I was never sure if he knew he was small, or whether he cared. But if I pointed it out to him, who would gain from that? He would feel tortured, especially as it was something he couldn’t change. And I would appear, well, shallow.
So I lied. In that instance, I could live with lying.
He ‘Disrespected’ My T-shirt, In The Bedroom
The bedroom can be a shallow place, especially when you’re figuring out what you want. Though at the age I broke up with Simon I wasn’t sure what I wanted, I knew what I didn’t like. And a hot, sweaty mess on top of me was high on the list.
The last time Simon and I slept together, I was wearing my favorite band t-shirt. As the thick summer air hadn’t parted, he struggled to contain his perspiration as we made love.
When looking for somewhere to cool off, he clawed at t-shirt on my chest and wiped his brow. It horrified me.
There were many layers, to my disgust. He knew it was my favorite t-shirt, and I hated him for ‘disrespecting’ it. I also felt, at that moment, like I was at the gym and we were mid-workout. Suddenly, the sex went from passionate embrace to clinical experiment.
But it only happened once. I didn’t give him a second chance. I didn’t think to tell him that bothered me. And for all his faultless qualities and how wonderfully he treated me, this one event broke me.
He Didn’t Have The Look
I’ve dated men that don’t meet the conventional levels of attraction. But I’ve never let someone’s look define my feelings, nor dictated my decision to date them. When it came to dating Peter, his ‘look’ became unbearable.
Peter didn’t know he was classically good looking. Dark features, green eyes, muscular frame. Whether or not he was your type, it was impossible for anyone to call him ugly.
I’ve always wondered why he didn’t realize this?
Yet, he always presented himself as he had just rolled out of bed. Unshaven. Sweatpants with unapologetic stains. Ill-fitting clothes. Fashions never in style. The way Peter presented himself never entirely made me turn my head.
I tried to push through it, having thought some of my other dating disasters were because of my shallow attitude. Yet, I couldn’t help feel the desire for him slipping away.
He Lived Too Far Away
A long-distance relationship? Surely I could handle traveling for someone I cared about.
Yet I didn’t need to get on a plane to see Anthony. He was only a thirty-minute drive across town. When the traffic turned bad, the drive became forty-five minutes long. In peak hour, it was over an hour.
The time to conduct the relationship dragged. I spent more time in the car, and resenting the drive, than enjoying the relationship. It didn’t help that he rarely reciprocated the activity. If he ever came to stay at my place, it was when it was convenient for his schedule.
The physical distance shouldn’t have been an issue. And I shouldn’t haven’t got of tired of driving considering we were in the same time zone. And war or a pandemic didn’t tear us apart. Yet, even so, I broke up with him over the distance.
Reasons Don’t Matter If You Like Them
There would be men with a style I didn’t like. And men who lived more than walking distance from me. But those factors didn’t matter when I liked them. They weren’t the shallow obstacles I put in the way of being happy with them.
When you like someone, when you love someone, shallow, insignificant issues like that aren’t the deal-breakers. They are things that make your relationship extraordinary.
Though I often punish myself for being so shallow in those moments, I realize I was hunting for the reasons to break up with them.
And when I felt like taking the blame away from me, I picked something about them that was meaningless.
Don’t Confuse Reasons With Excuses
It’s easy to comment in retrospect that I was looking for reasons to break up with these men. I found the easiest and convenient reason to call it off, reasons that I could justify in my head.
How could I feel bad if it ‘wasn’t my fault?’
I couldn’t control the size of their appendage or changed where they lived. So how could breaking up with them be my fault?
Sometimes we’re presented with real, meaningful reasons why the relationship won’t work. And sometimes we need to hide behind excuses to save our feelings and theirs.
It doesn’t make us bad people if we take the shallow route. Often, it means we don’t want to inflict more hurt.
And sometimes we’re just being shallow. And that’s ok too.
I’m Ellen McRae, writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. I write about figuring about love and relationships through fictional-reality. The anecdotes might not always be true, but the lessons learned sure are!
This post was previously published on Medium.com.
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