In Search Of Certainty
As the cliché generalizes so succinctly, breaking up is hard to do. Especially when you don’t know if it’s the right decision….
I would like to announce that I just experienced the most civil breakup in the annals of breakups. Seriously, if Gandhi and Mother Theresa had been an estranged couple, they wouldn’t have done a better job. It was a mutual decision, we both knew it was probably inevitable (even though neither of us wanted to admit it for some time), and we parted ways with the promise that we wouldn’t lose touch with each other. No bitterness. No hurt feelings. Nothing bad to say about each other. No sense of rejection or betrayal.
Of course not. The breakup was still an agonizing, gut-wrenching decision. Because, when it came to making that decision, we didn’t have a reason to break up… or a tangible one, anyway.
The truth is, we got along incredibly well. In the two-and-a-half years that we were involved, we had our tiffs, but they were usually about trivial matters, and we saw eye-to-eye on all the “big issues.” We came from similar social and educational backgrounds, we shared the same political values, our views on religion meshed, we both wanted children, and so on down the unspoken checklist. Her family loved me, and my family loved her. (Well, okay… my mom was more or less ambivalent, but, for my mom, “ambivalent” was definitely good.) My younger sister recently called her the sister she never had, and her dad remains my partner in a business venture. On paper, we were a perfect couple, and all of our mutual friends believed we were good for each other.
And yet, after two-and-a-half years together, neither of us felt ready to commit. We loved each other—there was no doubt of that. But, I just didn’t know if she was the One for me. Likewise, she just didn’t know if I was the One for her.
And that’s where the agony and wrenches to the gut struck. Shouldn’t we have known—or have some inkling—after two-and-a-half years? Were we just being idealistic and wanting something perfect? Or were we being perfectionistic and wanting something non-existent?
Sometimes, I wonder if we place too much faith in the dangerous duo of Hollywood and fairy tales… where we’re told that, somewhere along the way, we just know. That, at some point, we will experience that Moment and realize that this is the person we want to be with for the rest of our lives.
Well, neither of us ever experienced that moment of clarity. And, sadly, we were starting to wonder if we ever would. We searched for that Moment. Maybe we even tried to manufacture it with romantic gestures and affection. We held each other and looked into each other’s eyes, as we would if we were in a Hollywood fairy tale. And… we saw someone who made us happy, someone we shared plenty of fun times and laughter with, and someone we truly cared about. But, we never saw the one we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with.
The relationship was wonderful, and I don’t think I’ll ever have anything bad to say about her (well, aside from that neurotic dog of hers… but hey, I still love and will dearly miss that dog, neuroses and all). And yet, something was missing.
So, we decided to give up something great in the hopes of finding something perfect. We decided to give up the uncertainty of a beautiful relationship, so that we could find the certainty of the ideal relationship.
Because, to quote another cliché, it just didn’t feel right. And it needs to feel right. Right?
Speaking of right… tell me that we’re doing the right thing?