Helloooooooooooo my shiny, sexy EverydayFeminism readers! I am so glad you’re here! Please, comment, share, and enjoy!
As a quick note to all my readers, I approve all comments, which means that I get to say what stays and what goes. I do not tolerate or approve harassment, abuse, or threats. Be polite in your disagreement, please.
I’ve been non-monogamous since I was 16. My 26th birthday was in July, which means I’ve been non-monogamous for a decade. That’s freaking intense. a decade of non-monogamy has taught me some very important lessons. I could talk all day about the big lessons that everyone learns, but I would like to focus on some of the more personal ones. It’s gonna get really personal in here. For the purposes of these posts, I will switch between Poly, Polyamor(y/ous), and Non-Mon(ogamy). Don’t worry, I’ll include this note in all the posts. Check out Part 1, Part 2,
**IMPORTANT: I do not at all condone violence, emotional abuse, or anything that causes harm. I believe hurt and harm are two very different things, hurt is temporary, harm is long lasting** In this post I talk a lot about hurt. Please keep this in mind.
Breakups don’t always have to be bad. They suck, but they don’t have to be harmful to everyone involved. I’ve had bad breakups, I’m sure you have too. So I’m not going to go into the angry crying, rage inducing heartbreak that comes with a bad breakup. These suck for everyone involved. I think it’s rare when someone walks away from a breakup feeling truly happy. Either you’re hurting, or you’re doing the hurting, or both.
Good breakups are great. The breakups that leave you feeling like things are going to be okay. The breakups that leave you with great friends and fond memories. The breakups that make you feel happier for having that person in your life, rather than sadder for losing that relationship.
But all break ups can be devastating. They can completely wreck you. You can feel like you’re not worthy, you can feel like you won’t be loved, you can feel a lot of completely reasonable reactions. Good breakups can be devastating too. Good breakups can leave you feeling like you’re not worthy, like you aren’t loved, like you aren’t sexy or wanted, or good enough. Just because it’s a good breakup, doesn’t mean that you have to feel good about the whole thing. Good breakups can still be sad.
Here is an excellent example of a good breakup.
Cap and I weren’t a great match from the start. We very clearly had completely different sex drives, and it took a long fucking time for us to have sex after our first date (when we had awesome sex). When we did have sex, it was really good, but we were simply really good friends who had occasional sex. It was like the best version of friends with benefits I could ask for, except I was dating him.
Eventually, the disinterest in sex with me started stressing me out. The lack of physical attention was leaving me feeling like I wasn’t sexy, like I didn’t deserve to feel good about myself. It made me question my confidence. It made me question whether or not I was attractive. It made me question why he was dating me when he had a clear interest in women who looked absolutely nothing like me. It was a huge hit to my self confidence, and my self-worth.
Ultimately, the relationship wasn’t working for me. Turns out, it wasn’t working for him either. He broke up with me. It was calm, I was sitting on my bed, he was half sitting, half kneeling on the floor. We were playing with my cat. I cried approximately four tears, all of which made it into my shirt rather than running down my face. It boiled down to the fact that he wasn’t lacking interest in sex, but rather lacking interest in sex with me. We spoke calmly, and talked things out and agreed this was for the best. I’m not going to bore you with the rest of the gory details of our breakup. The take-away from this is that it was a good breakup.
There was no sobbing. There was no anger. There was no resentment or harm done. This was as good a breakup as ANYONE could ask for. We are still legitimately and actively friends. No, but really, he’s editing this post wherein I am talking about him. Say hello my lovelies!
Truly this was a good breakup. But good breakups can seem strange from the outside. It can leave the people who are in the breakup (who may be feeling sad or heartbroken, or overwhelmed) isolated because they feel like they had a good breakup so they aren’t allowed to be sad. But you are allowed to be sad. Just because it is a good breakup doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. It hurts to be rejected. It hurts when someone you have feelings for doesn’t feel them back. It hurts when someone who you feel so attracted to is not attracted to you. It doesn’t matter how good the breakup was, how good of friends you are after, that shit still hurts.
But as my dear friend Dylan said at one point (and I’m definitely paraphrasing, sorry…):
Rejection makes space for the right people to be in your lives.
God is that a true statement. Rejection makes space for the people who love you, who need to love you, who you need to love to be in your life. It makes a space for the people who are more compatible with you, and who are wonderful for you. It also gives us a lot of lessons. Those lessons sometimes hurt.
And that is important.
Breakups suck for everyone involved because the idea of hurting someone else is something we are conditioned to not do. With good reason. At the same time, if you never feel pain or discomfort, can you ever grow?
You need to learn to hurt others sometimes to take care of yourself. If that makes you uncomfortable, hold on to that feeling. Hold on to that guilt, that sadness. Remember how hard it is for you to hurt someone else, how hard it is for you to break up with someone. Remember that when someone is breaking up with you. Remember to be kind when someone is breaking up with you, no matter how much it hurts. When you are the one being hurt, the one feeling the pain of a breakup, remember how much that hurts too. Remember that when you are breaking up with someone. Remember to be kind to them too.
Cap suggested that I was really good at breakups. Much of that reason is that I have been on both the giving and receiving end of breakups. I’ve felt the pain on both sides. I try (and sometimes fail) to take breakups easily, because I recognize that some people pass in and out of our lives, some people are with us throughout our lives, and some people are only meant to be there for a short while. I recognize the bittersweet kindness of ending a relationship before it sours. I recognize the painful reality of grieving a lost relationship. I keep those thoughts, those experiences in my mind, and I try to make it easier on everyone in the breakup to let go and move on. Be as sad as you want to. Be as hurt as you want to, but keep trying.
There’s a joke that poly people don’t breakup, they transition. I think there’s some truth to this argument, but I think it’s a truth for any breakup. Let’s stop looking at breakups as an end, as something breaking apart. Let’s start looking at them as something changing. Yeah, you can be sad about the change, like when the rain changes your plans for a picnic. You can also be glad for the change. Like when the rain changes your plans for a picnic, but instead you spend the night reading what becomes your favorite book. Breakups, transitions, whatever you want to call them, shouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.
They should be an experience that helps you grow.
Now, go be sad, but when you’re done being sad, take a deep breath and remember that you are loved. You are wanted. You are worthwhile. You deserve to be loved. Go celebrate how awesome you are.
Until Next Time!
-The Frisky Fairy