The Breakup

The 13th of February this year was a Tuesday. My fiancé and partner of almost fifteen years was at work. We had just that week decided on our wedding venue and had signed a contract with our wedding coordinator to secure the hotel. We were to be married in December.

That evening I went swimming with my mother. My fiancé told me that he was playing football with friends. I knew he was lying but I pretended otherwise.

I came out to the car after my swim and checked my phone. A notification told me that someone I didn’t know was attempting to contact me on Facebook Messenger.

Before I opened the message, I knew. I knew what it was. I knew I was going to be told something that would change my life forever. That five seconds before I opened the message was the longest moment of my life.

For the past year and a half, my relationship with J had been horrific. He treated me so poorly. He barely spoke to me with anything other than contempt and disdain. He didn’t touch me, kiss me, hug me. He showed no interest in me or my friends. He was cold, distant, perpetually distracted. He never looked at me. I would tell him I loved him, and his eyes would stay focused on his shoes while he’d murmur ‘you don’t need to say that to me so much.’

I felt rejected beyond belief. We were engaged, yet I felt I was forcing him into a marriage he clearly didn’t want. I tried to give him space. I tried to talk to him. I cried almost every day. I had nightmares. My friends and family were concerned. I took leave from work and started a course of anti-anxiety medications. I was broken.

And yet, I didn’t leave. I don’t know why. I guess the relationship was all I had ever known. I had never been single, never known myself to exist as an adult outside of the relationship. I was frightened. I figured I’d be alone forever if I didn’t marry him. I thought we had so much in common that I’d never find the same kind of relationship with anyone. I pushed away all the negative thoughts.

I knew he was cheating on me. He alternated between being distant and cold and then guilty and loving. He was insanely possessive over his phone. He ignored me on social media. He hid me from people like he was ashamed of me.

He was a mess. I was a mess.

The human mind is an odd thing. My friends would describe me as strong, as a ‘take no bull-shit from anyone’ kind of girl. But I let this go on. I lay in bed at night beside a man I knew was being unfaithful. I didn’t have the strength to deal with it.

I did confront him. Of course I did. Many, many times. I sent him emails, I wrote him letters, I tried to sit down and talk to him calmly.

I know you’re being unfaithful. I know. Can you please have the decency to tell me yourself and not let me find out in some horrific manner that devastates me?

You’re being paranoid. God, you have so many trust issues. How is this ever going to work if you don’t trust me?!

I only learned the definition of gas-lighting this year. Basically, it refers to someone manipulating you and causing you to completely question your entire reality. Although I knew he was cheating, I still questioned myself.

Am I paranoid?

Is it my anxiety?

Am I pushing him away?

And in all of this, we were planning a wedding. It’s not one of my finer moments in life, but at least I’ve gotten out before I committed to what I can only call a pathological liar. He sat with me in the hotel we were to be married in, knowing he’d been betraying me for over a year, and signed a contract holding the venue. He sat among my friends, my family, knowing that he was hurting someone they loved in the most horrible way.

That Tuesday night, I took a deep breath before I opened the message. I knew what the message was. But I wasn’t prepared for how hurtful it would be. The woman described every painful detail of the year long affair she’d been having with my fiancé. The boy I had loved since I was fifteen years old. The only man I’d ever slept with. The person who knew me better than anybody, who saw me at my worst, at my most vulnerable. I thought he was my soulmate. My best friend.

Her message, looking back on it, was the ramblings of a woman who consumed by bitterness and resentment and completely self-centered. There was no apology. There was no acceptance of her part in all of this. She knew he was in a relationship. She blamed him and him alone. It was awful on her, she wrote. She’d been very stressed and upset by it all. There was no acknowledgement of my pain or the betrayal done to me by both of them. It was an entirely selfish message. She was twisting the knife in the cruelest of ways. He had broken it off with her that week and decided that he did, in fact, want to marry me.

Lucky fucking me, right?!

Obviously, I’m glad she told me. I’m glad she provided me with all the painful details of their relationship. It allowed me to see him for the person he really was: a liar. The worst kind of liar. And god, was he manipulative. He made me question my own sanity. I thought that there was a good chance I was actually suffering from paranoid delusions. I lay awake almost every night wondering if I was, in fact, insane.

I had a lot of questions: Where? When?

Why?

I thought we were happy. Only a few months before the affair begun, we were living hundreds of miles apart and he was pledging his undying love for me. I didn’t understand it. Weren’t we best friends? Hadn’t it always been us against the world?

Confronting him didn’t help. He was weirdly calm. He told me that he didn’t love her, never had. She wasn’t even that attractive. He didn’t know what he was thinking. He loved me, of course. He wanted to marry me.

He was deluded. He believed that now that I knew, we could move on together and build a marriage. I sat in disbelief. He seemed to think we would be okay now. That we could move on from this.

To put it into context: I had always been the biggest emotional support in his life. I cheered him on when no one else would. I gave everything of myself to him. I ruthlessly defended him to friends and family who told me he wasn’t good enough. I supported him financially when he had nothing. I was a damn good girlfriend and amazing friend to him.

And he pursued an affair with someone else. Only a few months after my aunt died from cancer. While living in her house, I might add. While having the affair, he sat with me in my doctor’s office while I was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder.

I had many, many questions:

Why didn’t you just leave me?

Did you laugh with her like you did with me? Did ye have private jokes?

Did you love her?

Why did you not just admit it when I gave you so many chances?

Did you ever feel guilty?

When did you actively decide to do this?

And most of all…why?!

I struggled to understand the why. I still do. Without sounding horribly shallow, the woman was not extremely attractive. She was older. A writer would describe her as homely. So maybe they had a deep, emotional connection? Well, no, that didn’t appear to be the case either. I think I would have found it easier to comprehend if it made sense. But it didn’t. I kept trying to rationalize it in a petty, immature way: I’m prettier than her, I’m smarter. I’m more accomplished, more successful. Why wasn’t that enough?

It doesn’t matter. None of that matters. If Beyoncé gets cheated on, anyone can get cheated on.

And that became my mantra:

It is not, and never was, me.

It’s him.

He tried to reassure me that he didn’t love her; that I was the one he wanted. But I was done. The betrayal was too much. I didn’t know who this person was. He was a virtual stranger to me. I remember sitting across from him and thinking ‘who the hell are you? Who is this person I’ve lived with for thirteen years?’

The final nail in the coffin came when the other woman told me that he had taken her out for dinner the previous week. It wasn’t the thoughts of them having sex, or even sitting in our car together, or kissing that killed me. It was the fact that he hadn’t brought me to dinner in years. I imagined them, laughing together, sitting in some intimate restaurant completely unaware of the pain they were inflicting on me. It was a pain like nothing I’ve ever felt.

I told him to leave the next day. A bizarre clarity came over me. I was rid of him finally. I realised in that moment something that really set me free: I didn’t love him anymore. I had loved someone else entirely. Someone I perceived as honest, dependable, trustworthy. Someone who would never hurt me. Someone who would always love me and realise how lucky he was to have such a loyal and loving girlfriend. He was not that guy. Did I want the master manipulator and liar? Um, no thanks.

Bizarrely, I found the breakup easy. I mean this when I say it: I have never been happier. I know a lot of people might think I’m being conceited. That I’m saying this to exact some kind of petty revenge, like ‘look how great I’m doing, la la la’. But that’s not the case.

My friends and I have become so much closer. My best friend’s relationship ended only two months after mine. I’ve spent so much more time surrounding myself with friends and family. I’ve widened my circle considerably. My house is rarely empty. I’ve reconnected with old friends. I’ve dated. I’ve met amazing men; men who have treated me well and who remain my friends. I’ve even had one or two short term relationships. I’m not ready for anything more just yet because I’m enjoying myself too much. But I’ve met guys who are successful, funny, smart, who quote random TV shows just like me, who make me feel sexy and special all at once. They give me what I never got from him: Time. Attention. Affection.

And I’m getting ready to properly date now. I feel like I might finally be able to commit myself to something more. I guess time will tell.

I’ve become a better person throughout all of this. I lost stones of weight. I went back blond. I got an amazing job. I feel great. I go places I never would have went before. I’m out of a horrible rut that I was stuck in for years.

And despite what he put me through, I hope my ex is happy. I really don’t wish him any ill-will. Even when people around me verbally bash him, I still find myself defending him. Old habits, and all that. He was a silly person in ways, ignorant, selfish, deceitful. But he’s not a bad person. Genuinely. I know, under it all, there was a time when he loved me. A time when we were happy. And we had fun. To this day, I still see things that I know would make him laugh. I see things that remind me of him constantly. I have fond memories of our time together but unfortunately, they’ve been tainted by his betrayal. Honestly though, whatever he does in life, and wherever he goes, I hope he’s happy. And I hope to god he never does this to another person again. Maybe someday we might even be friends.

I acknowledge that we got involved too young. We fell in love quickly and absolutely. But the fire burned out long ago and I guess we just kept hoping it would reignite again some day. We should have parted ways, but we didn’t. That’s why I would advise anyone having sincere doubts about their relationship to really, really consider whether it adds value to your life or makes you happy. Mine didn’t. And if I didn’t receive that message on that random Tuesday night, I’d probably be getting married.

To anyone who has been betrayed, or hurt like me, I’ll say this:

It’s okay. Pain is inevitable in life. But choose to see it as something cleansing, something that indicates the end of something bad. Learn from it. Let it teach you so that you can avoid its cause again. And love yourself; you really should be your own best friend.

If you read this far, thank you! I needed to get all of this out. It’s been hugely therapeutic. Whoever you are, I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

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56 thoughts on “The Breakup

  1. Gaz says:

    This is such a well written account.
    I’m sorry this has happened to you and at the same time happy for you because of the freedom you’ve discovered.
    I hope life gets better and better for you. Take care of yourself and enjoy every minute of every day and night.

    • janeybgood says:

      It was really painful Gary, I won’t lie. But I’m also weirdly grateful that it happened. I’m so much happier. And I learned so much about myself and about pain and suffering.
      Thanks, as always, for your lovely comment 💕

  2. pensitivity101 says:

    So good for you to get this out. I married my first husband because I thought I’d be left on the shelf if I didn’t. It went sour after a year, a year of being supportive to his parents as his mother was dying of cancer. There was no-one else involved, but after she died, we had NOTHING in common and it was awful. You got out before it got any deeper. He cheated on you, he will probably cheat on his next partner. Believe me, you are better off.
    Second relationship also failed after almost 8 years…………. I got myself in debt trying to keep him happy, I looked after the house, his kids, he used me, but I know when I finally left after getting my act together (nervous breakdown), I had tried everything possible to make that relationship work. he didn’t want me, only what I could do and provide for him. Things couldn’t be more different with Hubby. I am blessed to have found him as we met when I was at my lowest.
    What I’m trying to say is, there is someone equally special for you. Don’t be in a rush, don’t go looking or expecting the next guy to be ‘The One’, let them find you. Be your own person, follow your interests, take up new ones, make new friends, but do it for you, not for someone else. The only way is up, and you’ll be surprised how many wonderful people you meet on the way.

    • janeybgood says:

      You have come through so much. You have described such a challenging and devastating situation but you’ve emerged from it with so much wisdom and happiness. That’s very inspiring to me.
      Yes, it’s important that I let that person come to me. I’m not in any rush for that right now but it would be nice to think he’s out there somewhere.
      As always, a sincere and heartfelt thank you for your wonderfully comforting comment 😊

      • pensitivity101 says:

        I’m a lot older than you are, but it was all part of my life’s learning curve. We are all different. Your soul mate is out there somewhere and you’ll find each other when you least expect it. ❤

  3. Divorce With Me says:

    As the first person said, you wrote a great account of your story in this post. That man mind-f*cked you and you could feel it but still believed in him. I think back to many of the things my ex husband would say to me that I knew I should never have tolerated, but for some reason I did. If it wasn’t in black and white, there was room for doubt. And he was a master manipulator so I lived in Gaslight Central. The affair finally became my way out. Painful as it is, you feel vindicated knowing you aren’t crazy. And it makes it easier to move past the relationship. (It creates other ghosts but that’s ok, your strength and the right partner will solve that.) I will never ever put up with any of it again. And it sounds like you won’t either. You’re young and beautiful and so much wiser because of this. Best of luck to you. xoxo

    • janeybgood says:

      Thank you so much. Although I hate that you went through something similar, I’m glad that you’re through it and you’ve really helped me by sharing it. And you’re so right; my initial reaction was ‘ah, so I’m not crazy!’
      And yes, I will never tolerate that behaviour again.
      Thanks so much for your comment. You’re fab! Xx

  4. Garfield Hug says:

    I am sorry Janey for all that you went through. I remember reading how happy you were to be getting married and now this. Still it is better for you to walk away than be stuck in a loveless relationship that sucks away all your self worth. You will find a new love soon and he will be the one. Garfield hugs

  5. The V Pub says:

    The worst part, at least when something similar happened to me, was that everything that I knew about the person came into question. It’s like ‘who is this person?’ That was very difficult to deal with. Someone that shared my deepest thoughts had betrayed me. The betrayal of intimacy was very hurtful, too. But, like you, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t me – it was her. But it takes a lot of work and suffering to come to this conclusion.
    It’s just too bad that people play these games with someones heart being on the line. But, these slings and arrows that life shoots our way is part of the human condition. Just know that there is someone out there who is truly worth of your love and friendship. And if I may close by fawning over that photo of you…again. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. ❤

    • janeybgood says:

      I’m so sorry something similar happened to you. It was truly like my worst fear being realised. But it’s made me so much stronger because I’ve realised I will never let another person treat me like that again.
      As always, I appreciate your thoughtful comment Rob. You’re such a good guy 😊

  6. Lisa Macy CA, RMP, CCH says:

    I’m so proud of you! This is not something that’s easy to deal with on sooo many levels, and you’ve navigated right through and come out the other side doing great! I’ve got a couple friends who have been divorced for years now and still are not where you are. You are going to find that perfect guy one of these days, when you’re ready, and you’ll “just know” when you do. Have a wonderful and blessed weekend! ❤

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks so much Lisa; that makes me feel amazing! I have gained so much out of all of this and that’s what I’m choosing to focus on.
      Love you girl, continue to kick ass!

  7. Anushree Pawar says:

    What a beautiful write-up. I could relate so much to it, especially the part of certain things reminding you of him and how you don’t wish any ill. That takes a lot of maturity and might! Thank you for this piece of writing, brought a huge smile on my face. Lots of love to you 🙂

  8. Britta says:

    Way to go for getting it all there, Janey! Writing is SO therapeutic. I understand the fear of leaving a relationship. I felt the exact same with my college boyfriend. The way you describe how your ex avoided you reminds me SO much of my ex boyfriend. Near the end, when I told him I loved him, he would look away without responding. Intuitively, I always knew there was something wrong with the relationship, but I was terrified to be single again (and we had only been dating for 22 months! Not even two years!). When he tried to break up with me, I FREAKED OUT and convinced him we shoud go on a break instead…we broke up for good a couple of weeks after coming back from our break.

    I’m so glad to hear you are doing well. I don’t think it’s conceited of you to call your break up easy. I think it means that, deep down, you knew it was right. I wish you all the best in the coming months and years. It certainly sounds like things are looking up for you.

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks Britta! I hope you’re doing well 😊
      Isn’t it terrible to be made to feel so rejected? But it’s so much better to be out of it. Breakups are always hard, regardless of the time spent together.
      Thanks again for sharing your own experience. Hope you’re having a nice summer ☺️

  9. dweezer19 says:

    Well done Janey. The human psyche so rarely makes sense. And sadly, relationships begun when we are so very young rarely survive our personal growth. You grew up, he grew restless. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Stay your beautiful, loving self.

  10. Lindsay says:

    You are exactly right, it was never about you. It was always about him, and it probably would have happened regardless of how the other woman looked or dressed or acted, or how awesome of a girlfriend/fiance you were. Good for you for knowing you deserved better and pursuing that.

    It sounds like you’re in a really good place – that’s wonderful!

    • janeybgood says:

      I remember being a little tipsy once and telling him that my biggest fear was him being unfaithful because I sensed that he was absolutely capable of it. There was just something in his personality that raised red flags for me.
      But I really am in a good place.
      Hope all is well with you and I really appreciate your comment xx

  11. Chanelle says:

    Thank you for sharing you story and sorry to hear what happened! Being with a person for that amount of time will be hard to get over at first but you sound like you’re taking steps in the right direction and focusing on yourself and doing what’s best for you. You deserve to be treated well and be with someone that wants to be with you just as much! Saying you wish him well shows your maturity. Keep going, you are doing great ❤ x

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks Chanelle; such a kind comment 😊 It was a huge chunk of my life but it could’ve been potentially much longer so I’m happy that I’m single now and really getting to know who I am.
      Hope you’re doing well yourself. Xxx

  12. Chelly says:

    It’s easy to look back and say you should have gotten out sooner but it’s so hard to make that decision, no matter what he did , it’s hard to let go of someone you care about, and it’s impossible not to feel guilty when you have to be the one to end it, no one ever wants to hurt the person they care about. The second half of your post sounded lighter so I’m happy for you and I really hope you are in a better place, I can imagine it might be hard to be completely honest with us when there’s a chance he might read it 😊. So just in case you’re suffering in silence, don’t forget we’re here for you ❤️ ps girl you look fabulous 😍

    • janeybgood says:

      Thanks a million! Your comments always make me smile 😊
      I actually did feel a weird sense of guilt. Like I was abandoning him or not attempting to save our relationship. That’s crazy; given he was the unfaithful one, but I guess your mind plays tricks on you.
      I hope you’re doing well 💕💕

    • janeybgood says:

      That’s exactly it. I don’t cry randomly and I’m rarely, if ever, irritable or down. I just feel better in every sense of the word.
      Thanks for stopping by 😊

  13. forlonelyhearts says:

    Reblogged this on For Lonely Hearts and commented:
    Thanks for sharing your post I’m sure it will help someone else. I had the same thing happen to me and it made me not want to trust another man. I haven’t been in a relationship or had sex in 3 years. Some people think I shouldn’t want a relationship because I am about to turn 60, but that’s a myth. I still like to fuck. I wish you the best! Mary

  14. joesbreakup says:

    I am going through a breakup currently and I just read your story. Thanks so much because it helped me tremendously. If you lived in Virginia beach I would take you to dinner tonight. My name is Joe and I wish you nothing but happiness. Have a blessed day. Thanks for sharing.

    • janeybgood says:

      I’m sorry to hear that. It’s a very tough time, but it does get better. Allow yourself to feel the pain and hurt because it’s completely natural. I hope you find healing and happiness. Thanks for your lovely comment 😊

  15. struggleswithmentalhealth says:

    I’m so glad you’re doing well 😀 If that was me, I don’t know if I would have recovered. I’m going through my own sort of breakup at the moment and it’s killing me. I can’t function at all. Reading your story though just made me feel like I’m not alone and that it does happen to other people too. So thank you for that. If that is a picture of you in your post then the guy you were with is a ******* idiot haha. You seem like such a lovely person so I wish you the best and well done for handling it so well. I may need pointers from you :D.

    • janeybgood says:

      Hiya! So so sorry for such a late reply. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through such a tough time, although I hope since you wrote this you’ve healed at least a little bit. The important thing to remember is that there’s no correct way to react to a breakup; you just have to let time pass and hope that it will bring healing and perspective. I really wish you all the best. And trust me, you’ll be okay xxx

  16. jamiebrooke12 says:

    I’m sorry you had to go through this. I believe trials like this is what will make you stronger & able to come closer to finding the right person. I hope you will find someone who will be more deserving of you. Thank you for sharing your story.

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