Saturday, December 29, 2007


I recently ended a relationship of 20 years and even though I was the one who ended it, the emotions I'm living through are tougher than I thought. I wrote this piece right after my birthday, when I was feeling a bit of the birthday blues. I hope to make it a starter for an online journal.

Reflections of a Breakup

Life is a roller coaster! The highs, the lows, and the speed of a thrill ride rival the unpredictable journey of life. It's unexpected turns take us through a range of emotions from happiness to despair and back again. At this moment in time, my life has just taken one of those unexpected turns and is careening towards the bottom of a long, steep hill.

I am a forty-plus year old gay man. I recently had a birthday, which no doubt has intensified this unwanted state of mind I've been experiencing as of late. I am writing this because I believe any good writer speaks from experience, and what I am now experiencing beckons me to let it out somehow, to help get me through this.

About eight weeks ago, my partner and I ended our relationship of twenty years. I was the one who wanted out. So why am I hurting so much? I've been thinking about this breakup for about two or three years now. I eased into this relationship at a young age and, well, coasted through what seemed like an instant in time. Eventually, I began to realize that I wasn't happy. There was so much I wanted to experience in life that I couldn't. I felt trapped in a 'contented' existence. I wanted to be truly happy!

The only answer to realizing true happiness lies within oneself. Growing up American, I've always believed in the notion of the "pursuit of happiness." There are many stories out there concerning people's quest for genuine satisfaction with their own existence, their own state of bliss. Not all have happy endings, but one who constantly strives towards happiness is admirable and virtuous. Too many people accept their place in life, believing they have no control over their destiny. This is unfortunate.

The greatest determiner of happiness lies within how one approaches life. A person's outlook on life is a powerful tool everyone possesses and is key to a happy existence. Positive attitude breeds confidence, which in turn breeds optimism. The journey towards bliss is easier. Those who lack confidence, the many who suffer from low self-esteem, are the inherent pessimists of the world, spending their lives in perpetual mediocrity and acceptance for their place in life.

Today, it is my own self-esteem that is to blame for my current state of pessimism towards my own future. For the past several years of my relationship, I've yearned for the moment in which I now find myself. I never really had the courage to voice my feelings and go through with it. Communication was, and still is, our greatest problem. I tried in the past to share my feelings, but any attempt at conversation ended in silent frustration. So I resorted to the printed word. The breakup finally took place when he found an open-hearted letter I had written on our 20th anniversary.

"Do you still feel that way?", he asked me almost four months later, upon telling me he found the letter.

"Yes", I answered.

"So, how do we do this?"

That was it! No discussion. No sharing of thoughts or feelings. After twenty years, it was over in a flash! I was somewhat startled at the nonchalant reaction. I had expected more of an attempt to prevent the split. I still loved him. I still do! But, there was no protest, only quiet acceptance. One of the worst consequences of non-communication is the second guessing. I never knew what he was thinking. I incessantly questioned his feelings for me. His reaction seemed to validate my feelings that maybe he didn't really love me. He only accepted his place in life, with me as his 'other-half'.

The relief I thought would come never did. The ensuing weeks have worked to smash my already sagging self-confidence towards the depths of this hill.

One day, when I was at work, he moved our furniture into separate rooms, taking our bed with him. It was his way of telling me he was angry and that he needed to push me as far away from him as he could. The action was a great blow to my hopes of a lasting kinship. My self-confidence waned. I was the bad guy.

What had I done? Will I be doomed to misery because I ended it? I cried myself to sleep that night on a twin air mattress I borrowed from my sister. For the first time in a long time, I felt completely lost. He obviously wasn't ready for friendship. I shouldn't have been so shocked. After all, I'd had two or three years to prepare myself. He'd only had a few days.

So I write this with a feeling of hopelessness. At this moment, the future looks bleak. What will I do? Where will I live? How will I survive? Will I ever find another kindred spirit? Or will I be alone? I just experienced the worst birthday of my life and that has brought me to this current state of self-pity. Breaking up is hard! Harder than I envisioned. Deep down, I know I'll come through this eventually. It's not going to be easy, though... (to be continued)


  1. Some comments from Yahoo Answers:

    "I think that writing and journaling about our lives is helpful for self-improvement. We can go back to something we might have written months back, and see how we have improved or changed."

  2. John this is an incrediable piece of writing. As a face my 50th B'day in a few months, I share many of your sentiments. Our stories are similar. However, I was the one who was dumpped. My partnership lasted 14 years and ended in 2 hours. It's been some time since the break-up. The pain hasn't gone away. One day it will. I hope to be rid of the poison he injected into me. He ruined me-- mind, body and soul. One day I will be able to tell him what he did to me. Or, does he already know?

    John, I'm not sure you will get this because it is being posted in an entry from 2007. I f you do read this please let me know.