You were in a relationship with someone, whom you believed to be your soul-mate and the love of your life, but things started to go a bit awry, and before you knew it, the relationship was hitting the stony depths of rock-bottom and separation became an imminent reality.
You worked so hard at saving the last vestiges of anything that was still good about the bond you shared, but it still wasn’t enough. When the break up came, you cried or vented or went on a depression-fuelled drinking binge… or maybe you didn’t do any of these things and experienced the one thing you didn’t expect to feel Relief.
So what was that thing that you were so relieved about? The following list outlines the ten main reasons people become relieved about a relationship ending.
#1 You felt suffocated in the relationship. You may have had the most attentive, caring and helpful partner alive, the one that all your friends constantly comment upon saying how lucky you were and how they wish they could find someone similar.
However, sometimes having someone’s undivided attention around the clock can be a touch suffocating. Were they one of those people who were always on the phone with you? Always turning up uninvited? Never had any interests of their own? Maybe the relief you felt was due to the fact that you could now unfurl your wings and live your own life again without having every footstep observed and assisted.
#2 Your relationship was abusive. This is a difficult one, as most people would find it hard to believe that physical abuse is something that could so easily go unnoticed all the way to the break-up stage. However, there are different types of abuse and emotional/psychological abuse is just as despicable and potentially even more harming.
Maybe you were convinced that you couldn’t do anything on your own without this person, because of a carefully orchestrated emotional terror campaign carried out subtly over a period of time, in order to compensate for your ex’s fears and inadequacies. The relief here is from knowing that you are a better and bigger person than that, and that you were able to free yourself from abuse.
#3 You were no longer attracted to your partner. You might be scared of the ‘shallow’ label, but attraction is a big deal. Whatever your definition of attraction may be, whether it’s mental, physical, sexual or otherwise, it’s still important to have passionate or at least romantic feelings of attraction towards your partner. However, if the attraction is no longer there, then what was a loving relationship becomes a friendship, and the relief probably comes from knowing that you are now free to treat it like one.
#4 You have a disappointing sex life. If you come away from your bedroom exploits feeling that you had more excitement the last time you bit into a tuna-mayo sandwich, then this could be another reason why you are feeling relief. Although sexual prowess and innovation are not the be all and end all of a relationship, it is a huge part of developing an emotional connection.
Your relief may spring from the fact that you no longer have to pretend to feel lust towards your partner, or it may be because you’re now free to have more exciting sexual exploits elsewhere.
#5 You were cheated on. Whether directly responsible for the separation or not, cheating is something which no relationship should have to tolerate. You may have found out or even had it confessed to you, but even if after much thought, you decided to put it behind you and give the relationship another go, things will never be the same.
The bond of trust has been broken and there will always be an element of unease at the back of your mind. Plus, you also have to work on rebuilding the trust within your relationship. The fact that this unease has finally been dealt with by separating from your cheating partner may also be a reason for this feeling of relief.
#6 You’ve found someone more suitable. Although you’ve never considered cheating on your partner for a moment, you may have found someone whom you could potentially be attracted to. Whether it’s dazzling wit, great looks or blinding intelligence, they just blew you away and made your ex-partner seem, well, just a little bit ordinary. Although you might never have meant any harm to anyone, the relief you feel is that associated with being free to pursue this new, attractive person.
#7 Your relationship was unstable. They might have been the funniest person you’ve ever met and had you in stitches around the clock. They might have had Hollywood looks. They might have been a veritable Albert Einstein. But what they couldn’t do was save money, hold down a job or commit to any normal life plans.
The former qualities may have worked their magic on you throughout the short term but eventually you woke up to the fact that your partner was idly throwing his or her life away, and consequently yours with it. Escaping from a dead end relationship or a deadbeat partner would definitely make you glad you got away.
#8 Your partner bored you. This point is kind of the opposite to the previous one, a situation where stability was ALL you had. In this case, however, you might have chosen a home-maker as a partner – a sensible choice that many people make. Food on the table and a good roof over your head guaranteed.
But the relationship could have been passionless, uninspired, methodical and even downright BORING! Maybe you’re feeling relieved due to being in a position where you can now inject a little passion back into your life, where you can start living a little bit crazy and enjoy all the things you’ve missed.
#9 There’s some unexplained tension in your relationship. For no discernable reason whatsoever, you and your partner may have started to get on each other’s nerves. A cloud descended upon the relationship and turned everything sour with arguments erupting at every turn over the silliest little things, like the right way to make a cup of coffee or whether to leave the toilet seat up or down. There may have been a deep seated love between you both that seemed too good to throw away for a time, but that relief you feel is obviously due to having escaped all that tension and bickering.
#10 You have mismatched levels of intelligence. Another difficult one. Everything else might be perfect – again with the looks, the sex life, the charisma, the sense of humor – but one day you woke up and realized that you’d actually like an intelligent conversation with the supposed love of your life, or you may pick up on the fact that your partner wants to have more intellectual conversations that you can’t keep up with.
If you’re the one who’s more intelligent, you may be relieved at not having to simplify everything you want to discuss. If you’re the one who feels like your partner is way too smart, your relief may be from the fact that you no longer have to feel like every conversation is a college lecture.
There should be no shame in feeling relief after a break up. After all, the fact that you’ve broken up means you have both admitted that something was amiss in your relationship. Feeling guilty about your relief will only hold you back, so just accept this feeling and move on with a smile!