When A Relationship Ends, Why Can't People Just Walk Away?

Murder, fights, lawsuits, crying jags, vengence…what the hell?

If it is over, it is over.

There are billions of people on this earth and without a doubt, there is someone out there waiting for you who is a hell of a lot better than the person you broke up with.

So when a relationship is over - get over it, get out and move on!

OK. I think I see your point, in that you shouldn’t hold out false hope and shouldn’t stay miserable for too long afterwards, yadda yadda . . .

. . . but as for other aspects of a breakup, the most recent issue of Utne had an article about couples who break up romantically, but are reluctant to trash the whole relationship just because the romance didn’t work out.

And I even read the article.

But I can’t really remember what it said.

Can anyone help?

Unfortunately too many times the relationship doesn’t end cleanly.

In the interest of ‘letting the other down easy’ or just due to a masochistic streak sometimes the person who breaks off the relationship will make it seem like the other person can do something to salvage the relationship but they are never very clear on exactly what that is.

Also more and more there are children or property involved that makes just walking away not as easy as it sounds.

I think some people can’t just walk away because they invested so much of themselves into the relationship that it is woven into a tight tapestry.

On my last relationship (3.5 years) I had never opened up to a person the way I did with my SO (and I was married for over 12 years before that). I had never experienced such highs and lows. I did many “first” things with this person (first cruise, first parasailing, first trip to Bahamas, first new foods, etc…)
I was so open that when he called and said he never wanted to see me again I was devastated. I did walk away but not without writing a thick journal of daily feelings. I did “accidently” call his voice mail at work when I knew he woulnd’t be there just to hear his voice. These things got me by. This November will be 3 years that we had broken up and I still have dreams of him.

Because when many of us have relationships, we make that other person a part of us.

Hence, when the relationship ends, it’s rather like tearing your own arm off. It’s painful and takes a long time to heal.

Bully for you if your shallowness means that this never happens.

A relationship is usually based on trust. You are in a relationship because you trust the other person with private aspects of your life. Then the relationship ends.

If the partner did something to end the relationship, it probably involved a breach of that trust. If it was you, the first thing withdrawn is your trust.

Few relationships start with the expectation of ending someday; when they do the reacions of the people involved usually begin with the loss of trust. The loss of this trust makes one feel vulnerable, and different people react in different ways.

Possesions and children magnify the loss. When you’re used to your life and a major change comes along, it’s hard to adjust- for instance, moving from living with your kids to seeing them occasionally under supervision; or having to sell the home you’ve been investing in for years.

I think anyone who can just walk away from a relaionship, like the OP wants, has no feelings involved- a lack of trust in the relationship.

YMMV, of course.

(The “someone else out there” idea does not work for everybody. Many people are not in the position to just start over; or they lack the skills to find someone else. The fear of this is another factor- when you think you are with your soulmate, what happens if your soulmate rejects you? Who else will love you?)

It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint a precise, well-defined time when a relationship is over, or should be over. If you break up with someone the first second they do something that displeases you, you’ll be single forever. Part of loving someone is putting up with their imperfections. If a relationship slowly falls apart, it may take a while to realize that you’re spending more time putting up with your SO than enjoying being with them.

I agree with your OP in theory, but it’s overly-simplistic. Sometimes it’s worth staying in a relationship and working through a rough patch, other times it’s not. It’s hard to make general rules. Walking away from relationships too quickly can be worse than staying too long.

I’m with DMark…I’ve seen plenty of people break up with a boy or girl they weren’t living with, or had any children with who seem to think that public screaming matches or stalking or harassing phone calls are the thing to do. Have some dignity, for pete’s sake. I advised my younger brother that if a girl broke up with him, no matter how much he liked her, to have some self-control about the whole thing. She could respect him, at least, rather than remember him as a whiner or someone who frightened her.

Everyone expresses loss, anger, grief, and sadness in MANY different ways. Not everyone can just walk away as you suggest. It’s like you expect the same reaction from everyone in so many varying situations! That’s impossible. This sounds cliche, but in matters of the heart, reason is not usually present.

Hmm…I feel like someone died since some of my old relationships ended. You get damn close to someone and then ‘click’ - it’s over? Even married now and hap-hap-happy, I actually did just ‘click’ walk away and I don’t have closure to this day…and it bothers me!

Humans wrestle with their emotions, and sometimes they aren’t prepared to face them and live with them, especially if they never had to. Their world shrinks and the magnitude of what happened is exagerrated. Bad things happen when humans are emotionally wrought - the nature of the beast.

What I meant to say was that as happilly married as I am now, I feel bad over walking away from a past relationship: no closure, like someone dying.

I don’t think it’s ‘shallow’ to find this behavior unhealthy, unpleasant, and damn scary.

Sad, mad, or desparate and undignified is one thing, but not what DMark is talking about.

Sorry to sound trite, but it’s about control. ‘You will NOT live without me; I will take your peace of mind, money, future, or even your life.’

I hope my nieces all find men like DMark.

For myself, I think if a relationship is going down, it should go down in flames. Shouts, curses, flying glass-ware, and tears of fury. But not threats and flying fists.

And I think lawyers can actually help if property and future obligations are involved.