Being blindsided by a breakup is common. As is the feeling that, despite its growing pains and hiccups, the relationship didn’t deserve a premature death.
But just because we didn’t see it coming doesn’t mean there wasn’t a reason. And while I don’t want to twist the breakup dagger any deeper in the wound, perhaps our inability to see the reason is part of the problem (as is our ex’s choice to not communicate it).
This article’s purpose is to dig through the thin, icy crust of a seemingly frivolous and capricious breakup in search of the truth that lies beneath.
Part 1: Every Breakup Has A Reason
I’m going to dive right into the mechanics of a “silent” breakup by listing 4 common reasons we are left feeling like the breakup happened for “no reason”.
1. Partners Will Stop Communicating When The Ship Is Sinking
The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. And one of the many signs the romantic flame is fading is a reduced will to fight for the relationship.
In practice this means a partner may stop communicating their problems because they no longer believe a solution can be reached.
Also in practice, this means that the dumpee will have no idea what is actually going on inside the dumper’s mind, and when the curtain falls they will be blindsided by a decision that they did not, could not see coming.
2. The Reason For The Breakup Lies Outside Of The Relationship
Sometimes the forces that work actively or passively to tear your relationship apart lie outside of your control. This can mean many different things. Here are a few examples:
- Your partner’s friends and family are hostile to the relationship and act as a constant, divisive influence.
- Your partner has met someone else.
- Your partner is suffocating and stressed out by aspects of life that might not have anything to do with the relationship itself, and the breakup was a last desperate attempt to create some breathing room.
The main thing that unites all of these points is that they are processes that you have no direct control over. So, if these relationship stressors prevail, you will be left asking yourself what you did wrong.
3. When Our Inability To See The Reason Is The Reason
Sometimes we dismiss things that carry a great deal more weight to our partners than we imagined.
This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault, but is a consequence of differing needs or ways of interpreting things.
Yes, perhaps we could have been more insightful, but then again perhaps our partner could have communicated the urgency of this “differing of opinion” a little more forcefully. It isn’t the intent of this article to judge and lay the blame, merely to get you thinking.
Were you warned resentment was piling up even if it seemed trivial to you at the time? Chances are as your breakup separation progresses the clues will begin to bubble up to the surface.
4. Your Ex Doesn’t Want To Hurt Your Feelings
Our ex might want to avoid confrontation or unduly hurt our healings and therefore keep the reasons for the breakup to themselves.
There isn’t much to add here. Unlike the other points above, there’s little we can do to coax the truth out of someone who is purposefully hiding their reasons from us.
We might tell our ex that we’re big and strong and can take whatever unpleasant truths led to the breakup, but there’s no guarantee that we won’t be force-fed more feel-good nonsense.
Part 2: On Reconciling And Moving On
Letting Go Without Closure
If it looks like our ex is never coming back, then it’s time to make the most of what we have and move forward.
The problem with moving on in a breakup that has no stated cause or reason is that you’re going to have very little in the way of closure, and questions will constantly brim to the surface and threaten to suffocate your healing.
While I am adamant that letting go means surrendering to the questions that haunt us rather than fighting our way to clarity (which is why “acceptance” is the end-goal of healing, not “happiness”). Trying to pick up the pieces of our relationship jigsaw back together is unavoidable.
We’re going to want to know what went wrong. Not only as a way to safeguard our future relationships but perhaps also to forgive ourselves.
There are no shortcuts to moving on, but the absence of a reason will make the journey that much harder in the short-term. In the long-term, the outlook is rosier, because we are less likely to use whatever breakup reason we are given to foster a false sense of hope. The earlier we hit “the wall” the earlier we can process it and make a breakthrough.
Reconciling Without Knowing What To Fix
If your ex broke up with you, and there’s the will to reconcile, then it is up to your ex to tell you what drove them away the first time around. However, it is also up to us as dumpees to listen.
It may seem obvious, but listening doesn’t just mean hearing what they have to say, it means being receptive to whatever subjective bias your ex may present. It means that, whether we agree with them or not, the stated reasons are nevertheless deal-breakers, for them.
Emotions are not always rooted in logic and attempting to argue our partner out of their core needs will lead us nowhere. They may attempt to change temporarily to please you, but the cost will be long-term misery for you both as you forsake aspects of individuality that are crucial to your well-being.
Sometimes you can negotiate a solution, sometimes you can’t.
Breaking Up For No Reason
There’s always a reason. We may not always understand it, we might not always see it, and we might never know what it is, but it’s there.
The good news is that we don’t need a reason to move forward. Acceptance requires an unconditional surrender to our existential uncertainty, not having a movie-like moment when all the threads of the past come together in an intricate web of meaning, setting us free.