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9 Year Love: The Pain of Ending a Long-Term Relationship

9-year love ending relationship

Everyone has their own love story to tell; in a way, perhaps all love stories are the same. Below are 6 reasons that leaving may be the best choice.

My love story was less than perfect, but it was mine to tell. I will remember the entire story until the end of my life. No one can really erase memories, no matter how hard you might try. Perhaps, one day, when life sees me as a bitter old woman, I will have memories to look back on—memories of a nine-year love—which was lost in the sands of time.

Looking back, my love started as innocently as any love story does. Being an introvert, I never initiated conversation; it was never my thing. While I wasn’t a loner, I reveled in being alone, because it gave me time to find my hideaway from the rest of the world. Even in my self-imposed isolation, there was always some part of me that longed for someone. Perhaps my personality gave me an idealistic picture of how relationships should be. I blame my younger self for having those ideals, but life seemed easier when I had an innocent view of the world.

Lessons learned

Love can be so fickle, and time so often makes or breaks a relationship. I guess time was not really on our side. We were not getting any younger, and we both found ourselves at a crossroads in our lives. In the end, we found that we had to make a painful decision.

The past can hurt, but experience has taught me that you can either let go or keep running. Perhaps when I was younger, I would have chosen to run; however, I’ve learned the hard way that I cannot really run away from my past without being haunted by it. It came back to haunt me, no matter how hard I tried to avoid it.

What can the memories of a past love teach you about letting go, moving on, and finally finding love again?

#1 Do not hold onto a relationship simply because it is comfortable. For a time, I knew that the relationship was dying, because there was really nothing much to hold on to or to fight for. I realized then that the reason I was forcing myself to stay was that I had become comfortable.

Like many people, I have made the mistake of choosing to stay because of the comfort I felt. Comfort should not be confused with love, because it can lead to settling. My mother told me to never settle in a relationship; I almost did. [Read: 16 signs you’re settling in an unhappy relationship]

#2 How much time you invested into a relationship is never a good reason to stay. Nine years doesn’t just happen overnight. He and I grew together, and saw each other through many things. Unfortunately, we came to realize that time greatly changed us. Time often brings out the ugliness in people and shows their greatest weaknesses and fears. Love ultimately becomes a choice and making the choice day in and day out can become quite a challenge.

I was having an internal debate on whether I should stay or not. There I was, dreading the nine years, fearing it would all go to waste and be for naught. I eventually came to realize that a dead-end relationship can never be, and no matter how much time you have invested in a relationship, if the two of you are not compatible, it will be doomed. Whether you break up now, or waste another four years, the relationship cannot last.

#3 Love alone cannot save a relationship. As much as we both tried to save the relationship we had, we knew deep in our hearts that we were doomed to fail. While we tried to deny it and promised each other that we still loved each other, there was nothing much we could do. The most painful thing I realized was that love would ultimately fly out the window when we were both too stubborn and unwilling to let go of our pride.

Love alone cannot save a relationship that has grown weary because of beatings and trials. Love alone cannot save a relationship that has seen its share of betrayals and doubts. Love alone could never save us. [Confession: What I learned from the man who did not love me]

#4 We were a tragedy waiting to happen. From the onset of our relationship, we were doomed. The way I see it, nearly everyone’s relationship starts off as a bit of a tragedy waiting to happen, because we never really know where the relationship will take us, or how it will all go. In our case, he and I were a tragedy waiting to happen, but we just couldn’t see it.

Perhaps we were too blinded by superficial things to realize the awful truth. As your relationship ages, re-evaluate and reassess your wants and needs to make sure the two of you are still on parallel paths.

#5 Breaking up was the hardest thing to do, but it ultimately saved us. Breakups are horrific, and mine was quite a traumatic event. To say that the breakup left a gaping hole in my heart is an understatement. It definitely sucked during that particular time in my life, and I dealt with the pain in my own way. But the breakup saved me. I realized that the world was never as it seemed, and that I always had to be cautious. My greatest pain became my salvation.

Although breakups feel unbearable, they can teach us about ourselves and others. In the midst of your own breakup, search for answers and lessons that may be hiding in your struggle. [Read: How to find closure with yourself after you end a relationship]

#6 Letting him go will always be the hardest part. When all is said and done, I had to let him go. I had to say goodbye to the man who held my heart for so long. I might have only my memories left to visit, but I had to let him go—for both our sakes. We can never fully move on with our lives if we don’t choose to let each other go. It might be sad to think of at first, or even unthinkable, but this is where we find ourselves: strangers, but with fond memories.

Breakups are heart-wrenching and are never easy. I cannot say that I have fully moved on with my life, as the pain is still new. As I write these words, memories—both the good and the bad—fill my mind. Our romance wasn’t exactly a whirlwind; it took time, which we had both invested.

[Read: The real reason behind why love hurts so much when it goes bad]

Perhaps Neruda said it best: “Love is so short and forgetting is so long.” Had I known it took this long to forget someone, I would have had my gift of memory taken away from me. But perhaps being left with only memories to visit is a good thing; I can look back over the past without regret, and look to the future stronger and wiser.

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Colleen Anne Javellana
Colleen Anne Javellana
I'm a quirky and passionate individual who believes in True Love. I live for deep conversations and a good novel to read. I am in love with Life, and I want to ...

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2 thoughts on “9 Year Love: The Pain of Ending a Long-Term Relationship”

  1. Dream says:

    My boyfriend lost his dad a year ago. I tried so hard to make everything okay for him again, that I nearly lost myself. I was constantly thinking about how I could help him or make him feel better. I knew all he needed was time and my patience, but I just couldn’t stand it to see him this devastated.. We ended our year abroad (we were in Japan at the time his father died) together, and had lots of free time until we went to college in October. As a result, we spend so much time together that it nearly destroyed our relationship. I was constantly feeling down because he was blocking my every attempt to make him FEEL something. He did not have the easiest live so far, his mother nearly died from cancer two years ago, and she is still very sick from the aftermath. So every time that I felt like I wanted to quit and leave him, I just felt soo selfish. So instead I would just suck it up and feel worse every day. Now nearly a year later, I am still with him. He got better and I am more than happy that I stayed ! And now that we have been through all that together I think our relationship is stronger and healthier than to begin with.

  2. playful beast says:

    For me, I ended a nearly 4 year relationship as we just weren’t the same people we were when we fell in love; whilst growing up and finding/changing yourself is somewhat inevitable over the course of 4 years I feel that this was magnified to an extent that we both couldn’t deal with (I more so) as it was over the ages 16-20 and throughout our time at university – a life changing time. I began to feel different around 2.5/3 years in, at the epitome of meeting more eclectic people and when I started experiencing new things; living more freely, going out, staying over friends. My ex never shared the enjoyment of doing these things (he was 17, soon 18 when we got together so went out drinking before I did) and instead wasn’t interested in doing these activities with me. Instead I almost feel that he regressed – he used to love going out, going into town, going out places to eat, playing guitar in his band and making music, just enjoy hanging out with me and relaxing; after a couple of years (and during our second year at university) his relationship with weed increased, he wanted to try harder drugs, he never made music anymore (not upsetting on its own, but I could just see the passion and drive for it leaving him as the drugs increased), wouldn’t share my enjoyed activities, got heavily into watching football and stayed in playing computer games. We would talk about our issues and agree to compromise for each other but it never happened. Around 3 years in, I gained a wandering eye. I cheated on him 3 and a half years in, drunkenly (not that that’s an excuse) but we since believed we could work through it). I maintain I could have worked through my relationship issues and hang-ups and reached a fair conclusion for us both earlier using what I’ve learnt from some articles. I was no longer in love with my ex after around 3 years and simply just saw him as a best friend; someone I was comfortable with, talked to often (though not as much as I used to), and got used to having him there. We didn’t have sex for around the last month or so of our relationship and (as I no longer loved him romantically or found him sexually attractive) I accidentally fell for my close friend so broke it off in order to pursue my friend. Basically I broke it off (the hardest thing I’ve ever done, saying goodbye to my best friend) because we were no longer the same people we fell in love with, we both grew up and apart and took different paths. I wanted/needed different qualities in a partner as I grew up and we weren’t fulfilling each others happiness like we used to, which could not be fixed in this situation. I still think he is an amazing guy who I am blessed to have experienced my first proper relationship with and wish him all the best and sincerely apologize for the heartache I caused him. Oh my god if you guys couldn’t guess I needed to get that off my chest!!

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