All Good Things Must Come To An End

24 Feb

This is a post about a breakup, my breakup. A breakup I’ve rarely discussed save a few long discussions with key people in my life. A breakup which started with love, and ended with love.

“A” and I met during transitional periods in our lives. I had some serious emotional issues I was dealing with, and he was beginning his journey of self-discovery. I was growing healthy while he was growing up. We were (and still are) different in many ways, but we were able to use those differences to help one another during a time when we really needed another we could call home.

A is a wonderful man. He is intelligent, loyal, trustworthy, compassionate, a great listener, understanding, forgiving, funny, attractive, fun, supportive, romantic, and a laundry list of other things you’d want a mate to be. I would look at other people’s partners and think, “What an idiot. I’m lucky to have A.”

We did all the things couple should do if they want to stay together. We communicated our thoughts and feelings. We resolved all of our issues instead of sweeping them under the rug. We hugged and kissed often. We practiced random acts of romance for the other. We always had fun, and believed in living a life of adventure. We never let “being right” become more important than being in love. We’d admit when we were wrong, and apologized when necessary.

As everyone knows, relationships are complicated. There are times when a breakup is the obvious choice, and people hang on by the skin of their teeth as they destroy each other. There are times when a relationship is copacetic, and the people in it find themselves having the “I think it’s over” discussion. There are reasons and seasons for everything, and I’m beginning to understand this more and more as I mature.

There wasn’t one thing that ended our relationship. No big fight, no act of betrayal, no dramatic event. It was a simple conversation we had sitting on the living room floor of our apartment. One of us spoke first, and the other agreed. Our relationship was over.

I went home to California this past Christmas. I spent one of my evenings there drinking wine and talking with my aunt. During our conversation, we discussed the breakup of A and I. I think, like many others, she was curious as to what went wrong. Despite it’s truth, it’s odd to respond, “Nothing, really.” At best it appears glib, at worst it makes it seem like I’m not being truthful.

I told her A and I talked at lengths about the end of our relationship, and how it wasn’t any one thing which broke us up. We just didn’t feel the spark people should feel when they’re with their significant other.  Our romantic love had faded, and despite deeply caring about each other, we knew we could ask for more out of life.

She said she had been reading a book (I later learned it was this one) and in it, the author asserted that “good is the enemy is great.” Essentially, we get so comfortable in “good” situations or routines that we fail to ever strive for greatness. The writer believed in this notion so much that it’s the first sentence in his book. A and I believed in it so much we ended our relationship over it.

I see good all around me. A good wife with her good husband in their good house in a good neighborhood. Good employees working for good employers in a good job. Good children getting good grades so they can get into good colleges.

Why is everyone so content with living a good life? I sure as hell want greatness.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about the breakup at first, and that I didn’t question our decision at certain times. It’s so easy to get sucked back into a good situation because it’s a sure bet. But, as any gambler will tell you, you’ve got to risk big to win big. We loved ourselves (and each other) so much that we wanted to win big in the love department.

Several months have passed since we broke up, and I’m happy to report that we are still incredibly close. He is one of my best friends. He still lets me say completely inappropriate and sexually explicit jokes around him. His mom sends me cards. We live together as roommates. We’re a regular Jerry Springer episode, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We are moving on in our lives. He has been actively dating, and I am truly opening my heart up for the first time in my life. He has been spending more time with friends, and I have been spending time pursuing writing as a career. He is excited about his future, and so am I.

We’re both doing great.

110 Responses to “All Good Things Must Come To An End”

  1. spiritualallegory 11/12/2013 at 10:05 pm #

    This is amazing. God you’ve got such a good piece of the puzzle that I’m not sure I have yet or not. But it’s good to see someone who has gone into the places that are diffucult and come out the other side. Thank you.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/12/2013 at 11:57 pm #

      We all get there in good time. This wasn’t my first “real relationship” breakup so I had the experience from my previous ones to help me through this. I am also very lucky because my ex is a wonderful man, and our ability to remain friends softened the blow.

      You may not see the picture of your puzzle yet, but I assure you that you have more pieces than you think you do.

      • spiritualallegory 11/13/2013 at 9:52 am #

        Thanks for the nice words! Really, so kind of you to reply. Will keep reading and all the best to you, mastress blogess.

  2. philosophermouseofthehedge 05/31/2013 at 6:39 am #

    Good plan (or should that be great plan?) If it’s not “right”, it’s not right. Slow bleeding can kill an organism just as much as sudden trauma can….the slow one may actually be worse as it’s ignored and over looked as not important until it’s too late.
    Better to roll on.
    Nicely written post

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 11:20 pm #

      You’re absolutely right. Sometimes it’s like a poison that ends up slowly killing you. Gotta keep your wits about you at all time.

  3. tinemagpayo 05/22/2013 at 7:28 pm #

    Sometimes, staying together isnt the happily ever after :) Good luck with your writing career :)

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 11:18 pm #

      The happily ever after comes from chasing your happiness.

  4. Jami 03/29/2013 at 3:39 pm #

    What an awesome love story.

  5. GiggsMcGill Jill 03/09/2013 at 3:26 pm #

    That’s a really nice story. A really great way to look at the breakup (not good, great!). I really like what you’re saying here, about striving for greatness in your life. It’s so true :) can’t wait to give you a hug over this at blogger meetup!! Hahaha

    • Jen and Tonic 03/12/2013 at 8:14 pm #

      YES! I shall give you the greatest hug you’ve ever experienced. All oxygen will leave you, and you will just be breathing happiness.

  6. rollergiraffe 03/03/2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Just when I thought you were pretty much amazing already, you go ahead and be all amazinger. What a blessing to be able to walk away from something good without regrets, knowing you’re headed for even better. And it sounds like in the process you’ve maintained what you love most about your relationship with A. Well done, you!

    • Jen and Tonic 03/12/2013 at 8:13 pm #

      Keeping a good relationship with him was the most important thing to me. I love and value him so tremendously, as much as I do myself. It made sense to set us both free to be the happiest people we can be.

      Thanks for your kind words, means a lot.

  7. Main Street Musings Blog 03/03/2013 at 4:14 am #

    “Control your destiny or somebody else will.” I think it’s a book title— but I like the phrase. Good luck, Jen.

    • Jen and Tonic 03/12/2013 at 8:12 pm #

      Thanks, Lisa. I think we all have the ability to choose our own path. Sometimes the options don’t seem great at the time, but we have more choices than we realize.

  8. Lyssapants 03/01/2013 at 6:40 pm #

    Glad to hear.

    • Jen and Tonic 03/12/2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Thanks! I hope one day to have a happy ending of my own, one that allows me to have a harlem shake save the date announcement.

      • Lyssapants 03/12/2013 at 9:36 pm #

        You will!!!! If I have to tape it myself.

        • Jen and Tonic 03/12/2013 at 9:45 pm #

          Can I borrow your cat for it?

          • Lyssapants 03/12/2013 at 10:01 pm #

            Absolutely. She does lingerie shoots now.

  9. The Hook 03/01/2013 at 11:42 am #

    You’re a brave soul and a truly wonderful person. Good luck.

    • Jen and Tonic 03/01/2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words. We all have our moments o bravery, this is mine.

  10. Nicole Marie 03/01/2013 at 10:32 am #

    Wow, good for both of you. As everyone else said, you are a strong, intelligent woman. Glad to hear you’re both doing so well.

    • Jen and Tonic 03/01/2013 at 1:26 pm #

      Me too. I think this is the best possible outcome for the situation, and you can’t complain about that.

  11. The Unbearable Banishment 02/27/2013 at 3:58 am #

    Look, I don’t mean to sound like the wet noodle here but of course you want “great.” We ALL want great. But I believe greatness is something that’s touched on occasionally in life and nearly impossible to maintain as a permanent state. It just is! Great turns to good, is occasionally revisited, and settles back to good again. Be careful to manage your expectations, least your search turn into one without an endgame.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/27/2013 at 6:47 am #

      I actually don’t accept that theory. Well, I’m trying not to anyway. I don’t think good is a permanent state most of us live in, and it’s only occasionally peppered with bouts of greatness. I think you can have a great life with less great moments. I liken it to a top athlete. He/she is outstanding in 90% of the games he/she plays, but the greatness isn’t diminished by the 10% of the games that didn’t go so well. He/she gets back up, and strives for greatness again. It may not always happen, but they reach it more often because of that effort.

      There are so many people who are living proof that greatness is an endgame in itself. People I know in my life are putting it into practice every single day, and make me want a life like that. I agree that we all need to be realistic about our expectations, but to say that good is a semi-permanent state we all must live in doesn’t seem realistic to me either.

      I hope this was taken with the tone it was intended. It’s easy to sound like a super dick on the internet!

      • The Unbearable Banishment 02/28/2013 at 5:22 am #

        First and foremost, I absolutely understand your intent and the needle hasn’t moved one notch on my super dick meter. I carry a super dick meter in my back pocket and checked.

        You need a different metaphor. What happens when a top athlete is 40 or 50 years old? They have now moved into a phase where it will be physically impossible to attain the “greatness” they knew in their youth. Do they then walk around thinking, “Oh, I’m fucked. I’ll never be great again,” or do they embrace the “goodness” that surrounds them?

        The other danger is that you can become so married to the notion of pursuing “greatness,” that when disappointment knocks on your door (which it inevitably will) you are ill-equipped to deal with it because if flies in the face of your notion of how great life should be.

        I wasn’t going to play this card but I’m afraid you leave me no choice. I’ve got a few years on you and nothing makes you brilliant better than hindsight. I’ve met many good-intentioned, ambitious folks who spent far too much time spinning their wheels in their attempt for perfection, while a beautiful, good life whizzed right by them.

        Same caveat as yours. Hope I don’t sound like a dick. That’s not my intent. This time.

        • Jen and Tonic 02/28/2013 at 8:12 pm #

          “I’ve met many good-intentioned, ambitious folks who spent far too much time spinning their wheels in their attempt for perfection, while a beautiful, good life whizzed right by them.” Your hindsight is not your own. I know many people who feel I’m giving up a lot by deciding not to have children. “But they bring you so much joy. They love you. They’ll take care of you when you’re older. They make you a better person.” They feel my well-intentioned, ambitious nature to lead a life sans kids is the wrong choice. How do you know you’re not doing that same thing for those in your life?

          I do have a question– are you accepting that good is the best we can all do? If not, how do you personally determine when you’ve reached your peak? Because all this article was examining is how I haven’t reached mine.

  12. andy1076 02/26/2013 at 5:55 pm #

    I have a friend who I met in the same way, we had a few bumps since we came off the relationship that just simply didn’t work to now her being my closest friend to the point that there’s not a day that we aren’t there for each other :) great post!

    • Jen and Tonic 02/26/2013 at 9:13 pm #

      I’m really happy to hear that! It’s good to see people being able to move past their current relationship and let it evolve into something equally as great.

  13. Maggie O'C 02/26/2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Good for you Jen! I’m glad you are learning this a good 10 years or so before I did. Would you mind if I excerpted some of this? Of course, I would credit you.

  14. iRuniBreathe 02/26/2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Great post Jen! It’s not about settling for good, but about expecting greatness from oneself. Relationships are funny things in that we really can’t control them. I so like how you acknowledged that nothing ‘bad’ happened, you just were both growing up, and then grew apart. Good thing to take the step to acknowledge this now, rather than investing in more time (and potential heartaches). I’m glad to hear you are in a good place with it now.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/26/2013 at 9:11 pm #

      Our friendship was more important than anything else. I didn’t want us to be one of those couple who ends up resenting each other in 10 years. I doubt that would have happened, but why take the risk? It sets him free to find someone better suited for him, and does the same for me.

  15. travellingmo 02/25/2013 at 12:06 pm #

    I’m so happy for you. It sounds like you guys really did the right thing. Don’t ever stop pursuing greatness!

    • Jen and Tonic 02/25/2013 at 12:11 pm #

      I never will. Once you’re on the path, it’s hard to stop.

  16. SocietyRed 02/25/2013 at 11:08 am #

    This is such a great post Jen,
    And you are a really amazing person; you know what you want and don;t settle for less.
    You are a good person to know.
    Thank you for sharing; glad you’re going for great!
    Red

    • Jen and Tonic 02/25/2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Thanks, Red. I lived many years as an unhappy person, and accepting that a life of fulfillment was for other people. I just don’t want to go back there. I’m lucky enough to have someone in my life who not only wants that for himself, but wants it for me too. We should all be so lucky.

      • SocietyRed 02/25/2013 at 1:57 pm #

        I can totally relate to that Jen. It all looks so much different when you cross over to not settling.
        Congrats!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Matchmaker Mayhem | Sips of Jen and Tonic - 03/19/2013

    [...] This should come as no surprise, but there are people who are worried about me. It’s not because the last time I brushed my hair Monica Lewinsky was smoking a cigar from her beef curtains. It’s not even because my I’ve begun talking about reality show characters as though they were my real friends. It’s because I’m single. [...]

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