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. UndercoverL 02/25/2013 at 10:57 am #

    I am glad you had the power and sense to call a spade a spade, Jen. I don’t want to come on your blog and begin a disagreement, but I would venture to say that, sometimes when you are coming out of something very difficult, ‘good’ is better than ‘sucks rocks.’ Sometimes ‘good’ is enough to get you through the day when ‘great’ seems to be an evasive pursuit. Just sayin’… XOXO

    • Jen and Tonic 02/25/2013 at 11:59 am #

      CONTROVERSY!

      You make an excellent point. People need to be realistic about where they are in life, and sometimes that means being fine with being good. I’m at a point where I’ve had good, but I know I can have great. I’ve been in a “sucks rocks” place, and I agree, there was no way aiming for great would have worked out well. All in due time.

      • UndercoverL 02/25/2013 at 12:29 pm #

        I agree with you completely and I am glad you are in a “seeking for great” place, because when you are “good” that is the only logical place to shoot for! 😀

  2. El Guapo 02/25/2013 at 10:09 am #

    Beautifully and wisely said, Jen.

  3. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 02/25/2013 at 8:22 am #

    you are quite an incredible woman, ya know that?

  4. Le Clown 02/25/2013 at 4:40 am #

    Jen,
    I’ve been blessed to have you in my life, and being able to chat occasionally on your path, and recent changes. I can’t tell you how I respect your choices, and your strive to go forward, always keeping in mind your goals, or at least, what’s good for you. What’s even better is that you understand your need to change and adapt, which is not about changing your goals, but your ways to get there. You’re grounded, and I love you for it.
    Eric

    • Jen and Tonic 02/25/2013 at 11:55 am #

      Thank you for your extremely kind words! I’ve grown up a lot in the last 5 years, and one of the things I’ve learned is that I’m responsible for my own happiness. The path to happiness is not a straight line, and that means we must adjust our plan to get to where we want to go. Sometimes that means changing ourselves.

      Your friendship means a lot to me.

      • travellingmo 02/25/2013 at 12:08 pm #

        Wise words to live by from you and Le Clown both!

  5. mabukach 02/24/2013 at 7:49 pm #

    You are a much stronger person than I. Hell of a post, Jen.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:29 pm #

      I bet you’re stronger than you think you are. If you had asked me several months ago if I could write this, I would have said no.

  6. Monk Monkey 02/24/2013 at 6:44 pm #

    God bless you my little monkey.

  7. twindaddy 02/24/2013 at 6:34 pm #

    Jen, I’m sorry the relationship didn’t work out, but I’m glad it ended on good terms. Perhaps you can coach me on how to do that. Or is it a two person thing?

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Are you looking to end a relationship? Was I not enough for you?!

      It’s easier when two people are in it together, but there are definitely ways to go about it as an individual. It starts with being honest with yourself, and then being honest with the other person. That is HARD.

      • twindaddy 02/24/2013 at 8:32 pm #

        Honestly, I’d say that I’m not enough for you. You seem to be heading places. I’m just here…

        Yes, being honest with yourself is hard. And I found that out the hard way just a few short months ago.

        • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:38 pm #

          Come on now, you’re kickass! Sounds like you’ve got a case of the blues, or at least something weighing on you. My inbox is always open to you!

          • twindaddy 02/24/2013 at 8:40 pm #

            Nope, just being honest. You seem to have big plans. I’m, for the most part, content with what I have.

          • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:43 pm #

            I hope to have that one day. The moment when I look around and think, “This is my life, and I love it.”

          • twindaddy 02/24/2013 at 8:44 pm #

            Well, I don’t love all aspects of it…yet. But I will soon enough.

          • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:55 pm #

            Keep me posted so we can e-celebrate.

  8. SummerSolsticeGirl 02/24/2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Glad to hear things went well this time around. So many breakups end up leaving people bitter and jaded.

    Good for you! (pun intended). 😉

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:26 pm #

      I love a good pun, you know me so well 😀

      I feel sorry for people who are bitter and jaded. Not all breakups end nicely, but I see so many giving their power away to someone they are no longer with. People need to take it back and live the best life they can. That’s the best revenge anyway!

  9. Pixie Girl 02/24/2013 at 4:10 pm #

    Such an amazing post. It takes a lot of guts and self-awareness to know what you want, and how to pursue happiness. Kudos to you.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:25 pm #

      It’s totally worth it. Scary as hell, but worth it.

  10. writerwendyreid 02/24/2013 at 3:08 pm #

    I am glad that you both are doing so well but to be honest, when I first read this post I couldn’t help but think that isn’t it normal that eventually romantic love fades and mature love takes over? I think we (people in general) need to be careful that we aren’t mistaking a comfortable routine with “falling out of love” either. 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:24 pm #

      I’ve been asked that a lot, about whether we just didn’t recognize what the deeper, longer love felt like. I absolutely agree that many people get past the hormonal high and are in search of their next score like a druggie. This was not that situation, and after being broke up for some time now, I see that clearer than ever.

      I think something I didn’t mention in my post was that the passion was gone. Not lust (that has its highs and lows) but true, loving passion. We just didn’t feel *that* way about each other. I love him deeply, but as a friend.

      I’m glad you brought this up!

      • writerwendyreid 02/25/2013 at 11:14 am #

        Glad you are both in a good place and that you were able to remain good friends. Lord knows we can never have enough of those.

  11. benzeknees 02/24/2013 at 1:28 pm #

    I commend you on your bravery, so many people just settle for what they have rather than daring for what would be great! And I also respect you for keeping your good relationship with your ex.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:16 pm #

      I wouldn’t want it any other way. He is a tremendous person, and I’m lucky to have him in my life.

  12. genericmessage 02/24/2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Glad to see someone not force it. Or sticking with it in hopes of feeling something different. No wasting of your time.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Life is too short to force happiness. It’s a philosophy A and I both believe in.

  13. The Bumble Files 02/24/2013 at 11:48 am #

    Jen, I think you made a smart move! Perhaps, while you guys were close and had compatibility, you weren’t really really in love!! I think a lot of people feel getting along is loving each other. While that can be true, being in love is something else. Good call for you. You should never settle!

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:13 pm #

      Yes! That’s exactly it. Getting along isn’t being in love. I get along with (and love) a lot of people, but I wouldn’t dedicate that kind of relationship to them. I see genuinely happy couples and I admire what they have.

  14. Madame Weebles 02/24/2013 at 11:39 am #

    Good for you, sister. Sometimes relationships end for no reason other than they’re just done, they’ve just run their course. Right on for recognizing that and wanting more. A lot of people do just settle. Romantic love ebbs and wanes in relationships, of course, but if it’s completely gone, there’s no point in trying to revive it. Here’s to you and greatness!

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Love definitely has its ups and downs, but at some point you look at the fire and say, “There ain’t a spark left.” It’s hard because I think we all want to be happy, and it’s hard to leave a situation you’re already so happy in for one that *may* make you even happier.

      • Madame Weebles 02/24/2013 at 8:44 pm #

        True, but it’s absolutely worth rolling the dice for a great payoff.

  15. denmother 02/24/2013 at 11:33 am #

    Jen, I just posted on this topic and your experience really speaks to what I wrote about. Thanks for an inspirational take on the end of a relationship.
    Denmother

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:01 pm #

      We were on the same wavelength! Going to read it now.

  16. Smaktakula 02/24/2013 at 11:13 am #

    It makes me happy when people talk positively about their exes. I mean, if this person was such a dick/bitch, why did you give so much of your life to them? Good for you and for A!

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 8:00 pm #

      I just don’t believe in that kind of negativity. I have an ex who was…interesting…and I don’t talk shit about him every chance I get. I learned something, I moved on, I’m happier now. I know some people have had horror stories, and I get the initial anger, but at some point you have to let it go.

  17. Amanda Fox 02/24/2013 at 10:50 am #

    So much goodness in this post. 🙂 And I totally agree with you about people just wanting to be “good”. Why don’ t people want to be “great” more often? I want this for my children, and of the three, only my oldest son gets this so far. It’s refreshing, although a little “his ambition can drive us all a little crazy” crazy sometimes LOL.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Oh yeah, the desire for greatness can certainly wear thin. I know I’ve been that person too. You whip yourself into a motivation frenzy and just annoy the shit out of those around you.

  18. calahan 02/24/2013 at 9:52 am #

    Both of you sound like really cool and grounded people. Anyone that tells you ex’s can’t be friends is just someone who has only dated a-holes. If I hadn’t stayed close friends with one of my ex’s, I would never have met my wife. My ex actually fixed us up. 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 7:55 pm #

      That’s right! I think that’s really cool. I think, if your relationship was healthy, there is no reason for the friendship to go away. He knows me better than anyone, why wouldn’t I want someone like that in my life?

      • calahan 02/25/2013 at 8:34 am #

        I lived with an ex after we broke up (a few years after), but never tried to make the transition from living together to just being roommates. Are you both sticking it out at your current place or are you both looking for new places?

        • Jen and Tonic 02/25/2013 at 11:44 am #

          We actually love living together! He doesn’t mind that I make a mess in the kitchen, and I’m fine with him playing metal music loudly while he works out. It’s better to live with the evil you know than the evil you don’t know 😉

          The transition was made easier by the fact that he went home (midwest) for a month after we broke up. That distance really helped cement everything. After that, it was a piece of cake.

          • calahan 02/25/2013 at 12:24 pm #

            That’s nice to hear. Just make sure neither of you begins dating anyone with jealous tendencies. 🙂

  19. H.E. ELLIS 02/24/2013 at 9:37 am #

    It’s scary to venture into the unknown for what you want when you have already have something. I applaud your bravery in go after what you wanted.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Scary, totally. I thought REALLY long and hard after we broke up, wondering if it was just some dysfunction in each of us. I can clearly see now we did the right thing. Sometimes you have to push yourself off the edge to learn you can fly.

  20. daniheart21 02/24/2013 at 8:51 am #

    Good for you Jen. You deserve great things. So happy for you. 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Thanks, Dani! You are actually a person who seems to only go after great things, and lives life passionately. I love that about you.

  21. speaker7 02/24/2013 at 7:26 am #

    You are one brave warrior woman. You are soooo right about people settling. I think it has a lot to do with fear. That’s why I languished in a shitastic job for so long because it was a steady paycheck. You are destined for greatness.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 7:48 pm #

      I was in the same boat with the job situation, and I’ve settled in other relationships for longer than I should have. Even though you don’t know it, it eats away at you.

  22. Cathy Ulrich 02/24/2013 at 7:04 am #

    Wise words, Jen. You deserved the best and I know you will have it!

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 7:47 pm #

      Thanks so much Cathy. I think we all deserve the best.

  23. Carrie Rubin 02/24/2013 at 6:07 am #

    I think inside the heart always knows if it’s meant to be or not. Looks like you listened to yours. Smart woman and great post. 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 7:42 pm #

      I think the heart knows too. So often we listen to the outside “noise” that we can’t hear what it’s saying.

  24. Just Another Canadian Gurl 02/24/2013 at 5:14 am #

    wow, you sure a strong smart gurl!

  25. seekingcat 02/24/2013 at 5:00 am #

    I commend you for knowing what you want, and your courage to seek it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jen and Tonic 02/24/2013 at 7:33 pm #

      The hardest part is knowing what you want, at least for me.

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