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Author Topic: Am I right to be a coward?

March 23, 2020, 05:59:20 PM
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I have a question that is very painful and serious for me, and been such for a long time.

I am contemplating a breakup with my female partner of 7 years, because I feel deeply unsatisfied and not understood. I have a constant nagging feeling in my chest which at times is so overbearing I have a hard time functioning at all. I went to a therapist, read numerous books, invested tens of hours in conversations with my partner trying to work out better communication skills, and some things really got better, but still, I feel fundamentally lonely and not understood.

I’ve been painfully hesitating on the thought of the breakup for already about 3 years, as I can't get over the impression that "initiating a breakup is wrong and cowardly". I know it sounds strange and ridiculous, especially in our western culture.

I don't know if it's a religious upbringing, or too many fairy tales, or some childhood trauma, but listen, in my mind, this belief seems so true to me that it completely paralyzes my will to do anything about initiating the breakup.

I feel it’s utterly, unforgivably morally wrong to initiate a breakup, and if you do that, all your further relationships won’t matter, because you betrayed the “true love” and copped out, and in such doing,  you made yourself unworthy of “true love” itself.

In my mind, we all want to be loved unconditionally, and we want to have confidence that even if something terrible happens, or just the time takes its’ toll on us, and we become much less attractive and entertaining then we used to be, still the other person will accept us and be there for us. We want to know that if we get cancer, we won’t be solemnly told that “you know darling, I decided that it’s time for me to move on and live the life to the fullest, take care”.

Or if they get a new ripped, sexy, incredibly intelligent, considerate and courteous coworker, they won’t be tempted to see if the grass is greener on the other side.

If we expect for our partner be there for us in thick and thin, why are we not willing to do the same for them? But if we’re willing, then why it’s so damn hard, and doesn’t get better…

To make sure, nothing terrible yet happened, and I did help her out numerously and was there for her when she was down, so I’m not asking here for a justification to leaving an ill partner or something. Though, with the frail state of our relationship, if something does happen, I would prefer to cut ties before we get into the midst of the crisis and it will make it even harder on both of us.

So, if I declare her unworthy of my unconditional love, how can I then be sure that my next partner will hold me worthy of that love. And if not, then I condemn myself to the model of relationships where true loyalty is not a part of them, and unloyal relationships also don’t make sense to me.

So, you find yourself lonely in any case – either you’re lonely and not understood inside a relationship that you feel is bad for you, or you’re lonely in a relationship that you can’t be sure you won’t become “not good enough” for it.

I know that she’s terribly anxious of a breakup, as I continuously communicate me being unhappy, and she tries to do much to make me happy, to her ability, but still I don’t feel happy, though I feel tremendous guilt and pity for her that I put her through all of this. She has a history of trauma and unhealthy relationships, and I’m also afraid that if we break up it will have a negative effect on her already low self-esteem in the long run.

Some people say that I’m actually behaving cowardly and just afraid of breaking up, and make up all these elaborate excuses to cop out of dealing with hard feelings. Some people say I’m a coward and not willing to “really love” a person…

I don’t know, maybe… I know I’m a conflict coward, and I’m working on it as well… But it seems to me that conflicting beliefs about the nature of relationships are at the root of my current twisted thinking.

I would really like to know if someone has some other perspective on this seeming contradiction of loyalty to self and loyalty to the partner.


March 25, 2020, 07:12:56 AM
Reply #1


You are absolutely right to break up if you are comprising your happiness to be with her.

It is not selfish or cowardly to leave a relationship you are unhappy in, even after 7 years.

March 31, 2020, 03:42:49 AM
Reply #2


I do not find you a coward at all. I think that it took courage to share your story and I'm sorry to hear the people closest to you are calling you a coward, I think if you had the right support or people who unconditionally accepted you, you would find it easier to grapple with your emotions and make a decision.

But may, I challenge you?

Before you give up on it, you say you want unconditional love? Well it seems shes trying very hard to love you, and you must admit perhaps you are not making it easier on her and yet she keeps trying.

If I may say so, All relationships fall out of love after a point. Love does not just happen, it takes effort on both sides. It takes commitment.

So before you determine for good she cant make you happy. May I ask what is it, do you find missing? you say she does not understand you, can you give some specifics as to what she does or says and what you would like to happen? 
Professional relationship coach, who enjoys blogging about the Complexities of dating and relationships.