There are many reasons to end a relationship. I think most of them can be grouped into a few categories. There’s the “I’ve fallen out of love” break-up. This can mean you’ve drifted apart, become different people or fallen for someone else. It also generally involves everything your partner does that you used to find cute now annoying you so much you want to smash your head against a wall. Or smash theirs.
There’s the lifestyle clash. This is where one of you might be moving away, one of you needs to focus on work, your religious and they’re not, your schedules make it impossible to see each other, or any other outside factors that influence your relationship in a negative way and make it too hard to go on.
The third is that one of you has done something wrong. Someone’s cheated, been abusive or is just always acting like an inconsiderate dickhead. Pretty simply, really.
Then there’s the “we’re too young to stay together” break-up. This one seems to be appearing a lot in my life lately, with myself and the people around me. It often works alongside one of the other reasons I’ve mentioned. It always comes up when you’ve been with someone a couple of years and are still only in your early 20’s.
There comes a point in every long term relationship where you have to ask yourself if this is person you want to spend the rest of your life with. If they’re not then it’s a simple of matter of leaving so you’re not wasting any more of your time, which is obviously invaluable and could be spent in much better ways (like looking for someone you do want a future with).
If they are someone you’d want to spend your life with and you met at a young age, in particular during your teens, then you also need to consider whether you might feel like you’ve missed out on anything by staying with the same person from that age.
Putting aside the fact that the relationship may not work out in the future anyway as you both grow up, mature, and no longer want the same things you did when you were 17, it really hits home the younger you are that this could be for the rest of your life. Do I need to point out that this is a lot longer the younger you start out? (I’m sure I didn’t need to point it out because it’s so blatantly, you’d-be-crazy-not-to-know obvious, but I just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page here).
So, the rest of your life is a long time and being with the same person from a young age could mean that you miss out on … well a few things. You could miss out on experiencing any other relationship – think typical pre-wedding night cold feet; “I’m never going to have a first date, or kiss, or anything else ever again!” You could miss out on taking off for a weekend with your closest mates, without telling anyone you’re leaving, for a crazy road trip that will be talked about for years to come. You could miss out on potential jobs because they involve travel or don’t fit in with the ‘we’ lifestyle you now base your decisions on.
This is a lot to think about at 20 years of age and 3 years into a relationship. Nobody wants to hit 30 and feel like they may have missed out on life. Nobody wants that kind of regret or wonder. And so, I know a considerable number of couples who have split after years of being together, to “figure out what they want out of life” or “re-evaluate the relationship after some time apart”.
Honestly, I wonder if time apart would help or hinder the relationship. That’s the thing with time; you need to wait for it to pass to see which it is.