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Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up

Mimi Nadia Chenyao | Fake and Basic

Note: I was going to write a generic post about how I haven’t been posting much due to “some personal issues”, but I said I would be treating you like a good friend of mine, so fuck vagueblogging — get ready for some real talk. The reason I’ve been pretty MIA this past week is because my partner and I finally had that where-is-this-going-after-graduation conversation and decided to break up. I’m writing the following with his permission.

“We should break up.”

I stood with my phone in my hand, trying to avoid drunk frat guys stumbling down the hallway and not call too much attention to myself at the same time. It was midnight, and I was limping around barefoot outside my friend’s dorm because I’d stepped into a fire ant nest earlier during the day. My favorite dress was ripped in two different places. I had a mild headache from the hand grenades and various other drinks I’d imbibed.

It was as if the stress and anxiety I’d been feeling all week had translated itself into physical shittiness. I was visiting my best friend in New Orleans and going on all sorts of cool adventures, but I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t stop thinking of the conversation I’d had with my partner the day before I left.

We were in a long distance relationship, and in this particular scenario, the distance wasn’t a good thing. It was only going to get worse, really, because I’ve exclusively been interviewing with companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, and am pretty much set on moving across the country to California after graduation. The distance thing has been especially hard on my partner, because he’s not a hardcore workaholic who can be in the Zone for hours without human contact, like me. Staying together after graduation was out of the question. We’d (okay, I’d) been low-key avoiding the conversation, so when he brought it up, I’m embarrassed to say that I freaked the fuck out instead of facing the problem head-on like I would in any other situation.

As someone who asserts my independence to frightening degrees, romantic relationships and the logistics involved scare me more than they should. This specific one is even more scary because of the history involved. I met him the second day of orientation our first year of college. We saw each other try alcohol for the first time, get disillusioned through relationships with other people, make difficult decisions regarding our careers and our futures, and go through various other coming-of-age circumstances.

I have loved this person since before I even knew how to code; he has straight-up seen me at my most fake and most basic. So when the dreaded question came up — “Should we break up right now or do it when you leave?” — I chose the latter, knowing full well that it was just putting an expiration date on our relationship and essentially dragging things out.

This uncharacteristic move stemmed from the fear that I hadn’t wanted to acknowledge before now: fear of moving across the country by myself, fear of stepping into the professional world for the first time, fear of losing someone I cared about so deeply.

Fear and I have a strange relationship. The more afraid I am to do something, the more it creeps up on me; the more I avoid it, the more it makes itself present in my life. [1] At first, I’d been relieved when my partner agreed to keep the relationship going, but as the days went by, it became apparent that this shit wasn’t working. We were both more stressed than ever and tiptoed around the fact that we weren’t happy anymore. Choosing to hold on to the relationship felt wrong, like that episode of Black Mirror where everybody had those ticking devices that counted down the time they had left with their significant other.

So, as I stood in that hallway, disheveled and ant-bitten, I decided to rip the Band-Aid off. Fuck it, I thought. “We should break up.”

There was surprise from his end — it had been my idea to prolong the suffering, after all.

“Do you want to break up?” I asked.

A long pause. I stared at my reflection in the window and watched the drunk frat guys disappear down the hall.


I exhaled. There was a brief pain, like I’d been punched in the stomach, but it was the pain of acknowledging the truth. I felt the negative feelings start to melt away. I was sad, but light. And free. It had been the right thing to do.

Going forward, I don’t know what will happen with us. My feelings are the same; after four years of knowing each other, “breaking up” is only really a semantic change in this relationship. Emotionally, this has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but also one of the things I’m proudest of myself for doing.

I’ll be okay. Everything else in my life is going amazingly; mixed in with that fear of the unknown is excitement. The timing and circumstances of this relationship suck, but I suppose that’s life? Either way, I’m going to take very good care of myself in the coming weeks, stay in touch with this person, and remember that everything in life happens for a reason.

After all, if it’s meant to be, it will be. ♚


[1] This is why I now choose to scream from the rooftops that I’m afraid to do something and then do it anyway — embracing fear makes the fear go away, and it gets me the results I want.

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© 2019 by Marty Noel Chenyao. All rights reserved. | @fake.and.basic

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