joreth: (being wise)
Once again, a post where people did a lot of labor to discuss, explain, and sort things out got deleted so the results of all that labor are lost forever from anyone else who might want to ask similar questions.  So I want to share my answer for future reference, to a more generalized question of "did my partner cheat, break a rule, or do something else?" and "what do I tell people about our breakup?" -

Let go of the specific terminology, and also let go of the idea that anyone else needs to know any of the details of why you are separating.  If you must tell people that you are no longer together, come up with a cliff-notes version of the story that doesn't place blame on anyone and focuses on *your* decisions, not someone else's actions.

"We want different things from our relationship and it's time to go our separate ways".

"We are no longer contributing to each other's happiness, so we are letting each other go to find happiness elsewhere."

"My life is taking me in a different direction."

"I am looking for something other than the life they can offer."

It doesn't matter if your partner "cheated" or "broke a rule" or whatever. Those kinds of distinctions are really only helpful for either identifying specific behaviours for correction or for punitive action - for assigning blame and identifying a "bad guy".  This is not a best-self course of action. Your partner doesn't need to be a "bad guy" to justify you leaving. You just have to not want to be with them anymore, and that's all anyone else needs to know, if they need to know anything.

And especially if there are shared kids involved, or both of you work at the same company, or otherwise have overlapping lives that can't be easily disentangled, the higher the road you can take during a breakup, the smoother that road will be, since you will inevitably cross paths again in the future.

Unless you particularly enjoy drama and messy lives, hurting children, and turning your friends into collateral damage, then refraining from blaming, gossiping, demonizing, or even just revealing private moments makes your overlapping futures together easier, and also makes you look like a freaking saint to everyone who is watching.

You'll win some massive adulting points for handling a breakup with grace and compassion.  So don't worry too much about picking specific labels for their behaviour - at this point, it's not really important anymore because you're not going to fix it and, if you're interested at all in looking like a grown up then you also shouldn't be trying to punish them for it anymore.

Just stick to "we broke up because we're not compatible anymore" and let everything else go.

#WritingABookOnBreakingUp #YouWouldThinkThatSomeoneWhoGivesAdviceLikeThisWouldBeBetterAtItHerself #AlwaysEasierToTellOthersWhatToDoThanToDoIt #ThoseWhoCanDoThoseWhoCannotTeach
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