I’d been with my boyfriend for three years when I realized I needed to break up with him. It wasn’t that I fell out of love with him, I just needed to be single so I could continue traveling the world.
Compromising is normal in a relationship and I was OK with that at first. I understand that relationships should be 50/50, and ours was at first because we shared the same passions. It didn’t initially feel like I was giving up anything, especially since our love for traveling is what brought us together. I’d only known him for a couple of days before we traveled cross country together, and this was something we did a lot. However, because of his commitment to his job as a carpenter, we started traveling less and less. He wasn’t comfortable with me traveling without him, so I didn’t.
He was a great guy so I tried to convince myself the sacrifice wasn’t a big deal. My boyfriend honestly treated me better than any other guy I’ve dated in the past. He wasn’t a monster and I don’t want to paint him as such. I didn’t have to beg for his attention and I never worried about him cheating on me. I knew that I had him completely to myself and because of that, I felt like him not allowing me to travel was his one flaw. I wanted to believe that this was a small sacrifice I had to make to have a good guy in my life.
After a while, I felt like my boyfriend was hindering my happiness. I couldn’t pretend that I was OK anymore. Traveling was my escape from my everyday life. Being in a whole new setting gave me the chance to be whoever I wanted to be and learn new things about the world. I thought I could give it up out of respect for my boyfriend, but where was his respect for me? I didn’t understand why he was so desperate to keep me in his sight all the time.
He would throw a fit even if I was going to be gone for a few days. Even when I would tell him I was going on a road trip for the weekend, it was an issue. It was like he thought I was trying to run away from him. This was a constant problem that put a rift in our relationship, and after a while, I really started to resent him. I felt like he was an obstacle that I needed to overcome rather than my boyfriend.
He didn’t understand that traveling was my gateway to independence. I was very codependent in my past relationships and I was trying to separate myself from the clingy girl that I once was. However, it was hard to do that when I couldn’t do what I loved. I literally relied on him for everything; I didn’t know how to stand on my own and I hated that. I needed to learn to do things on my own terms and he wasn’t letting me do that.
Basically, he wanted me to be a stay-at-home girlfriend. He wanted me to be the girlfriend that stayed at home waiting for him to come home from work. He was like my parent monitoring my every move, and I didn’t leave my parents’ house to be in that situation. I’m grown—I shouldn’t have to report back to anyone about my own decisions.
It didn’t even matter to him that I was unhappy. My feelings didn’t matter to him anymore as long as he was getting his way. I didn’t see a reason to stay with him anymore when I realized that all the good qualities about him were overshadowed by his desire for control.
He had me on a tight leash and I was fed up. I couldn’t take it anymore and I gave him an ultimatum: he either lets me come and go as I please or I leave. He tried to act like he was going to change. He even kept a poker face when I told him that I was thinking about going to Kenya for a couple weeks… but only because he didn’t think I’d actually do it.
Buying a ticket to visit Kenya gave me the power to finally end my relationship. Once I bought that ticket to Kenya, his true colors came out. He freaked out, asking why I wanted to be so far away from him for a such a long period of time. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be around him, I just wanted to have something for myself. I wanted to be able to say that I’ve done something on my own without relying on someone else. I had to walk away from the relationship to get what I needed to grow as a person.
I still love him, but being single is what I need right now. My love for him hasn’t disappeared. I hope that our time apart will make him grow into the man I’d like him to be and eventually will get back together. Right now, I need to work on molding into the strong, independent woman I know I’m capable of being.
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