10 Signs Your Breakup Might Be Your Fault
Breaking up is pretty much always hard to do, but understanding what truly went wrong is often even harder (and less fun). While it’s natural to knee-jerk blame your ex when a relationship takes a turn for the donezo, it may actually be in your long-term best interests to examine your own accountability in the situation. Why? By acknowledging your responsibility in a romantic split, you’ll be better equipped to move on — and to have healthier relationships in the future.
If you’ve gone through a breakup, the first step is to take a step back and assess what’s really gone down. To assist with this, with help from sex and relationship expert Claire AH — matchmaker, dating coach and owner at Friend of a Friend Matchmaking — we’re presenting 10 common signs that your breakup might be on you.
Your lifestyle did a 180Often, the root of a breakup isn’t really anyone’s so-called “fault” — though you still could technically be the cause of it. People change, and if your lifestyle undergoes a dramatic (even if positive) shift — like a totally different career or a newfound passion for a hobby or fitness — it can be the slow-burn catalyst for a change in your relationship status.
“Lack of attraction, major differences in lifestyle and life goals, incompatible values…" Claire says, “These aren’t all that exciting and can so often be glossed over or even avoided in the name of keeping the peace, but these are the insidious things that eat away at the foundation of a relationship, often paving the way for the relationship-ending incident.”
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The déjà vu is realIf you feel like you’ve been in this exact same situation many times before, chances are that you have. When the same scenarios play out over and over again around you, with different people, it’s likely that you’re the cause of them — which can actually be a blessing in disguise if you can step back and see what you’re doing that isn’t working for you.
“I think it’s tremendously important to take stock of past relationships,” says Claire, “to look at how you were involved in the creation, maintenance and dissolution of your relationships, and to reflect on how those things were helpful or hurtful to you, your partner and the relationship itself.”
Your BFF is super quietFind yourself ranting about your breakup to your bestie, but you’re not really getting much of a response? Those crickets could be a flag that you’re not seeing the situation clearly.
Those closest to us usually want to take our side — sometimes even blindly — so if they’re hesitant to jump on the blame-game train, there’s probably a feelings-sparing reason. Take a step back and ask for their real opinion on the situation, but don’t beat yourself up too much if your friend pours some hard-to-hear tea. Even if you have real responsibility in a breakup, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. “You don’t need to rake yourself over the coals and focus on every little thing that went wrong,” says Claire.
You miss the game (not the player)Let’s face it: drama can be addictive, but it’s not the foundation of a healthy relationship. If you find yourself missing the sport of your past relationship more than you miss the person you were with (or even jumping into another relationship right away to get back in the game), that could be a sign that you were purposefully (even if not consciously) playing with your ex’s heart. As Claire explains, “If you can look back on your behaviour and see ways in which you were intentionally doing things to manipulate your partner or the situation, it’s a good indication that you played a part that you could attempt to avoid in future relationships.”
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You can’t make your caseIf you have no real answer when someone asks you what went wrong in your last relationship, that could be a sign that there were actually a lot of issues — and chances are that at least some of them were due to your own actions. As Claire says, “There are many less dramatic reasons for breaking up. Even when the catalyst for the breakup is something significant, there are most often other factors leading up to the breakup.”
When there isn’t one big, easy-to-identify reason (like cheating, lying or stealing) for a breakup, it’s a good opportunity to look at the relationship on the whole to see where you were incompatible or not supportive of your partner.
You cheated (even emotionally)Even if you didn’t straight-up have an affair, if you waded into grey areas (Did you log back into your old online dating accounts just to see what was out there? Did you have some flirty conversations with a past friend-with-benefits situation that your partner would have been hurt by if they overheard?), that’s a sign that you were pulling away and playing with your partners trust.
SEE ALSO: How to catch a cheater: 16 ways to spy on a cheating lover.
You’d checked outBe honest: were you really still in the relationship? Whether it’s due to self-preservation or boredom, it’s not uncommon for us to check out emotionally long before the end — which can push our partners to speed up a breakup.
In any case, it’s a good idea to assess where you stood and how you acted towards the end of your partnership, while not overly fixating on the idea of blame — a concept that Claire says isn’t always the most constructive thing to focus on. “It feels a lot better to chalk everything up to your ex than to acknowledge that you’re not always perfect,” says Claire. “That said, there are also people who blame themselves exclusively and really dwell on every little thing they may have said or done wrong. The truth is most often somewhere in the middle, and the concept of blame is not always the most helpful thing when looking at the dissolution of a relationship.”
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Your crew knows it allHere’s the scenario: you and your partner break up, and you immediately call your best friends to confer. You think they’ll be shocked when they hear the news… but they’re not. They already know every minute detail of your relationship by heart. If this is your real-life experience, it could be a hint of how you were treating your relationship. If you complained about every little thing your partner does throughout the relationship, you might not have been giving your partner and relationship the degree of respect they deserved. Also, if your friends become overly involved in your coupledom, it could subtly erode the bond between you and your (now ex) partner.
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You’re (really) relievedNo matter what happens in a relationship, there was once a time when you had hope for a happy future with your ex. So, if you feel an overwhelming sense of relief when your relationship ends, that’s a sign that you were already over it — and might have been acting like it.
One positive way to channel those feelings is into a self assessment of your part in the relationship, so you can repeat positive behaviours and learn from your mistakes. As Claire says, “Addressing the good and less-than-good contributions you made to your relationship will help you go into future relationships with a sense of the great things you do and an idea of other things to try differently next time."
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You want to apologizeAt the end of the day, the most significant relationship in your life is the one you have with yourself — and, since you know yourself better than anyone, you likely already know if you’re really in the wrong when it comes to your breakup. Take a moment after you’ve cooled off from the emotions of the disentanglement and check in with yourself. If you feel an urge to apologize, that’s a reliable sign that part of the breakup is on you.
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