Welcome to the Ex Games: a content series about love lost. Whether it's the realization things need to end, the act of rejection, the reality of being single, or the resurrection that is moving on, the Ex Games has every stage of a breakup covered.
And to really bring these stories to life, we've launched the Ex Games podcast, where we delve into the two sides of a break-up story with a new couple each week, and aim to end up somewhere near the truth. Because when it comes to affairs of the heart, everyone plays, but does anyone win? Let's find out.
Breaking up is never easy. You've invested time in getting to know someone, you've learned all the things that make them tick, but for whatever reason, it just isn't working anymore.
We've all been there. At some point, one or both of the people in the relationship realize(s) it's over and there's no turning back.
I've been there a couple of times. The signs were all there, but like many of you, I just chose to ignore them. I was convinced that I could make the relationship work. To no one's surprise, no matter what I did, it was never the right thing. No matter how hard I tried, my efforts were always in vain.
The relationship just wasn't healthy. It doesn't matter if you're doing the breaking up or if you're the one getting broken up with, it's hard to hear that it's time for you both to go in different directions. Especially the older we get.
When my ex and I finally ended things, it was only after years of putting each other through hell. The trust was broken, the feelings were raw, and the breakup was extremely overdue. For every good day we had, there were four or five days that were terrible.
Looking back on it, I'm not even sure what we were holding on to, but like stubborn children, we refused to just walk away. That is until the moment when I knew it was over. I'll never forget it.
It was Valentine's Day and we had spent the day traversing the city. As we made our way to the train station, we began to fight. I was unhappy and questioning why I was putting myself through such a toxic relationship. As we intensely argued in the back of a yellow cab, my ex looked at me and said the words that will forever ring in my mind forever: “You're pathetic.” I was instantly taken aback.
My ex had said horrible things to me before, but none had cut that deep. I wasn't sure how to even respond. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. I said the only thing that could express how I felt, “F*ck you."
As the cab approached the train station, we both got out. Still shocked from the cab ride, I walked with her through the corridors of Penn Station in silence, unsure of what to say next. As we passed a restroom in the train station, I asked her to wait for me while I ran to the bathroom. I needed to collect myself and wanted to figure out how to end the night on a positive note; it was Valentine's Day after all.
When I walked out of the bathroom, I looked around and my ex was nowhere to be found.
I told myself that she must have had to go to the bathroom too. Where else could she be? I waited for about 10 minutes for her to emerge from the bathroom, but she never did. I called her cell phone and after a ring, it went straight to voicemail.
She had left while I was in the bathroom. There would be no goodbye. There would be no resolution.
An unexpected feeling came over me... was it relief? I had tried so hard that day to recreate the good times we used to have. I wanted the relationship to work so badly, almost too badly.
As I walked out of the train station and headed back to my apartment, I realized that it was over. She didn't really want to be with me. And, even if she did, did I want to be with someone who could call me “pathetic?” Did I really want to be with someone who could just leave?
Luckily for me, the answer to all those questions was no.
She had been a terrible girlfriend and an even worse friend. I was holding on to a romanticized version of who she was, not actually who she was. There was nothing left to hold on to. Walking away hurt like hell, but I knew in that moment it was the only thing I could do. I owed it to myself to walk away. I deserved better.
As Manhattan-based relationship psychologist Dr. Gregory Kushnick points out to Elite Daily, "If you were wronged in a relationship, you could go in one of three directions: you find a healthy sense of closure and learn from the experience, your bitterness and resentment compels you to find a new partner with whom you wield significantly more power in the relationship or you continue to perpetuate the same relationship dynamics in the future because you lack the courage and self-awareness to learn from your experiences and take chances with people who seem better for you.”
I knew in that moment my relationship was over and I was ready to find someone who would never even consider calling me "pathetic." And that was healthy.
Here are 10 times that Reddit users had the same "aha" moment and also knew their relationship was ending: