No one ever said breakups would be easy. In fact, they can be utterly grueling, debilitating, and confusing, even under somewhat amicable circumstances. Bittersweet breakup stories remind us of how devastating splitsville can be. When you dump someone you don't totally hate or are on the fence about whether ending things was the right decision, it can make parting ways extra hard.
A breakup is a breakup, even if you uncouple consciously. In reality, choosing to cut ties with your sweet someone might feel like one of the hardest things you ever have to do. Many women are left wondering whether they made the right choice. Others know breaking up with their partner was inevitable, but they're still left with an empty, lost feeling. As the cliche goes, "If you love someone, set them free." Well, that's certainly easier said than done, am I right ladies? Time will certainly heal a broken heart, but that might be the last thing you want to hear if you've recently broken up with someone.
Before you reach for the ice cream and hit play on your breakup anthem, check out these bittersweet breakup stories. I spoke with nine women who shared their experiences about parting ways with someone they loved, and let's just say they're heartbreakingly relatable.
When Everything Lines Up But Your Goals
This person was an incredibly special human, very good to me, and compatible with my mind-set about love, friendship, politics, food, and all of the other things that make sharing a life together harmonious, but at the same time we were not well-matched when it came to our future goals — specifically getting married and having children. The fact that our relationship was healthy in so many ways made the juxtaposition of being happy but still needing more a confusing space to be in. And made the decision to break up even harder. I thought it would be easier if my boyfriend had just been a huge jerk instead of great person who just wanted different things than me, ya know?
— Taylor, 30
No Fireworks, No Future
I once ended a two-year relationship. I loved his family, and he was the definition of perfect. But there was no spark. I knew I wasn’t in love. Still hard seeing him and/or his family, as I think they all took it pretty hard.
— Cierra, 24
Now Or Never
The most bittersweet part about breaking up with my last partner was ending things because of timing, when everything else was right.
— Alex, 28
When The Friendzone Leads To A Bittersweet Breakup
I broke up with him because I didn't see us together romantically. After we broke up, I realized he was actually my best friend. Sometimes I wish we still hung out as friends. I don't regret it at all because he was a sh*tty boyfriend and we just weren't romantic... sex wasn't great, not very good with my family, not a kid person... But he and I really enjoyed talking about movies and books and going to concerts, and he made me laugh.
— Stephanie, 25
Stay Together For The Cat
The most bittersweet part of my last relationship and breakup was that we had a cat together. I knew it was best to just let him keep the cat, but I still miss that little furball to this day, seven years later.
— Michelle, 28
When What Feels Right Isn't What's Best
I’m a monogamous woman who completely fell for a polyamorous man. Initially, I enjoyed the lifestyle, but many tear-filled conversations and rough nights later, we learned I was just trying to be a different person to make a relationship work. The breakup was hard on us both. We are still very close friends, but know we deserve to be happy within the romantic orientation that works best for us.
— Elsie, 29
Don't Drag It Out
The most bittersweet part about my last breakup was that I knew in my heart it was over well before it actually ended. I could feel it wasn't right, but I still wanted him to be the one (at the time) so badly that I kept ignoring the telltale signs that it was over... until he finally broke up with me. Ugh, heartbreak is the worst!
— Lacey, 24*
The Business Of Breakups
The most bittersweet thing about breaking up with my last boyfriend is that I thought he was perfect for me. We had great sex, so much in common, and loved each other. He struggles with depression, which isn't a bad thing at all, but he was leaving it untreated and I couldn't see myself raising a family with him when he refused to take any steps to deal with it. I still care about him so much and made him my business partner after the breakup to keep him close 'cause I wanted so much to remain friends. He is seeing someone new now... I hired her too — ha!
— Emily, 29*
I broke up with my last boyfriend after having frustrations over our long-distance relationship. In hindsight, I was hoping it would lock down some sort of future plans and reconciliation, but I ended up hurting him so deeply that we never reconciled. It haunts me to this day even as we’ve both moved on.
— Grace, 25*
Breakups are rough, especially the bittersweet kind. Many women experience the grueling process of ending things with someone they truly love at least once in their lives. If you've gone through a recent breakup, you might feel like there's nothing that'll make you feel better, but sometimes solidarity can help! Hopefully, these bittersweet breakup stories will make you feel a little less alone in the process. Keep your head up, and remember that things will get easier, even if it doesn't feel like it right now.
*Names have been changed.