« Can Someone Airbrush ALL of My Photos, Please? | Main | Overheard in Julia's Life »

Breaking Up with Mr. Right is Very Hard to Do ...

Break Up.jpg

Except I'm not talking about the movie.

Yeah ... I'm talking about my own breakup, circa last Wednesday.

I love The Boyfriend more than anything, but I couldn't stop wondering, "Am I complete without him?" ... "Have I experienced enough to settle down?" That I've dated him for the entirety of my formative years directly after college graduation exacerbates these questions in my mind.

And so, last week I made the difficult decision of breaking off a wonderful relationship; I needed to try out life on my own. Below, today's AM New York column on the subject, which - to be honest - makes me a little bit nauseous. I can't decide if I'm a raving idiot or a ballsy risk-taker. Probably a little of both ...

AUGUST 14, 2006

“It’s not you, it’s me,” almost always means “It’s DEFINITELY you.” But when I broke up with The Boyfriend last week – in a Jamba Juice, no less (I know, I know. A little tacky. Oops?) – it really did mean “It’s me.”

The truth is (note to my editor: please don’t fire me for this), I’ve never been single in New York. In fact, I haven’t been single, save a few weeks abutting three consecutive serious relationships, for the past four years.

I met The Boyfriend in April of 2004, when I was a senior in college. Because I had a different boyfriend at the time (actually, I was engaged, but that’s another column) – we didn’t start dating until I moved to New York later that year. Still, I neglected to give myself even a minor breather in between relationships – no time to look around, access the scene, find out what it’s like to date post-college. I just jumped.

Lucky for me, I jumped into something amazing. The Boyfriend happened to be the most incredible man I’d ever met – mind-bogglingly generous, achingly gorgeous, blisteringly creative. I could adverb positive adjectives about him for days, but he’s more than the sum of his abundant positive qualities. He fits me perfectly. He is, in fact, my best friend, my (cheese alert) “soulmate,” the elusive Mr. Right.

The problem is, I’m not ready for Mr. Right.

I’ve always believed that no matter how equitable and compromise-loving your relationship is (and mine was both), you’re not 100% yourself when you have a significant other. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, without The Boyfriend, I’d be perpetually late and virtually incapable of going to bed at a “reasonable” hour. I’d also still wear ribbons in my hair and live in an apartment decorated completely in pink and white furniture from IKEA.

Then again, maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe I’d wear only black business suits and inhabit a sleek Soho loft devoid of color. Probably not – but therein lies the problem. I can never be sure of who I would be without a boyfriend, unless I try actually not having one.

Explaining why I ended the perfect relationship, I find myself repeating this mantra: “I don’t believe that when you meet Mr. Right, you suddenly become complete. If I were 30, with a variety of life experiences under my belt, I’d marry The Boyfriend in a heartbeat. But I’m not! I need to make my own mistakes, to date Mr. Wrongs, to see what else life has to offer. A decade from now, I don’t want to wonder, ‘Can I really stand on my own two feet – without him?’ I want to know I can.”

This isn’t about finding a better man. It’s about finding a better me.



Julia Allison, I will find you an apartment. I am a real estate agent. Email me! Thanks for the article. It was sent to me from my boyfriend of 4 years, who I just broke up with a few weeks ago. We started dating as soon as I graduated from college and he said he could relate to a lot of your article... wow, you reached a man that I have known for many years, in a way that I could only dream. Maybe he has changed in these past few weeks? Anyway, thanks again for the article. Call or email me if you need any real estate help.
Wow. I sure hope this one doesn't come back and bite you in the butt. I read a few blogs by singles and there is a common thread amongst them. Women are having a tough time finding a good man that actualy wants to date and have a committed relationship. You had one with no real complaints, but you tossed him without provocation because you need to find yourself? Sorry, but I hope that guy moves on and never looks back. He deserves a woman who will give him more respect than that. I do hope you get your wish of meeting a bunch of Mr Wrongs and I do believe the city will supply them for you.
Right, thanks, Gogo. Like the desire to have adventures, find out further about oneself and _live life_ is *a bad thing*. I think it takes a lot of guts to make a jump like this and Julia's readers ought to respect her and her decision to do it. And on behalf of all Mr. Wrongs, I salute you. xxxjimmy
I give you a lot of credit Julia. I can relate to your situation (albeit I'm a guy and a bit older) but I just don't have it in me to end my relationship. We've been together since college and I can't help but wonder what else life has to offer. I think the problem is this city. There is sooo much temptation everywhere you go. I think my girlfriend may very well be "the one," but every time I go out without her I end up talking to other (sexy ass) girls (often getting their phone numbers - but, hey, I don't actually call them). Anyhow, I'm sure you will get to go on many, many dates with wonderful guys and it will definitely help your column - plenty of get material out there. If you start writing columns about how much fun you're having, maybe I'll actually get the balls to join ya. Good luck J!
Speaking as a 30 something who took time and many experiences before I found my Mr. Right - I am more grounded, ready, self-aware from those years I spent searching. But just make sure what you put on hold/tossed away or vacated today - may in fact, be what you want when all is said and done...but again, you will never know until you try it. That's the best thing about your twenites. It is the trial, try-all and error decade of life.
For what it's worth, I think the new, "Woman in search of self" angle will be good. This situation isn't only women, I notice a lot of men your age are in a hurry to settle down and be miserable. Have Americans become THAT insecure with themselves?

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)