Why I’m Breaking Up with a Good Man

Breaking Up with a Good Man

As a woman, I’ve been told that when you find your ‘Mr. Perfect’, you should hold on to him no matter what. Preserving that ‘perfect relationship’ is crucial but the truth is there can be so many reasons the relationship is not right for you both, even he is the nicest guy. And, breaking up with that ‘perfect man’ is actually okay if you’re unhappy and there doesn’t have to be anything wrong with either of you.

They still love each other but are headed down different paths. They’re making a hard decision for a greater purpose. Have you ever broken up even though you were still in love?

My sweetheart and I just broke up, except we don’t like that term for us. It doesn’t seem right that two people who love each other, who discuss rather than argue, and who share romance, fun, and tenderness can “break up.” We need a better expression for what we did, what we’re doing.

In the previous month or so, we analyzed, discussed, and agreed that our goals are mutually exclusive, so we can only be on separate paths. As I shared in a previous article, John is content with his low-stress lifestyle and wants for nothing much more than what he already has. His priorities are well placed close to home, in being a single father raising his younger two sons.

I am an empty-nester eagerly and energetically climbing to reach my goals. The combination makes for a certain level of incompatibility not conducive to what either of us has in mind as a true partnership.

Unhealthy relationship patterns

By choosing an incompatible life partner is nothing new and is at least partially due to my unresolved father issues. Between the notable exceptions of my ex-husband, and now John, I used to pick men who had my father’s qualities more often than not. Sadly, my father was not exactly a good man. He could more accurately be described as a “bad boy” and trouble-finder.

Related: The Basics for Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships

Through some intense personal growth work, I gained an awareness of my unhealthy relationship patterns. I discovered that–in the years since my divorce–I made every attempt to subconsciously reconcile with my father in my brief relationships with men. I had involved myself with men who were active alcoholics and had character traits similar to my father.

Alan’s laugh was so much like my father’s that hearing it in a dream startled me awake, both literally and consciously. When Alex walked away without breaking up, I realized that I had once again selected my father instead of a worthy mate.

I began reading The Good Men Project sporadically last year. The more I’d read, the more I would check men–all men–against the title “Good Man.” I would practice awareness that required me to be honest with myself about the qualities of a man that I found attractive as well as our potential compatibility. Were the qualities attractive to me because they were familiar, either reminding me of my father or a previous not-so-good relationship?

Related: How an Unhealthy Father Daughter Relationship Damages a Daughter’s Adult Relationships

Once I got honest with myself, I started noticing and connecting with good men in all areas of my life: one teacher, one new friend, and a client, a couple of other good friends… and John.

John and I met at work eight months ago when I noticed he was reserved, kind, helpful, and soft-spoken. He seemed to be paying close attention to me, not in a creepy way, but clearly demonstrating that he was ascertaining my character, our compatibility and whether I was noticing him. I was. He wasn’t my type; I thought, but somehow I kept observing.

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