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My relationship has just ended and I can’t help but feel it’s all my fault and if I had been different we would be fine. How do I get over this?

While odds are the breakup probably wasn’t all your fault, you’re probably right in that maybe your relationship would be fine if you were different… but isn’t that the whole point?

The people you are at the start of the relationship will change as you both grow and develop through this hugely dynamic period in your life. Unfortunately, this means that those once in love may eventually outgrow each other and find themselves falling out of love, or perhaps their needs and desires will change such that the relationship no longer works (at least in a healthy way). In this way, you could probably argue that yes, if you had been different then your relationship would be fine. But the ‘different’ here would most likely mean the same static, constant version of yourself that existed when you first met, which means you’d have to sacrifice your own self-growth in order to preserve an outdated connection that doesn’t even make you happy anymore. A ‘fine’ relationship is not a happy one.

“When you start wondering if you need to be different to fit into the relationship, that’s when you know you’ve outgrown them.”

As someone who spent the last 6 months of my previous relationship working myself up with the same thoughts "maybe if I did that... or if I stopped worrying about this... or maybe if I stopped hanging out with my friends entirely and only hung out with them...then maybe that would fix things?" I can honestly tell you that I wish I’d broken up with him earlier - or that he’d broken up with me. When you start wondering if you need to be different to fit into the relationship, that’s when you know you’ve outgrown them - but then again, we’re young! How are we supposed to know about any of these things when the only models we have for how relationships work is based on our parents and crappy TV romcoms? Maybe I should have broken up with him sooner, but I learnt a lot about relationships in those last 6 months (albeit the hard way) and wouldn’t be the person I am now without that experience.


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Mountain View

How do I stop feeling lonely when single?

At this stage in your life, you don’t need to settle for anyone - you don’t have any legal ties (hopefully) to this person, or any kids hanging about, so maybe this is an opportunity to explore this new direction of your life that was pulling you away from your partner and see where it takes you. Maybe take this time to reassess the situation and figure out what you want from your life at the moment based on the current version of you: develop your hobbies, pick up new skills and surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you in all of your wackiest ambitions.

Maybe it sounds far away right now, but I promise you that one day, eventually, you’ll find yourself laughing at some dumb joke with your friends, and realise that the breakup was all for the best.