I wonder if I made it too easy for him to walk away that one time. When he told me he wanted to break up, I nodded and left so I could be alone to mourn. He chased me back, hurt that I didn't have something to SAY or to fight the breakup. I didn't understand what there was to say. He wanted it to end. The chambers of the heart are not courtroom chambers to argue brilliant points to the jury, your mate, in your favor. No. A breakup is a sentence delivered by one. What is there to do but accept it?
That was my first breakup, or at least my first real one, with my first real love. I was 17. We got back together and dated on and off for the next 6 years. I don't remember how long that breakup lasted.
Later, he found someone else who would fight the breakup though. She was pressing for marriage but he didn't love her so he tried to end it. She flipped. The drama that ensued made him lose his nerve. He hated hurting her badly enough for her to act like that so he stayed.
I knew someone else that tried to end their relationship but their partner lost it. Like, attacked the house lost it. Screaming in the shower and beating the walls. They sobbed no, you cannot leave me, you will NOT leave me, and they didn't. The breakup was called off. That was almost a decade ago. They're still together, but live together distantly, as roommates, tied together by the comfort of familiarity and obligation.
Yet another person threatened their mate. If you leave me, I will make your life HELL. You will have to fight for the money and our kids; I will take it all from you. Don't leave me. They weren't threatening their partner's life but livelihood. Well, in a way, their life, because imagine the tangled mess thereafter, raising kids with someone who wants nothing more than to take you down. Their entire life's purpose has become one of destruction: they aim to destroy you. How could you have known that's how they would have acted? They're still together. The threat hangs there, too large a barrier to cross.
Another couple did divorce. She vowed to take him down. He spent $30,000 and the aftermath of the battle is the bitter exchange of their children several times a week on custody nights.
I tried to make him feel better. Well, since you said she's a hoarder and didn't work, if you'd stayed together, she would have spent $30,000 of your money on useless junk anyway. At least you're free.
He snickered bitterly. Yes, that's true.
I don't understand why people want to hurt each other so. Why revenge becomes larger than the memories of the love you once shared. But the fight for the ego must be powerfully compelling.
In the wild, when two animals face each other in a confrontation, each blooms into as terrifying an opponent as they can be. Don't even TRY to fight me, is the message. If successful, one will back down. Animals carefully weigh risk in their conservation of energy and choosing unwisely could be a fatal mistake.
Perhaps humans aren't so different. Some see the raised hackles and it's easier to just stay than fight.