The Need To Ask Why After A Breakup

Sep 30th, 2009 | Author: | Category: Fly Perspectives
Comments (31)

I can vividly remember the acute nausea as it churned at the pit of my stomach. Was this the after effects of that macaroni surprise I cooked earlier? Or maybe this was just my body’s way of telling me that it didn’t appreciate the almost 3 minutes of “Real Chance of Love” I subjected it to while looking for the remote control. Wait, who am I kidding …

I knew exactly where that sickening feeling was coming from. Earlier that day, my longtime girlfriend decided that ‘she no longer wanted to work towards a long-term life with me.’ (Of course she said this right after I paid for lunch—talk about heartless.)

“So what does that mean,” I naively asked, secretly wondering if I could get a refund on her portion of the bill.

“I don’t want to be with you anymore,” she flatly replied. “I want out of this relationship.”

So she left.

The days and weeks immediately following our breakup left me with a wealth of emotions—some bad, some indifferent. Despite the emotional peaks and valleys, one prevailing feeling never seemed to leave me. I needed to know why.

Why did she leave me?

Why would she give up something that seemed so right?

Why didn’t she have more remorse for hurting me?

Why can’t she just tell me if she met someone new?

Why can’t she love me like she used to?

And on and on it went.

But then one day as I was talking to my grandmother, she shared something that would forever reshape my worldview of love and relationships.

“Stop rocking back in that chair before you mess up the legs on it,” she fumed before getting to the point. “If you want to rock back and forth in a chair, then do it at your own house.” After carrying on for another 5 minutes about how she’s had those same chairs for the past 36 years, and how she was not going to let me mess them up, she then provided the advice I was looking for.

“When someone leaves you, the worst thing you can do is ask yourself why,” she began. “Because as soon as you know the answer to that question, you’ll just replace that question with another one—and no one should have that much power over you. At some point, you have to let go, and realize that you can’t make someone want to be with you. Either they do, or they don’t. Now if they do, then great; but if they don’t, then move on and believe that God has something better for you.”

“Wow, thanks Grandma,” I sincerely offered.

“Mmmm hmmm,” she muttered under her breath. “Just don’t be rocking back on my chairs anymore.”

“Yes ma’am.”

In many ways, my grandmother’s advice applies to many of the relationship problems that we face today. Instead of wasting away wondering why someone doesn’t want to be in our lives, many of us would be better served by simply focusing on the people that do want to be in our lives.

It’s a simple practice in theory, but oftentimes, those prove to be the hardest to implement—especially when your heart is involved. So today, let’s move one step closer to adopting that type of mindset as we work to improve the over health of our relationships in 2009 and beyond. Deal?

Now it’s time for you to answer The Fly Question of the Day.

Have you ever spent entirely too much time asking why directly following a bad breakup? Tell me about it, and what you did to finally get over it.

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  • Indigowaters

    All the time. It does sting when you think about someone wanting to be with someone else instead of you. Like, “Why wasn’t I good enough?”. But then again, that leads back to giving someone too much power over you and I refuse to anymore. I just shrug it off as, “He was a jerk anyway…” and keep it moving.

  • memyselfandi

    New to this, I’ll give it a try!!
    Always would ask myself WHY it didnt work until I realized that if I knew the answer, it wouldnt be a question. Thought maybe I didnt try hard enough, or maybe it was my inhibitions that shorted our relationship. But that soon passed when I realized that its not my flaws that I need to try to fix, I just have to find that person willing to accept them and work with me. So I just look forward for now on, not back and realize I have come a long way

  • chloebarksdale

    Fly, I can honestly say that usually after a bad break up, I KNOW why. Actually I’ve known why long before we broke up. Yes, there have been times when I’ve asked what was wrong with me, why he didn’t love me enough, what was wrong with me that he couldn’t be faithful, why did he up and go back to his ex after all this time, and so many more. But as your grandmother stated, after while you have to stop asking why because you can’t move on when you continue to waddle in it. You have to just realize that the person wasn’t for you…yet at the same time, we also must begin to self analyze but for the right reason. So often we place blame on everything and everyone but ourselves in bad situations. Personally, when I break up with someone, I take time off to mentally, emotionall, and yes physically repair myself. It keeps me from taking any of the last relationship into a potential new one.

  • devoted1

    @ FG
    Guilty, of all charges above!!!
    Yes I have found myself wondering WHY in most of my relationships (if I really cared a lot for the guy) and your grandmother has never been more right, it only leads to more questions. Being the go getter that I am I always call up the ex (after enough time has passed where I can have a conversation without loads of sarcasm of course) to figure out the “real” reason why we didn’t work out. Unfortunately the whack reasons only left me scratching my head…wondering how I allowed myself to get involved with such an idiot in the first place, lol.

    I have been an avid self analyzer for about the last 3 years now. After a few failed relationships, I couldn’t dare continue blaming “the other party” because the common thing that all those SO’s had in common was ME.

  • blaze

    Happy New Year all…

    Been on both sides of the fence with this one and even used the infamous..”its not you, its me..I need to get my mind right”. When really it has been another woman that has peaked my interest and caused me to move on.

    I agree with Devoted. Once you allow some time go by, I’ve found it useful to have a casual conversation with ex girlfriends or even with women I only dated for a month or so to get their perspective and possibly learn from my mistakes. Ultimately though you never get the truth but some people need closure.

  • Just A Thought

    I definitely was/am guilty of this, but only with one past relationship. Other than that, it never has mattered to me. And I am NOT one for talking about it later (like I said, once we break up, he needs to not exist). I don’t really care what his reasons were, so nothing he can say will make sense, make me feel better, etc. I just have to accept that it is over, and then allow myself time to heal. That, and to look at things that I think are blocking me from having a healthy relationship with someone else (and likley led to the demise of the last relationship) and work on fixing those.

  • TaurusLady

    I have spent way too much time over-analyzing reasons for failed relationships. I guess the main questions I would ask myself after a break-up was “If he thought that I had all these great qualities and that we were happy together, why did he lose interest? What happened to change his mind?” Although part of me knew the answers, there’s still a part of me that’s puzzled. Years ago I used to blame myself entirely for failed relationships, but now that I’m a little older, I see that those relationships had to end because that is part of God’s plan. I don’t understand His plans sometimes, but I trust that a even greater guy will come along in my life, better than the previous.

  • rachaelzakia

    I’ve only done this in one relationship. It was my last boyfriend and the only reason I did it was because he broke up with me by just not talking to me anymore. I mean no call, no email, no text. So I must admit the whole situation left me asking what the hell just happened here? But at the end of the day, I felt if he didn’t even have the respect to let me know what was going on then I’m better off without him. And he couldn’t be worth anymore of my time or energy. I just told myself that he wasn’t sitting around thinking of me so why would I sit around thinking of him?

  • what?

    Omg, not gonna get into it. Still dealing with last break up…I’ve decided to just give myself time to mourn.


    “Instead of wasting away wondering why someone doesn’t want to be in our lives, many of us would be better served by simply focusing on the people that do want to be in our lives.”

    I couldn’t agree any more with that. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, it’s hard to execute. Someone choosing not to be your life hurts, and it makes you doubt yourself, wonders what about you makes you unworthy of being kept. You just HAVE to know, and I’m someone who will question & look for an answer until I get it. Looking at myself in a mirror always helps, though. It reminds me of who I am and that my cheekbones are too high to have puffy eyes.

  • http://WWW.TOIBOUTIQUE.COM KibaBadGirl

    Asking questions never lead to the answer we want to hear. Nine times out of Ten, we know why the relationship has ended but it’s hard to face the truth. Relationships end long before they “END” but most of us are hoping the other one has the courage to be honest and speak on it.

  • jayded

    I’m usually not asking why we broke up, more like why did I stay around for so long? Upset that I didn’t end things sooner. But I agree with everything everyone has written. There’s this incessant need in women to know why. It’s as if we truly believe that if we know why we can move on. So not the case, once we find out why, and its not a reason we can live with, all hell breaks loose. That’s when all the other questions come out. and we start losing our hair lol.

  • Reggie Boy

    Sounds like something my grandmother would say….well the part about the rocking chair.

    But people need to stop rocking back and forth in relationships, b/c you are going nowhere fast. That’s why Reggie Boy doesn’t sit down. Got to keep it moving.

  • artrinity

    Its like you replay it…well as for me i try to anaylze where stuff went left…it took me a while to get over and through it…tha person and i were together for like 3 years…but i made a promise to myself…i would stay in girlfriend status when in a relationship and stop trying to play the position as “wife” while in girlfriend status. Period. Until i am asked to play the par officially.

  • The Jaded NYer

    your grandmother is VERY smart!

    I’ve been there before, obsessing over the WHY after being dumped, but I didn’t have to do anything to get over it- he did it for me by cheating on his new gf with a couple (yes, a COUPLE) he met on craigslist, and this was AFTER he asked me if I wanted to go to a swinger’s club with him AND offering to come over to my house and perform oral sex on me (and OF COURSE I said no to both!!)…

    WOOO LAWD!! Bullet. Dodged.

    That dude showed me his true colors and I no longer asked WHY and instead counted my blessings that he left me!

  • CurlyScorpio

    I never ask why. I’ll wonder why, but never let it get the best of me. Instead I keep my focus on the fact that it’s over and the best thing I could do for myself is to move forward. One of my last relationships… the guy I was with for 3 years cheated on me. When I found out I dropped all communication with him, because there was nothing for me to say. A few months later he called me from a private number so I’d pick up, and asked me why I never asked him why, he said “don’t you wanna know at least why?”. I responded, “I don’t need to ask why, because whatever you tell me, I will not believe based on the fact you lost all my trust, and secondly I don’t need to know WHY because that will not change what you did.”

  • Nikki Breeze

    omg….this really hit home….i broke down after reading this….its so true…

  • Omar/Spark

    I see that relationship wisdom runs in your family…lol. This article is great!

  • me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can definitely identify with this. I dated a guy for almost two years and we were in love!! the relationship seemed heaven sent and i was so sure that i had found my soul mate. We went through a really rough period where a lack of communication seemed to drive us apart. I was still trying to stay and make things work for MONTHS!! But I had to learn that in order for you to make a relationship work, both people have to want to. I spent almost a year asking why. and the thought of how he could just give up on something so great with out a fight, consumed me. I prayed about it, and eventually things got easier for me to accept and move on. Thanks alot Fly Guy!!

  • bogart4017

    If you have no idea why your mate left you you need to get off the sleeping pills. If you think he or she didnt give you a warning have your hearing checked. If you feel the need to ask why go to the movies instead. If that sounds cynical let me tell you i’ve been in enough relationships to know if someone up and leaves you without warning or explanation you are truly blessed. Put it in drive.

  • Jmarie

    Man I just kept myself busy for the most part…I realize the more I focus on why, I lose focus on whats more important in my life..God, Family, SCHOOL!…then I ask myself can the why help me keep a strong relationship with GOD, family, or get a 4.0 …negitive.. I can only hold me back …as time went on I realized it wasn’t meant to be. Simple as that…everything happens for a reason..

  • Mizz.T

    honestly fly guy , i”ve been asking my self why about one particular relationship for 2 years, i know its bad but he’s the first guy i ever truly loved and the only excuse he gave was we were too close…everytime i see that gnarls barkly video ..the one when the guy cut his heart out i began to cry cause that video is exactly how i felt and what he said then i start to cry cause i realize i’m not over him

  • Mshollywood

    A man’s rejections is God’s protection… and I’ll tell you why this is the truest thing I have ever read….

    I was with my ex and since day one I had the gut feeling that he was gar-bage… my gut TOLD me not to talk to him and I stopped only to continue. After I broke up, I realized he was doing all the following things WHILE WE WERE TOGETHER…he cheated on me, refused to pay bills, lied to his son’s mother and simultaneous girlfriend about me even though we even got married, he cheated ppl, stole from them, even his own momma… after tons of breakups(I initiated) and makeups (he BS me into) he finally left me for the girl. I finally accepted it and I was not sad. I even ran into them one day not too long ago and I pulled a Jill Scott on “Why did I get married?” and didn’t feel like kicking the girl who took my “man” ass… I felt like crying, praying and even hugging the ho… she did me a HUGE FAVOR… I owe her.

    Now he is as evil as always, bitter, has no job, he’s HUGE, he’s old, ugly beat up, has no woman AND he is still trying to work me (he busted out my car windows just the other day because I refuse to talk to him…. after being broken up 2 years)
    I realize GOD was protecting me…. by getting rejected

  • WTF…Frowny Face

    This hit home for me, because im going thru that as i type. Just had a 3 year relationship end with the woman who i can honestly say was my “first love”. It was pretty much out the blue (at least it was for me) and I think thats made things worse. We were talking about our future together just a week or so before and everything SEEMED fine…but i digress.

    But anyway, I think your Grandmother’s advice is great…its just easier said than done. Worrying yourself about the “whys” is toxic if you let it consume you, but to certain degree it understandable because those “whys” can brings closure (which I believe everyone deserves). Now, this only applies that person was truly significant in your life. For just a random person your dating, or someone you know is “temporary” in your life, just keep it moving. Its not worth the energy.

  • SteevieFantastic

    My ex broke up with me 3 days ago and till now, I am still wondering why. I even created a blog ( as an outlet to express my thoughts on this breakup because at the moment, I’m taking it exceptionally badly. I haven’t eaten since we broke up because ive been consumed with why he chose to cheat on me then break up with me on top, especially as I had done nothing wrong whatsoever and tried to make it work. I’ve been trying to contact him to tell me why but he just ignores me. I know i should leave him alone but i was beyond heartbroken and the least he could do was give me the answers I want.

  • CocoaSweetCream

    I doubt this comment will be read but it 12:19 am and my boyfriend of year and 6 months just broke up with me, so this is mostly just venting for me.

    I asked every question in the book well every single one I could think of. And we use to break up all the time (unheathly, I know) so I figured this was no different. So when I realized it was real this time my solution was denial. I am going to sound supa crazy but I just pretend he’s here. No arguing with my imaginary ex boyfriend lol but I choose to not deal with it as a way to deal with it. It’s terrible the way another person who is related to you in no way can literally turn your world into such a lonely place. Call me crazy but food doesn’t take the same and no matter how loud I play the music I can’t drown out my thoughts. So I know denial is not dealing with it but it sures makes it easier to go with the motions of “normalcy”

  • Mshollywood

    Cocoa… My heart goes out to you sweets …. I’m glad you recognize that this pattern is unhealthy not to mention a big waste of time, source of very heavy stress, and reckless use of your youth. Denial is the first step of grief so do know that at the very least your grieving pattern does follow ‘normalcy” as you called it. Onlyyou can put a stop to the roller coaster… It’s really simple though not easy. Don’t wallow in pain … Take time for yourself. And you may not read this, but if you do know that I too have been through a very toxic relationship that took everything from me and I made it out bruised but not broken. God bless!!!!!

  • The Fly Guy


    I’m sorry to hear that, but the last thing that you need to do is pretend this didn’t happen. All that does is delay the inevitable … and that’s you getting over him. You have to come to terms and find closure with the past. The moment you do that is the moment you can finally begin to move into the next phase of your life, post-him.

    I know this sounds easier said than done, but no one ever said that overcoming heartbreak would be easy. Trust me…things will eventually get better, but only if you start taking baby steps forward.

  • Me TOO!!!

    Was his name Mitch? LOL!

  • maverick

    grandma gives good advice. so do friends, therapists, other family members etc. but for the past 6 months after she left ive been stuck. i have a problem with depression. just like diabities or any other “disease” I do take medication but i do believe this is a major factor on why its so hard to move on. what hurts is that simple question why. why not me…and why him? she left me after a year and a half for a gelled hair, ed hardy, dude who works at a tan salon. talk about polar opposites, when i spend my spare time gutting deer he is in a tanning bed. while i drive me f 250 with my gun rack he is in his mustang. while i enjoy a good night of beer and whisky with my friends, he is drinking appletinies at a dance club. why?

    ill listen to your grandmother but what does this prissy dude have that i dont? i was good to her. i was great to her. and he is cheating on her like its his job…..its her loss, but every morning i wake up and feel like its mine

  • Frosty

    I just recently had a break-up and its true when you ask one question, it does leads to other questions. Right still, trying to dealing with the heart-break for being in relationship for last six years.