When breaking up is a “Get Out of Jail Free” card

When we are not the one who ends a relationship, even a short-term dating relationship, it usually stings. Being on the receiving end of the boot with a longer-term, intimate relationship often creates wounds that last for years. No matter how much we work to accept it — and in some cases welcome it — the announcement from the other usually causes some pain.

In “How to trump being dumped” I explored with a pal how being released from his overly suspicious lover was a good thing. But it’s hard to see that at first.

Three months after my ex announced he was leaving, I was still in a lot of pain. One day while running errands and not thinking about the breakup, I heard a loud voice, as if someone were next to me in the car.

Get out of jail free“You got a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.”

What was this disembodied voice talking about? I’m in my car, not playing Monopoly!

As I reflected on the message, I realized it was saying that by being released from my ex, I was being saved from the “jail” of continuing to live with a man who wasn’t right for me. One who admitted he didn’t think about me when I wasn’t in the room. Who was, in his words, “emasculated” by my competencies.

I could have lived with this man the rest of my life because I loved him and saw the positives in our relationship. However, he did not feel for me how I felt toward him. I deserved a partner who was equally in love with me, and knew how to show it.

Also, since ours was not a vindictive divorce, neither of us was taken to the cleaners by the other. “Get out of jail free” meant that without a lot of drama or hideous expense, we could move on with our lives.

Monopoly guySome DG readers have shared their pain from past relationships gone sour. Some of these stories are heartbreaking. But you can easily imagine they could have been worse. You got out of the relationship — even if not by your initiation. You are now a wiser person, clearer on what she wants, and unwilling to settle for what you settled for in the past. You could still be with that guy who wasn’t right for you. By moving on, you got a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Time now to be grateful and move on to pass “Go” around the romantic version of the Monopoly game of life — even if you don’t collect $200.

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7 Comments on “When breaking up is a “Get Out of Jail Free” card”

  1. Gatti Says:

    Boy, DG, talk about having your finger on the button of the Zeitgeist! Or at least exactly what I’ve been thinking about the last days. My ex was verbally abusive. He was also funny, thoughtful, talented, clean and kind (when he wasn’t being verbally abusive). Also very handsome (even when he was being verbally abusive). He said he loved me and he meant it, but the stress of the yelling and the fights was turning me into a squashed zombie. It took me over two years to get my “Get Out of Jail” card, because I was too downtrodden to leave and had few resources. That’s all changed…

    I’ve had a few small setbacks in my dating journey, some of which I’ve told about here, but as the trip continues they seem to become less upsetting. I’m getting more discriminate in who I choose to see, and better at letting things go, something I’ve always had difficulty with.

    Getting out of jail – that’s the feeling I’ve had when I come home to the tiny ancient house that I rent, my own front door. Like it’s a reprieve. And every time I feel like I’ve collected the $200.

  2. Mitsy Says:

    It sometimes takes quite a while to realize that you had a “Get Out of Jail” card upon leaving a relationship, but hindsight is always 20/20. I was with the wrong guy for many, many years. We were engaged, but he had a lot of immaturity issues. He was selfish and never did grow up. I had some life-changing circumstances in my life when I ended our very long relationship. This was the one and only relationship I ever walked away from, and it was still very hard. I endured his phone calls where he sometimes cried and sometimes chewed me out. His calls were less frequent after a few months and I got so I just quit answering when I thought it was him.

    I can now look back and see the bullet I dodged by not remaining with him or marrying him. I can also look back and see the grief I was spared when a couple guys “bailed” on me even though I was quite interested in continuing to see them. The hard thing is that it takes some time to heal from those set-backs and it takes even longer to realize that they did you a favor by not sticking around. I think it’s very easy to also think that they won’t exhibit the same behavior with the next woman who comes into their life. Again, a lot of internet guys simply do not know what they want in life..whether it’s a relationship or anything else.

    The sooner we can realize that we’re wasting our time with someone, the better. And in the end, it probably doesn’t matter who ends the relationship, but that if it is not the right one, then you are free to move on to one that might be later.


  3. […] The controlling virus is present in both genders, of course. I prescribed my friend read “When breaking up is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card” and although he broke it off, “How to trump being […]

  4. Roxy Says:

    I actually prefer to be the dumpee, but maybe I’ve always known from the beginning whether or not my mate had long-term potential. When he breaks it off, I do feel like I’m free.


  5. […] Looking positively at a break up: “When breaking up is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card“ […]


  6. […] The controlling virus is present in both genders, of course. I prescribed my friend read “When breaking up is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card” and although he broke it off, “How to trump being […]


  7. […] So while it was he who said “I’m done,” I didn’t try to dissuade him from his decision. As it is, I’ve endured a stream of scathing emails. If it was I who pulled the plug, I imagine the stream would have been a river. I now understand why some men just go poof — if they think their trying to talk rationally with someone will result in irrational blistering vitriol. And I’m reminded of “When breaking up is a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card.” […]


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