With the factors that drive individuals apart and then pull them back in vary as widely as the actual people in the relationship, it’s hard to point to any general reasons why some pairings come with an on/off switch. For insight, we asked three women around the country to share a snapshot of their romantic coupling, pre- and post-calling it quits.
Writer and life coach; Chicago suburbs
“Ryan and I met the first day of our freshman year at Columbia College in Chicago, where we lived across the hall from one another. I can still remember move-in day, along with his scribbled invitation on the white board that adorned my dorm door: Come say hi.
“We began as friends, which turned into best friends, which turned into inseparable. I’d thought long and hard about the kind of man I’d fall in love with someday. I imagined he’d be preppy and handsome, intellectual, and that he’d enjoy talking about his feelings. (I blame Nicholas Sparks.) So imagine my surprise when I fell in love with a rock band drummer from downtown Chicago who had a pierced ear and long hair. Ryan was effervescent, mildly inappropriate, and incredibly kind. In spite of all the ‘Miss Independent’ and ‘Girl Power’ books I had read—and was planning to write someday—I fell in love. Fast and furious.
Ours was an unlikely pairing, but we were made for each other.
“In some ways ours was an unlikely and untimely pairing, but we were made for each other. I knew he was the guy I’d be with forever the day he skipped work to watch Regis Philbin’s final episode on Live with Regis and Kelly with me. I watched the talk show religiously, and while he didn’t care about Regis or Kelly one tiny bit, he just cared that it mattered to me.
“Meeting at age 19 made for a sweet story, but it came with its share of challenges. We quickly learned that we didn’t need to simply grow together, we had to grow up together. The perfect moments were sprinkled with difficult ones, including a breakup that nearly broke us.
“In 2008, as college graduation approached, we knew we weren’t ready to get married, but real life was beginning and personal decisions had to be made. We’d been taught to forge our own paths, take pride in our accomplishments, build a career and felt we were facing a choice of conscience. Do we break up and risk losing each other, or do we stay together and risk losing ourselves?