I had a beautiful relationship with a wonderful guy, for 5 happy years.

I had boyfriends before (I was 23 at the time), but none of those relationships felt quite so ‘easy’. There had always been doubts, uncertainties and bad communication, so they didn’t last very long. However, I knew I was capable of loving so unconditionally and intense that it made me very unhappy not to be able to share this with someone.

He and I met during rehearsals of a musical we were both playing in. I can’t say it was love at first sight for me, but he had his eyes on me – so we started talking and after the show was over, also dating.

It didn’t take long before we were a couple. 

With him, things went very smoothly. We communicated well, we loved each other’s company and the attraction was very intense.

After 2 years of him living with his mother (he is 5 years younger than me), I bought a house in Ghent and he joined me. As a surprise, living together went very smoothly. 
We had our daily struggles: please store your shoes in the cabinet, don’t leave empty boxes in the closet, … But all in all, we worked as a perfect team. Also in our hobby’s: we started an organisation for musical production in Gent and have been working on this together for 5 years; it is our baby.

I loved to work with him to achieve amazing results. We organise auditions, we have rehearsals every Saturday, we design costumes and decor. Everytime we would see our show on stage, we could feel our connection getting stronger.

Our friends also enjoyed us as a couple as we were equals, both with our strengths and weaknesses, but in perfect balance.

In February of our fifth year, he met someone through Instagram. They started chatting very frequently. At first, I wasn’t jealous at all, I didn’t mind him flirting with other men as it made him feel good. And he was open about it. After a few months, I found out he was developing feelings for him.

My feelings were all over the place (ranging from confused to angry), but I never believed in provoking conflict, so I decided to start the conversation with him.I had mentioned before that in case anything like this would happen, we would discuss this as a couple. So we did. Should we go for an “open relationship”? At least we should give it a try. We agreed that we would reevaluate when one of us didn’t feel good with the outcome.

At first, it was very awkward for me, but as time went on, I did have some nice experiences with dating other men. It was then I realised I was perfectly capable of having a really nice evening with a lovely guy, yet go home and really long for the guy I love so much. Love takes many forms, and loving someone doesn’t mean you can’t love somebody else. I already knew I have plenty of love to give, but it was an eye opener for me that I could experience these warm feelings for someone new and at the same time still feel the same love for that special person at home, my partner.

But for him, it didn’t feel that way. His love for me gradually faded during that time.

It was the start of many long conversations. Conversations which made us both reconsider our views, believes and plans in life. We were still very loving for each other, but he wasn’t in love with me anymore, I still was.

As the days went by we had the same conversation over and over again. One evening we had to conclude that he just didn’t love me anymore, and therefore we had to breakup.

All I wanted was for him to feel happy, even if that meant losing the love of my life. At last, he was following what he was feeling and I could not blame him for that.

Lot’s of people claim ownership over their partner, but that feels unnatural to me. I believe it’s my job as a boyfriend to make sure my boyfriend is invited to love me everyday for who I am.

However, not having a reason to be angry with him (and also actively deciding not to) didn’t make it easier to get over him. We helped each other in the days after the break up by listening to each other’s feelings.

The months after were a difficult road for me. I had lot’s of ups and downs, trying to find a way to bend my feelings for him from partner-loving to friend-loving. For me it comes naturally that I don’t want him out of my life. If that means he’s my friend instead of my boyfriend, I’m willing to work for that.

We’re three months further now and I helped him move into his new appartement. It was a good way for me to process some stuff in my head. It felt good to help him even though it confirmed that our love-relationship is definitely over.

I guess the next months will be full off ups and downs, but generally speaking I’m progressing. And being confronted with yourself helps you to grow as a person. I feel good about the way we handled our breakup even though I’m still sad this relationship ended. But I cherish 5 very good years nobody can take away from me.

We’ve closed this chapter and are preparing ourselves for a new one. In which we can be a team again.