By Edward Fagan
Breaking up, a few points worth noting
Breaking up in a romantic or marital relationship is often painful for one or both partners. The other partner usually sees himself or herself as suffering wrongdoing by the partner who ended the relationship. Is this, however, really the case?
Does someone deny you a right when they refuse to continue in a personal relationship with you? We commit wrongdoing when we deny someone the exercise of a right in a given situation. Do we deny someone a right when we refuse their offer to start a relationship? No we do not, because such a right does not exist.
We therefore do not grant them a right when we accept their offer to start such a relationship. Then, we also do not grant them a right to continue in such a relationship if started. We thus do not deny them a right when we terminate such a relationship if started.
We have the same moral rights within relationships as we have outside of them. In relationships, however, we grant each other privileges that we do not offer to others. These privileges are ours to give and deny as we choose to do.
When we terminate a relationship we are exercising our right to deny a privilege we granted previously. Our partner might feel bad but we are not denying them the exercise of a right. We thus are not guilty of any wrongdoing toward them.
by Edward Fagan
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