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

Please also see the following post in this Blog:

Looking At Love To Understand Its Nature

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2 thoughts on “Breaking Up Is Not Wrongdoing

  1. Excellent points Edward. I would rather a relationship ended if the other person does not feel the same way that they originally did when the relationship started. Choosing to end a relationship is not an easy decision but no-one should be forced to live with a situation that makes one or both parties unhappy for the rest of their lives, as that is giving each other no rights or freedom at all, just a prison sentence. People can make mistakes and misjudge who they think they are compatible with and then realise that the other person might not be the person they thought they were. Or you may realise that you want something different out of a relationship, which changes the dynamics of why you got together considerably. I like how you have framed the perspective here, I think it will help me to analyse my own relationships and appreciate the reality of how the relationships have ended. I’ve often taken the view that if someone wants a relationship to end because they are unhappy, they are actually doing you a good service so that you do not have to suffer at the hands of their unhappiness. A negative turned into a positive and you get the freedom to seek out someone who appreciates you rather than merely tolerates you in life 🙂

Your comment is important, I welcome it.