There is a common saying — “Breaking up is hard to do.” But is it really all that hard?
We go into relationships with expectations of how things should be, but then we are hit with the reality of how things really are. And that is where the pain truly lies. Often the gap between our expectations and reality is way too big to even consider “making up”; this is when it is time to consider ending the relationship altogether.
Making up and breaking up both involve a wide array of principles and practices. Honestly, I’ve been broken up with more than I have done the breaking up, but after all these years and all the different experiences, I am definitely sure of how it should and should not be executed.
My goal is not to help you end your relationship, but to help you learn how to give yourself the best life you deserve. And if that means ending a relationships, romantic or not, then it needs to be done the right way.
Consider the best break up songs out there: Bob Dylan, T. Swift, Ariana Grande, the list goes on. Music brings clarity in times of need, especially when you are stuck in this limbo between expectation and reality.
Is it the end?
Relationships run their course, that’s not a secret. And yet, it can still be difficult to recognize when it’s time to call it quits. Sometimes there are signs that you’ve “lost that lovin’ feeling”, but sometimes you don’t really know.
Maybe their eyes aren’t welcoming when you reach for them. A lack of passion when you kiss. No tenderness in their touch. Or, maybe they are starting to criticize the little things you do.
Let’s be honest, criticism is one of the most telltale signs. If left unchecked, it can signify the end. Other signs include:
- a consistent inability to repair during conflict
- a pattern of self-preservation at the expense of the relationship
- more negative than positive thoughts about your S.O. or the relationship
We often hold ourselves back, but let me tell you this: It is OKAY to be glad it is over. Let me repeat that —
It is OKAY to be glad it is over.
Now, sometimes things get in the way, my suggestion these situations, either lower your expectations or elevate your experiences (start with this one).
You’ve decided to leave…It’s okay
Relationships have many purposes. One of those is to teach us how to be in other relationships. Your expectations should be to be treated with kindness, love, affection, and support. Never tolerate emotional or physical abuse, and expect loyalty from your partner.
If you are ready to move on, do not think twice about it. You will likely to talk yourself out of it, and stay in a relationship that is not healthy, that’s toxic, even dangerous.
It is safe to presume that whatever comes next will be better, even healthier, and that you will be happier. It is so important to remember this, because it is okay to think like this. It is okay to look forward to the future.
You have learned what you do and do not want in your next relationship, you’ve set boundaries, and it’s safe to presume that you’re smarter and wiser about relationships, as well. It is okay to search for something similar to your past relationships and things you admired about past significant others, all the while looking for a better match. The key — keep your eyes forward.
Every end is a new beginning.
It is imperative to acknowledge and celebrate the good parts of the relationship, even at the end.
I might not be possible in every situation, but there are still things you can do to preserve the dignity of the original bond, because at some point you cared for the other person. It will help you remember that you will always be connected to the other person, not directly, but you are part of their story and they are part of yours.
As obvious as it may seem, a breakup needs to be handled directly. Nobody should hear about it through the grapevine or through somebody else. Breakups are delicate. A breakup deals with peoples emotions, and should always be handled with care.
Let’s be honest, we have all been in a place where either we dumped somebody over text or the phone or we’ve been dumped this way. This is NOT acceptable. Breakups are often emotional rollercoasters and should be done in person, face to face.
Look that person in the eyes and tell them the real reason(s) you are breaking up with them. Secret Time: I recently got the “It’s not you, it’s me” breakup. Yes, it was the first time I was broken up with in person, but really?
Any meaningful relationship, should have a meaningful end. It’s your responsibility to be honest and focused on kindness. Even if the end is full of anger, don’t let it be because of you.
Boundaries and Expectations, Set them
Often, the most difficult part of ending a relationship is setting the boundaries and expectations of how you will exist outside of the relationship. This is especially true when you have mutual friends.
If family and friends are in the mix, the end will effect their feelings as well. It is important to set boundaries for what other people should expect as you move forward as two individuals.
You know the T.Swift song “We are never getting back together”? If that’s the case, let the other person know. Don’t let them hold their breath or hang on to this tiny bit of string if you know it is never going to happen. You have to set your own boundaries and expectations for your future, and consider their feelings. Don’t lead them on, because they may never heal completely.
Moving On is Hard to Do
Moving on does not necessarily mean jumping into a new relationship. It may be that you need a break from dating, to heal yourself and learn more about yourself. You may need time to reflect on the relationship and decide what you liked about the relationship and appreciated about it, but also time to reflect on what you will not settle for, as well.
You might find a way to formally signify the end of the relationship. Whether that is throwing a party, planting a tree, or changing your hair. Whatever way you decide to signify the end of the relationship is up to you. But no matter what, show gratitude for the relationship, practice self-care, and reflect on what you gained from that relationship. Because that alone will set the foundation for your next one.
Next doesn’t have to mean a new relationship. It could mean taking up a new hobby, turning your attention to a dream you wish to pursue, planning a trip. Whatever it is, go after it and embrace the change.
I may not be able to save every relationship, but I can help you come to terms with life, change, and help you reach a better understanding of what it means to be in a healthy relationship. Even if that means ending some.