It happens to the best of us: relationships hit a wall, someone moves away, communication seems lost, or it just wasn’t the right fit in the first place.
Breaking up with someone is notoriously hard. Our hearts, emotions, and sometimes kitchen utensils are tied up in the mix. It can be challenging to sort through and untangle things.
So what to do when your break time comes? Whether you are the initiator or not, here are some helpful steps that can help you exit your relationship as gracefully as possible.
1. Remember the good times.
I’m not going to let you get all hazy-eyed and stuck here, thinking this was the only taste of love you’ll ever get, but it is helpful to recognize that this relationship brought joy into your life. You could have been staring at the wall or searching the internet, but instead you took some time and energy to open up and connect with another human being. Good for you!
This is a risk that is hard to take in the first place, as there are no guarantees in love. Take a moment to be grateful for your courage and any sweet memories you carry out of the relationship with you.
Note: You may already be crying. This is a good thing, let it move. Remember, I won’t let you get stuck here. keep reading!
2. Remember the bad times.
It can be a mental challenge to hold both the good and the bad of a relationship. Now, unless there was abuse and/or intense trauma interwoven into your relationship (in which case, find a supportive therapist who can help you sort through any overwhelming experiences), it’s okay to remember that there is a reason why you are no longer together.
Was it poor communication? Lack of respect? Insurmountable differences? Take a moment to reality check the times you thought about leaving, wondered if it was right, or knew it was all going down.
Again, lets not get stuck here. Moving on!
3. Ask what you have learned.
You now have more info about yourself or about what you want and need in a partnership. Many people want to skip this and jump into another relationship, a stiff martini, or a pint of New York Superfudge Chunk (Mmm). Instead, try reflecting for a moment.
What was your part in the challenges of the relationship? It always takes two to tango, so ask yourself what you have learned and what you will do differently next time. This could be communicating your emotions more clearly, giving more love and support, taking more time for yourself, being more independent or more interdependent—there are lots of options here, so take a few moments to see what fits for you.
I know, its sucks, it hurts, it’s hard. But let yourself cry when you need to, without getting completely stuck there. Practice that release of what was and come back to what is. Honoring of your feelings without letting them consume you. Find a mental mantra to help you here. Love expert Kathryn Alice suggests, “I release you to your highest good,” which I like, but it can be as simple as “We’re done, I’m moving on.”
5. Shift your energy.
Go from grasping, pining, holding on, to honoring the reality of the experience, good, bad, ugly and over.
6. Look forward.
While not knowing can be scary, excitement and fear often go hand and hand. Get excited (!!) about the possibilities that are out there for you. Enjoy (!) spending some time alone, doing your thang, focusing on what you want to create with your next step. Let the positive vision of what you want pull you into the future.
7. Find your faith.
Lastly, like Iyanla so wisely suggested, have some faith in your own journey. We often get stuck when we compare ourselves to others or to a societal or cultural view of what “should” be happening in our lives. Find faith in yourself and seek the support of those who have faith in you.
I’ve got your back too… you can do this! Many of us have and many of us will. You will not die. You can, and will, heal and thrive.
Now I want to hear from you—what positive vision to you have that pulls you? What do you feel is possible for your life? Putting this in writing can be scary but it can also be powerful. Here is an opportunity to claim who you are and what you want in life.
With much love and support,
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: courtesy of the author