November 26, 2014

How to Tell if you’re Postponing a Breakup.

Elia Scudiero/Flickr

I’ve somehow spent most of the last decade in relationships of a year or more, with some really, really great guys.

I’m talking about sensitive, caring, intelligent, hilarious men, each of whom I feel infinitely blessed to have welcomed into my heart.

And yet, this piece is on breaking up.

Because in my experience, no matter how wonderful a person might be, if he isn’t right for me, there will be a teeny tiny incessant voice sounding the softest of alarm bells until I make a move to honor it.

This heart-centered voice might tell me to leave a relationship that appears, in many ways, absolutely perfect.

These are the toughest ones to let go of. It seems so unfair. It goes completely against logic. It has little to do with the mind, and everything to do with the heart. And it takes a hell of a lot of courage to act on a wordless feeling.

There’s this stillness inside of you that knows the voice is right—that despite how right everything looks, something feels wrong.

But this sort of dissonance, the jagged chasm between head and heart, is exactly the sort of thing that can lead someone to procrastinate a break up, for months or even years. The effort spent trying to force your head and your heart to agree often wreaks the worst kind of havoc.

You risk losing yourself and wasting your partner’s time.

So, if you’ve heard the whispering siren, take heed. Ask yourself the questions below.

Even as you read them, the head will attempt to convince the heart to change its mind. The heart doesn’t have a “mind,” so don’t expect it to stick up for itself with words.

Instead, pay attention to the often muted messages of your body.

Four Questions Your Heart Would Like Answered:

1) Does a part of you feel caged when you’re together? Maybe it’s just this little tiny piece that seemed insignificant in the beginning. Maybe you were even relieved that this inconvenient piece of who you are was pushed aside for a while. But as time has gone on, that tiny part of you has begun pacing back in forth in front of the bars, and anytime now, she’ll start yelling for help. When parts of your personality begin to feel bizarrely restless (like your creativity, humor, emotional expression), the heart takes note. It’s either all or nothing, according to that beating beauty.

2) Is saying the phrase “I’m in love with _____” physically difficult to do? Is it relatively easy to describe how much you love him, but the being “in” love part makes your throat feel like a tiny cavern birthing a big boulder? Try it now. If you’re able to say it, but still finding your shoulders hunching and your voice strained, you may be in the same boat. The body speaks its own language and it’s constantly accessing information you’re cognitively unaware of; then, it makes decisions about what is right for you. If you feel physically weak, or closed near him or when talking about him, this is another sign that your heart is telling you to leave.

3) As a test, try to imagine him happy with someone else. Do you experience a strange union of extreme dismay lined with a glimmer of instant relief? If so, it’s another sign that this thing may not be what it seems. Though when it does finally happen and you see him with someone else, the pain will be real, and your mind is likely to chide you. But if you maintain connection with the small voice of your heart, you’ll pull through.

4) Do you feel like you’re a better person with him? Does being with him make living your truth and creating a purposeful life for yourself easier or more difficult? I belong to the clan that believes that we all show up on Earth with some sort of a mission (even if that mission is just to live an authentic life), and the people we meet along the way are either allies in the mission or they’re distractions that often leave us with painful, yet worthwhile messages. Could he just be a messenger, or does his own mission resonate so strongly with yours that fulfilling yours practically means fulfilling his and vice versa?


If answering the last four questions hasn’t provided you with enough clarity, try this:

Place your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your belly. Take a moment to let your awareness move away from the space of your head, travel down your neck and into the space of your heart. Inhale, feel for your heart beat and then exhale. Repeat this five times.

And then dare yourself to be honest about what is true for you.

Because maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but one of these days, what the heart has whispered a thousand times will spill like a prophetic message onto the very tangible pages of real life.

You can either be ready with a pen to guide it into something meaningful and worthwhile, or you can watch the ink spread out and bleed through so many unnecessary pages.

So stop asking yourself if it’s wrong or right. Stop making lists, and asking for advice.

Start asking yourself what your heart would do.

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?”
~ Rumi


Relephant reads:

12 Tips for Getting Through a Breakup.

How To Survive A Breakup Without Closure. ~ Jen Donnell

The Beauty in Breakups: What We Learn from Embracing the End. ~ Mel Mariposa

The Relationship Funeral: Rituals for a Breakup.

If you still want to save your relationship:


Author: Lucy Animus

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Elia Scudiero/Flickr

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