Just because it's the right thing to do doesn't mean it's painless.
You may be a person who can benefit from learning how to break up with someone. It's not that you go about the breakup the wrong way—you don't send a text message or send a singing telegram that ends with "It's been fun but now we're done." Instead, you can benefit from learning how to break up with someone simply because you don't know how to stay broken up: you leave the person who's bad for you only to return again like a masochistic boomerang. How do you stay true to your choice? How do you break up with someone and then remain broken up?
Or perhaps you want the possibility of friendship with your ex after the dust has settled. It starts with taking these seven steps to uncouple consciously.
- Don't Blame The Other Person: When you go through a breakup, it's only logical to blame the person with whom your union is ending. But the problem with doing this is that it makes you the victim and it keeps you from taking responsibility for your role in things ending. Of course, not everything is your fault. But it's also not theirs. You two chose each other and co-created your dynamic. Keeping this in mind allows you to remember that you are the author of your life and perfectly capable of reediting your story. By taking responsibility for the breakup and the state of the relationship you also don't give your partner a reason to be defensive. You're not giving them any ammunition for a counter-argument or to talk their way out of the breakup by promising to change. You're shouldering the weight of your choices in the relationship that have lead up to this point and not casting any fingers.
- Write A Letter To Yourself: It may sound corny to write a letter to yourself, but when you're trying to learn how to break up with someone, this letter can be a lifesaver. Use this letter to list the reasons for your breakup. Be honest, be detailed, and get right down to the nitty gritty. Don't simply say that your ex relies too much on his mother, instead say that his mother still does his laundry and cuts his toenails. Listing the reasons for your decision gives you something tangible to look at whenever you're starting to rethink your decision.
- Build A Support Network: A support network is vital to surviving a breakup; you need ears to vent to and shoulders to lean on. But, not only do you need a circle of friends that you can count on, you also need a circle of friends who know all the failings of your relationship almost as well as you do. If they know all the dirty laundry, they can remind you why your relationship is permanently stained when you hit moments of regret and self-doubt.
- Get Space: Following your breakup, it's essential that you get space. This may be easy or difficult, depending on whether or not you live with the person you've been dating. If you do live with them, try to plan ahead and have somewhere—your parent’s house, a friend's home, a hotel room—that you can go. Studies suggest that when a person goes through a breakup, the same area of the brain that registers physical pain is activated. So, just as your brain tells you to remove your hand from a burning stove, it may also tell you to mend your broken relationship. But, while that may subdue the pain temporary, if you're in a relationship that isn't working, it won't help you in the long run. Thus, engage in a little out of sight, out of mind and limit physical contact with the person you've just ended things with. This doesn't mean you can never see each other again, but stay apart for at least twenty-one days. This is usually enough time to get clarity and fully convince yourself that breaking up was the right thing to do.
- Get Your Needs Met In Other Ways: A lot of time, when you're grieving from a breakup, you're not necessarily grieving for a person. Instead, you might be grieving for comfort, security, or routine, grieving for what you've come to know as normal. It is this grieving that makes returning so appealing. This is why it's essential to have your needs met in other ways: take care of yourself, eat well, workout, get massages, and even talk to a therapist or coach if you need to.
- Don't Be Ashamed If You Slip Up: Breaking up can be like quitting an addiction—no one expects you to stop yearning overnight. So be compassionate and forgive yourself if you do happen to screw up. This isn't to say you should go out of your way to drunk dial your ex, but if you do, don't panic. Panicking and being hard on yourself emotionally can send you looking for comfort, thus running back to the person you were trying to get away from.
- Allow Yourself Time To Mourn: Whether you've broken up with someone you've dated for three months. three years or thirty years, mourning is a natural part of the process; you've lost something. Allow yourself to mourn that loss. Think of mourning as the poison of your past relationship leaving your body. It's a necessary step in order to be whole again. This process may take several months and in some cases a couple years to feel back to normal again.
However, the benefits you accrue from ending an unhealthy relationship are immeasurable. It's a declaration to yourself that you deserve better and that you're willing to go through a little bit of pain to walk away from something that is not good for you. It builds character and will forever remind you that you have the strength to stay true to yourself in other future situations.
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