Oops, I Accidentally Broke Up With My Partner. Now What?

couple fighting
Love, Heartbreak

Start healing the damage and rebuilding trust.

You don't know why you said it, but you did.

It was a stupid argument and you can't even remember how the conflict started or what it was really about. What you won't ever forget is how frustrated and angry you were and the stunned look on your partner's face when you uttered the words...

“It’s over! I’m leaving you!”

You didn't actually want to or intend to break up with your partner, in that moment and especially now. You spoke without thinking because you were so upset and just wanted to somehow express the intensity of your displeasure with your partner.

After you spoke the words and stormed out of the room, the question on your mind and on your partner's mind is...

"Now what?"

  • Can you two just pretend everything is normal and okay again?
  • What's the status of your relationship now?
  • Are you two even really a couple?
  • How can you let your partner know you didn't really mean to break up?

You can't un-speak the breakup, but you can un-do the damage and begin to put your relationship back together again.

But first...

You need to understand why you said what you did. Something is "off" in your relationship and there are troublesome dynamics between you and your partner that had to have been bothering you. Otherwise, you wouldn't have felt upset enough to tell your partner you are leaving the relationship.

If everything was amazing between the two of you, those words would not have come out of your mouth.

Be honest with yourself and ask yourself whether or not it is healthy for you to be in this relationship. Are the challenges you two are having fixable and have you seen any signs (within yourself or in your partner's behavior) that indicate a willingness to make lasting changes?

Spend some time on this question because if you're not convinced that it's a good idea for you and your partner to be together, it's going to be nearly impossible to convince him or her and to put these suggestions into practice.

If you do decide to repair your relationship, follow these 3 rules:

  1. Own it. It's absolutely necessary for you to put your pride aside and take full responsibility for the "argument breakup." If you get defensive or try to deflect blame to your partner (and whatever he or she said or did), your apology is not going anywhere. Focus in on the words you said that you now regret and then, genuinely and from the heart, say "I'm sorry."
  2. Face it. Ask your partner to talk with you about the situation, which may be a recurring one. The more you can leave out the blame the better; get curious about how each of you perceives what's happening and what sort of resolution is acceptable. Facing up is all about looking at the bigger picture. This is about more than one argument where you broke up and stormed out. This is about recognizing how you both play a role in whatever is causing conflict and tearing you apart and learning from it.
  3. Strategize about it. As a team, brainstorm options about the situation or issue you two are struggling with. This might mean that you consider things that you've rejected in the past. Write down all options you can think of and then talk about the benefits of each. Choose one that you both feel is doable and that will take you closer to where you want to be in your relationship.

You can also strategize with your partner about how to ease communication in your relationship. Talk about specific words or actions that help you both calm down and return to clarity to use when an argument heats up.

Agree to take a "time out" at the first signs of a fight or make a request that you'll each pause, take deep breaths, say "I love you" to each other and consciously return to what's most important: finding a solution you both can be happy with.

Communicating effectively with your partner doesn't have to be as difficult or emotionally painful as it has been! Find out which words and phrases to say (and which to avoid) for effective communication in our free "Magic Relationship Words" video.

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