Relationships can be tricky at the best of times and downright hard at the worst of times. When you have learned that your relationship has stalled and you feel stuck or that you are in a toxic relationship that is unhealthy and must end, it is time to make some changes.
Making changes in a relationship like setting better boundaries, not accepting abusive or toxic behavior, and seeking counseling are positive steps to improving the relationship. Some relationships, though, are not salvageable because one or both of the parties refuse to change. If this happens, then it is time to end the relationship.
Ending a relationship is difficult at best and can be stressful and anxiety-ridden. Plus, you can be left with a broken heart in need of healing.
Here are five steps you can take to end your relationship the right way and five ways to help you deal with heartbreak.
Ending Your Relationship The Right Way
1. Honestly evaluate how you feel – This is a difficult first step that will help distance you from denial. When you spend time with your partner, do you feel energized or drained? Uplifted or put down? Have the dynamics changed recently for the worse? Are you being physically, emotionally or sexually abused? Pinpoint with certainty the issues in your relationship that are not curable. This will give you a solid foundation for explaining why you are ending the relationship.
2. Consider, decide and plan – Be sure to assess your relationship and the non-curable issues from a clear, rational perspective. Consider with clarity, not in the heat of anger, your decision and what the consequences will be of ending your relationship. Decide if you truly want to end the relationship and be confident in your decision. Once you have decided, plan immediately when and where you will inform your partner of your decision.
3. In-person and neutral – Breaking up a relationship will be painful for both you and your partner. To help lessen the shock and to convey your sincerity and care for your partner, end the relationship in person and not by text, phone call or a third party. Chose a neutral, private location where the two of you will have the privacy to freely express yourselves and show emotions. Public places, restaurants, and offices are typically bad places to end the relationships since the emotional state of you or your partner might draw unwanted attention or embarrassment.
The exception to this rule is if you are leaving an abusive relationship. If you are afraid that your partner may react violently, then ending the relationship in a public place where help is available, or using a third party, are better choices.
4. Stay calm and collected – Do not be swayed by your partner’s emotional response. You may be tempted to comfort them or try to retract your decision to end the relationship just to protect their feelings. Stay calm and collected, confident in your decision, and you will avoid sending a mixed message.
5. Avoid blame and criticism – Keep your language neutral and non-emotional. Speak about the relationship as a third-party, as in “It is no longer working out.” Express your regret that the relationship did not work out. Do not blame your partner or criticize them.
Dealing With and Recovering From Heartbreak
1. Go through the heart ache, not around it – One of the most difficult task you have to face is actually sitting in the heart ache and dealing with pain. Part of the loss process is grieving. It is the only way the pain will diminish and lose it’s grip on you.
2. Redefine who you are – Over time, the lines between who you are and who your partner is tends to blur and the two self-concepts become intertwined. When the relationship ends, people experience self-confusion and self-contraction (your sense of self shrinks). After a break up, you might feel lost and uncertain of who you are. Rediscover who you are by pursuing new things, finding new challenges and interacting with new people. If you have a passion for the creative, lose yourself in a new project. Redefining and rediscovering increase psychological well-being and post-break up healing.
3. Accept your feelings – Feel your emotions and acknowledge them. Avoid suppressing your emotions so that they do not manifest in another area of your life. Also, refrain from feeling ongoing guilt. Feeling guilty over making a mistake is healthy in the short term, but beating yourself up over it repeatedly for months on end is not.
4. Sweat it out – Working out your grief through exercise can give you immediate relief from emotional pain. Since serotonin is released through physical activity, your body’s chemicals can help you master your emotional state.
5. Find forgiveness – Coming to a place emotionally where you can forgive is freeing not only to your ex-partner, but also to you. Forgiveness releases all of the negative energy and emotions that you are holding and frees you to love again. Countless studies have shown that forgiveness leads to a stronger and healthier mental and emotional state.