Breaking up, how to do it and how to get over it

Posted by: Rose Tol, R&I Life Coaching, February 22, 2013, Breaking Up in Relationships Questions

Nobody likes to break up with someone. It brings up so many conflicting feelings even as devastating as a heart breaking. Unfortunately most people go through a relationship break up with a lot of unnecessary suffering. Breaking up with consciousness will help you go through it with the least amount of suffering. This guide will take through the steps of when to break up, how to do it without having to make the same mistakes again and how to get over a break up.

There is a way to break up graciously and end up on good terms with your partner if not as friends.

When to break up?

How many times have you seen a person breaking up with their partner, only to come up against the same issue again in their next relationship. This happens far to often and that is why it is important to decide on the right timing on when to break up.

Avoid forcing your partner to do the breaking up when it's you who wants to leave. People sabotage their relationships in a number of way by reducing sex and intimacy, flirting inappropriately, putting their partner down, drinking and drug taking, going out or having affairs.

Essentially, they do all the things their partner hates, so it gets to a point where the partner feels they can't put up with being so disrespected and they have to call it off.

Instead, you should be upfront. "Tell your partner directly and in a respectful manner that you have decided to break up your relationship. Don't force their hand to leave you."

The following questions can help you in your decision making process if it is right to end the relationship and if so, on when to break up.

  1. What is motivating you to consider to break up the relationship? What are the exact issues? You need to be very clear and specific on what they are.
  2. Read the article on the 6 basic human needs if you are new to this, and ask yourself the question: Which of the 6 basic human needs did you feel were not fulfilled in the relationship. Maybe you want to score each of the needs on a scale of 0-10. What are you learning from this?
  3. If you decide to break up, who else will be effected by the break up? What other changes need to be made; housing. finances, belongings? Is is important you take these factors into your decision making process.
  4. Once you are clear about the issues ask yourself: If the issues could be resolved, do I still want to be in a relationship with this person? If yes, why?
  5. Now take the above questions and your answers and go talk to your partner and share of yourself in a sincere and honest way. Maybe you would like to invite your partner to read the article on the 6 basic human needs and have him/her score the 6 needs on a scale of 0-10 also. If you can take the time to do this together, you will be able to see how much more will be revealed about your relationship and to what extent the relationship is fulfilling each others needs.

If you have gone through the above steps and gave it the time it deserves, by now the picture should be clear to whether it is right to break up or continue the relationship.

How to Break Up

Once you have given your decision the consideration and the time it deserves then you have the following steps to contemplate further.

  1.  If you have shared the basic human needs with each other then the break up conversation should be natural to follow. Do NOT break up your relationship by email or SMS or phone ever! You and you partner deserve a lot more respect then that. Remember, you get what you give, so give respect in setting up a meeting where you can talk face to face.
  2. Prepare yourself well and in detail for the break up conversation. List why you came to the decision; what needs did not get met in yourself, what dynamics or behaviors. It is best to not say things like, "I don't like this about you", that is an opinion and is not helpful. Also things like "I don't love you anymore", you are basically saying I have shut my heart down to you. Well, then there is work to do on your side. Many people use this as a cop out and do not share what they really are feeling. Again show respect by being vulnerable and sharing your feelings and intimate thoughts. This also counts for saying cliches like, "it's not you, it is me" or "I need space right now" or "I am too busy  at work". Saying these kinds of things is again a cop out and it leaves your partner wondering nad searching for answers.
  3. Check to see if you have distanced yourself. If you have then you have shut down a part of your heart. This is the stage when we often put the blame on the other for the break up. If you are shutting down emotionally you have to own your feelings. Some people spend months, even years, criticising and distancing, thinking they're letting them down slowly, but it only has a detrimental effect on their partner's self-esteem. There are many ways you can get help to open your heart. Opening your heart is crucial if you do not want to attract the 'same' partner again and have to deal with the same issues. You want to learn everything there is to learn about yourself so your next relationship can take you and your happiness to the next level. If your heart is shut down, find a way to open it before you have your break up conversation.
  4. Remember what you love about your partner. You might want to end the break up conversation with sharing the things you appreciate about him/her. This will bring some healing and will help with closure and the ability to let go and move on.
  5. When you set up a meeting to have the conversation refrain from having it in a cafe or any other public place. Set it up in an environment where your partner feels safe to express their emotions.
  6. Be careful not to send mixed messages to your partner. Once you've made up your mind you want to break up, don't give your ex mixed signals by sending text messages, asking to meet up and, especially, sleeping together. The psychological damage comes from the inconsistency between verbal and non-verbal communication. To give someone false hope because you want your needs met is just cruel.

How to get over a break up

It takes time to get over the loss of a relationship. You might feel as though your world has turned upside down and that things will never be good again. The strength of your feelings might be overwhelming.  You might cry, feel restless, or have less motivation or energy to do things. Your appetite and sleep might be disturbed.

With time and support, most people pull through relationship breakups, sometimes coming out stronger at the other end.

When should you get some help?

Breakups hurt, but people usually get over them in time and without any serious problems. If you find yourself unable to move on, talk things through with someone you trust. This may be a friend, family member, youth worker or a counselor. Counseling can provide a safe space to help you understand your feelings and gain some perspective.

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