25 Jan A healthy ending
Obviously, not all romantic relationships last forever. Though when we are in them, we certainly hope that they will!
But when the time comes to end things, you’ll want to do it well so you can look back on the experience and feel proud of how you handled it. When we are in the thick of the emotions of ending a relationship, we can have a hard time doing the right thing. Below are some strategies to keep in mind. Please note, you will read some scenarios and dialogues that may not feel like something you would say or may not remotely resonate with your situation. These are just examples, and will never apply to everyone.
End it with respect
If you’re going to be the one dumping someone, then do it in a kind way. For example, face-to-face is nicest. Unless of course, you are breaking things off with someone who may be abusive. In that case, just do it! And good for you.
But in a loving relationship that needs to end, end it with love. Do it in person, with compassion and in a manner that will make you feel good. For instance, “Sam, we’ve been together for over a year now, and I’ve loved our relationship, but I’m just not feeling it anymore and I’d like to end things. I’d like us to be friends, but I understand that may take some time.”
Definitely let the person say what he/she needs to say and just listen. Be respectful that the other person may have different feelings than you. You aren’t responsible for someone else’s feelings but you are responsible for behaving in a manner that honors both the relationship you have had and who you are.
Being in a break up, whichever side you’re on, can be highly emotional for some people. For example, Tony broke things off with Lara out of the blue in a parking lot before the holidays. Lara could have caused a huge scene, but she knew she would regret it, and frankly she was embarrassed to fall apart in public. Instead, she called her mom to pick her up and take her home, where she punched her pillow and cried for 8 hours.
Three months later Lara was back with Tony. After a couple months he tossed her again – over the phone! Lara’s big sister intervened and told Tony to grow up and do it face to face. When Tony showed up, Lara had a chance to tell him how she felt – betrayed, used, hurt, angry and sad. She did a little yelling too. All of this helped Lara truly move on from the relationship. She needed to face her feelings, express them and then begin to heal them. She never got back together with Tony again. Smart girl.
By realizing her emotions and expressing them to Tony, Lara was able to move beyond the horrific break up. She was lucky she got the opportunity to do so, not everyone does. If you haven’t had the chance and still find yourself fuming and going over all the things you wanted to say, try writing them down. Then you can choose to send them or not if you feel like sending them would help.
People generally like to hear why the other person is ending the relationship, so consider your dialogue before you just do it. You may want to begin or end with an apology, if that feels appropriate to you. Again, if you are ending an abusive relationship, then our advice is to just end it. Now. Not face-to-face. No explanation necessary. Just. Get. Out.
If you have a specific reason for leaving the relationship, it’s okay to say it if it helps you to make your boundaries clear, such as “I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who would lie about me.” Or, “I’ve asked over and over to not move along too quickly and you just don’t seem to be respecting that, so I need to end things between us.”
For situations that don’t stem from poor behavior, you could try, “I’m sorry this didn’t work out. I had so much fun with you, but I’m ready to move on.” And you may not even know exactly why you want to break up, you just know that you do, and that’s ok. You can say, “I don’t know why I feel this way, and it’s not your fault or anything you did, but I just know that I need to move on.”
Notice what you learned
This is key. You are building who you are and part of that is who you are in relationships. Are you nice? Supportive? Affectionate? Demanding? Selfish? You will learn these things about yourself through others. That’s why you want to choose to date people who are good people. Why have a relationship with a bad person? Actually, people do, but that is the topic of the Dating Abuse post. Here, simply think about why you dated this particular person and try to figure a way to grow from the experience. For instance,
I had no idea I would allow someone to treat me like that. Never again!
I don’t like aggressive girls – they are too fast for me.
I really liked dating someone who I was such good friends with, but I just wasn’t attracted to him and I can’t force that kind of thing.
I need to build more trust before I make such a commitment.
Also, notice if a pattern exists. If you are feeling betrayed over and over in relationships, you may want to explore why you are dating people who make you feel this way. Exploring why will bring you closer to breaking the pattern.