Deciding to pursue a romantic relationship can be very exciting. However, what happens when you realize that this may not be the best situation for you or when you determine that life is taking you in a different direction? We walk you through breaking up in a way that feels right for you.
Being in a relationship where you are unhappy is not conducive to emotional well-being. You may already be feeling negative effects if the relationship is unhealthy. As unfortunate as it may feel, recognizing these feelings is a good thing. Being in tune with your feelings and addressing them is an important step in overcoming obstacles to well-being.
Do What’s Best for You
Even when you know that breaking up will be better for you in the long run, that doesn’t mean that you won’t feel sad or anxious about it. During this time, it’s important to practice self-care, both physically and emotionally.
Self-care is not something difficult to practice. However, many people overlook their own needs, especially when they are in a relationship with someone else. For some reason, many of us feel that if we focus on making the other person happy, or meet their needs, it will make the relationship better. This is not true.
When you are in a state of well-being, both physically and emotionally, you will find that handling stressful situations is not quite as difficult. Self-care is a way of promoting balance within your own body and mind. That balance is essential, especially when you are experiencing a life change, like a break-up.
A few things that are important when practicing self-care include:
Be Honest with Yourself
A break-up is a serious decision. Just like beginning a relationship should be given careful consideration, ending one should be handled right, too.
Take some time to yourself. Think about how you feel. How have your feelings changed? Was there an incident that made you realize this relationship wasn’t healthy or did you suddenly realize that your feelings had changed over time?
Granted, you may not owe anyone an explanation for your decision. However, when it’s time to break-up, you will be less likely to have unresolved issues if you have thought it through. Take an inventory of what you are feeling now and what you felt when the relationship began. Consider if there have been any changes in your past and present feelings about your boyfriend and your relationship. Some important things to consider include:
In the beginning of a relationship there is usually a feeling of euphoria. Both individuals may be excited and overcome with emotion by the simple thought of being together. However, the old saying, “You can’t live on love alone” is very true. A healthy relationship is one that not only makes you feel happy and want what’s best for someone else, but also one that makes you want to be a better person. If this is not the case, this is a red flag that should not be ignored.
One of the tell-tale signs that it may be time to end a relationship is when you would prefer to be alone more than in the presence of your boyfriend. Please note that everyone needs time to themselves. However, when you begin to favor time alone more than the companionship of your boyfriend there is clearly something lacking in the relationship.
If your quick answer is “Yes,” then it is time to end the relationship. If you are unsure, asking your boyfriend for some time apart may give you an opportunity to evaluate your feelings more. Time apart does not have to be a negative thing. It simply gives you a chance to rediscover who you are independently and lets you experience what it would be like to live your life without your boyfriend in it. Remember, if you ask for some time and he refuses, chances are, there may be some control issues there and you may have your answer already.
Prepare Yourself Before the Break-Up
While you may not be able to guarantee your boyfriend’s reaction to the break-up, you can take some measures to prepare yourself. One easy thing you can do is make a list of pros and cons regarding your relationship and why you want to break up. If you begin to second-guess your decision, refer to the list. Even decisions that you know are for the best may feel difficult at times. It is OK to feel emotional.
You also need to be prepared for your boyfriend’s reaction. If he doesn’t want the relationship to end, he may try to talk you out of breaking up. He may try to make you feel guilty. Don’t be surprised when he asks you why you want to break-up. That’s why thinking things through and making a list of pros and cons will be helpful to you. Of course, you don’t want to show him the list, but if you’ve taken the time to evaluate your feelings beforehand, you will be prepared to answer his questions confidently. No matter how hard you try, being honest sometimes hurts. However, you have an obligation to yourself to stay true to your decision.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
At times, talking to someone else gives you an outlet for your emotions. Talk to a friend or family member if you have someone you are comfortable with. Be sure to tell your confidant that you are not asking for opinions that may sway your decision, rather, you need someone that you can express your feelings to without judgment.
Even the most “together” person can experience difficulties during and after a break-up. It’s easy to feel like no one understands what you’re feeling. However, there are people who understand and care.
While some people are comfortable seeking in-person counseling, others may feel more comfortable seeking help through other means. BetterHelp offers online counseling options for individuals who need help coping with life changes, including relationship issues. Our staff of licensed, accredited professionals offer a wealth of knowledge and experience, and the platform is completely anonymous. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
“Maria has helped me really turn my life around. In the middle of a relationship that wasn’t right for me, I felt like life was caving in on me and spiraling out of control. With Maria’s help I was able to relinquish my confidence, get out of the relationship that wasn’t right for me, and continue on my path to self actualization.
“Blaire has been amazing. She’s super supportive, empathetic, and kind. She has helped me gain confidence in myself and learn that it is okay to enforce healthy boundaries in my relationships.”
When you are faced with the difficult decision of a break-up, it can feel very overwhelming. Taking time to evaluate your feelings and care for yourself are very important. When you feel that the situation is more than you can handle alone, there is help. Talk with friends or family and don’t be afraid to reach out for professional guidance, as well.