“You can love them, forgive them, want good things for them… but still move on without them.”
~ Mandy Hale
On the surface, this seems like such a strange situation to be in. Why break up with someone you love?
The emotions related to loving someone and breaking up with someone are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
It just doesn’t make sense. And this is exactly why it can be so confusing when it comes to ending a relationship with someone you love. But don’t worry. You’re not the first to experience this and certainly not the last.
First, let’s clear up some confusion
- Love is not the only thing you need to make a relationship work. (Sorry to burst your bubble, romantics). There are so many other factors involved. Timing, compatibility, readiness, geography, similar values and goals are just a few of the aspects that play a role in your decision to stay in a relationship.
- Oftentimes, one of these is either missing or too much of a stressor to continue a relationship. Love can keep you in the relationship, but your ultimate satisfaction is most likely being sacrificed due to the stress related to other factors.
- Also, take into consideration that you may be realizing your version of love isn’t what you initially thought and are committing to your new definition.
Just a head’s up…
- It may take you a while to get the courage to end the relationship. The fact that you still love your partner oftentimes has a strong enough hold to keep you in the relationship longer than you want to be in it.
- Your partner may also be very resistant to ending the relationship because he knows you still love him. This is definitely a tricky one because you may not want to hurt him because you love him, but that’s where the next piece of advice comes into play…
Commit to yourself
- If ending the relationship is truly what you feel needs to happen, take time to explore and write down your reasons for this decision. Emphasize your needs and wants in this process. It also may be helpful to think about your long-term goals and ask yourself, “Do I picture him in this?”
- When we love someone, we may have a tendency to come up with reasons like, “He will be happier without me” or “I hold him back.” These are all legitimate, but they are also reasons that you could potentially be talked out of. This is why it’s so important to have a clear vision of what you want. He can’t talk you out of that.
Sarah Vendegna, MS, LPC – www.vendegnacounseling.com
This is one of the most painful decisions to make.
It is far easier to end a relationship when it has turned contentious and ugly than it is to end a relationship when there are still feelings, though the relationship is fading and doesn’t have a future.
Rather than give concrete “tips” for what you can do to end the relationship anyways, I want to provide you with some validation and insight for why this is so hard.
1. Beginnings are powerful.
Those early days of getting to know each other, long talks, and romantic dates form the foundation of a relationship. You and him may have had a very strong, good foundation. This can lead us to want to think that there must be some hope even if years have passed and a lot has changed. It may be that you’re in love with who he was then more than you’re in love with who he is now.
2. He still has some good qualities.
You fell in love with him for a reason. Even if the relationship has turned sour and you’ve started to see lots of things that you don’t like, part of why you still love him is because the good qualities are there, too.
Ending the relationship is going to require you to take off your rose-colored glasses and recognize that despite the good qualities he likely still has, he’s not the one for you for a reason.
3. Being alone is scary.
We can use all sorts of reasons to try to justify staying in a relationship that is no longer serving us, mostly because staying in it is easier than starting over most of the time.
Any change is scary and hard.
However, most – if not all – of us have known someone at some point who stayed in a relationship that wasn’t good for her for this reason. Don’t be her. Don’t let your love for him win out over the love you have for yourself.
At the end of the day, breakups are always hard and this one may feel harder than others.
Stand firm by your decision to end this relationship and find someone better for you, despite the love you still have for him. We can love someone and still decide that we deserve better.
Michelle Henderson, MA, LMHC – www.nextchapter-counseling.com
You love your boyfriend, but something is not right. You’re not feeling like he’s “The One” because he may be missing certain things you are looking for.
Does he lack maturity, responsibility, an easy-going temperament or even sensitivity towards you?
Obviously, he possesses certain other qualities or you wouldn’t love him, but is that enough?
How can you end the relationship and know it’s in your best interest if you do?
- Seek professional guidance. A counselor will help you understand how his behavior is affecting the relationship, give you insights into your needs and what steps you can take to move forward.
- Just remember, that it is impossible to change anyone else, unless they want to change. Your job is not to “fix” him and unless he’s ready or even aware, he will resist your suggestions.
- It’s scary to make a change. That fear can actually paralyze you into doing nothing. It can hold you hostage and keep you in your situation. Use your rational mind to examine the pros and cons of being in the relationship. Ask yourself, “Am I better off with him or without him?” And then move ahead with your gut feeling.
- Other things to ask yourself is, “How does he generally make you feel?” “How much more will you tolerate?” “What do you want from a relationship?”
Pay close attention to what you are telling yourself and how you process that information, because this can create balance in your life.
You will then be better prepared to embrace your challenges because you feel more in control and more secure in your judgment.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
You’ve given it all you’ve got. You’re tired of the disrespect, lack of being a priority, being used, ignored and/or the emotional, verbal or physical abuse. Your life force is draining out of you and your heart is broken. You spend more time sad and upset than peaceful and happy. Clearly, something has got to change.
You begin to recognize a voice inside of you is screaming for you to leave, but you can’t seem to take the next step.
- What’s stopping you?
- Why are you allowing yourself to stay in something that is clearly not adding value to your life?
- What belief have you attached to that is not letting you go?
The one thing I know for sure is the answer(s) will be based in fear.
Step 1: Locate the Fearful Beliefs
Six years ago I was faced with this exact dilemma. I was dating a man I felt was perfectly suited for me. (At least he was in the beginning) I fell madly in love with him.
Over time his interest, attention and respect began to wane.
Naturally I tried to bring up the obvious disconnection and distance, but he wanted no part of deep or emotional conversation. He even went as far to say, “You’re too good of a communicator.”
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a good thing?
I tried everything I could to be a “good girlfriend”. I gave him plenty of space and I was happy, fun, sexual and spontaneous.
As long as I kept things superficial and “easy”, he was in. The minute I tried to discuss one of my needs, he was out.
At one point he even tried to change the status of our relationship from boyfriend-girlfriend to FB’s (friends with benefits). It became quite apparent this relationship was going nowhere.
That realization alone was heart breaking because I truly thought I had found my “lifer”. I knew what I had to do, but I just didn’t know how. I was frozen.
I asked myself the same questions above and I prayed and meditated like crazy for answers.
When I was finally quiet enough to hear my hidden fears here is what they said:
- This is your last chance at love. You will not get another chance.
- You are too old and not attractive anymore. No one will want you.
- No one will want a woman who has 3 children.
- No one will want a woman who is living with her sick and elderly parents.
- You are unsafe without a man. You must keep him no matter what.
It was clear fear was holding me back from taking an empowered step towards my future and each day I stayed, my self-worth and joy plummeted.
Take an honest inventory of the fears/false beliefs holding you back.
Step 2: Challenge and Reframe Your Fears/False Beliefs
Locating our fears is a fabulous first step, but it’s not over yet, Dear Ones. We must be willing to challenge the legitimacy of those beliefs and find alternate better feeling beliefs that are as true or truer to replace them with.
I immediately set course to challenge each belief that was holding me hostage.
I was able to reframe some of them on my own, but I was very attached to others. They felt so real I was having trouble releasing the stranglehold they had on me. So I took it to the only power I know is greater than me…
I asked God/Source/Universe to help me by showing me real life examples opposing each of my fearful thoughts.
Soon thereafter, I saw men falling in love with and marrying women who had five children not just three!
Reframe: There are men out there who will embrace his partner’s multiple children.
I had clients finding their soulmates at 62 years old!
Reframe: Love has no age limit.
I saw men supporting their women through tough life trials like financial strain, troubled children, difficult ex’s or ill parents.
Reframe: There is a man out there who will love me regardless of my life trials.
I was astonished to discover how untrue my fears really were.
Additionally, I learned that it was not my undying love for my partner that kept me frozen, but a paralyzing fear of the unknown.
When seeking to reframe our fearful thoughts, we must throw out the belief that freezes us and bring in the belief that frees us!
We must be willing to challenge the old, reframe it with truth and adopt the new empowering thought.
Step 3: Challenge your false beliefs.
Ask the Universe for help if needed. Believe and adopt your new belief.
Step 4: Be Your Own Advocate
Throughout life we are given situations where we have the choice to stand up for ourselves or diminish our worth and play small for another. Some people can be so good at gas lighting (manipulating us into questioning our own sanity) that we are unsure what is real.
However, we have a choice whether to accept their blame or not by going within and searching our soul for what feels Right and True for us.
There is not one person on this planet who can tell you anything that will minimize what your soul is telling you unless you allow them to.
Your soul knows the truth.
It does not question your worth nor does it accept the unacceptable. It lives on a plane deeper than the human mind can conceive. It always knows the right way to turn which means if you dig deep enough, you already know the right way to turn.
As Debbie Ford once said, “We have one soul to take care of and we must take care of it.”
The only person truly capable of taking care of you is you.
We must be willing to be our own advocate when something is amiss. We must be willing to do what feels right and true for us no matter what. There is no rule book that says we have to please the world (like we are so used to doing).
We must give ourselves permission to advocate for ourselves when our needs are not being met or we are being treated poorly. And that could very well mean courageously taking ourselves out of an unhealthy situation if so needed.
Step 5: Listen to what your soul is telling you and take the necessary steps to nurture and protect yourself.
No one enjoys the ending of a relationship. It can be one the most horrifically painful experiences to endure. However, staying in an unhealthy relationship will only eat away at our life force and kill our joy. We end up living a half-life rather than the full-life intended for us.
Dear Ones, it’s important to remember that the end of a relationship is not the end of your life.
Contrarily, by choosing to leave a dysfunctional, abusive or disrespectful relationship, you are owning your worth and telling the Universe:
I am worth more than this!
Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.kristenbrown.org
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