Relationships are risky. Sometimes they don’t work out. This can be true even if both parties are great people. Maybe there aren’t enough shared interests to keep them connected. Maybe they each want different things. Or perhaps they just make better friends. It happens. Not all relationships are forever. So, it’s good to know how to have a healthy break-up.
Talk It Out
It’s not always easy to talk about cutting ties – especially if this is not your choice. However, if at all possible, communicate openly about your thoughts and feelings. Talk about what was good, what didn’t work for you, and keep it positive. No blaming, complaining or fighting.
Whatever you do, don’t lie. Don’t say things you don’t mean. Don’t make promises you won’t keep to let someone down easy.
Leaving on a respectful, high note is so much nicer than having a knockdown drag out fight. It gives you both dignity and helps close the door on this chapter of your life so that you can move on.
Set New Boundaries
It’s a good idea if both parties agree on what the new ground rules will be. Does a break up mean no contact? Are you planning on maintaining a friendship? If you were best friends, share mutual friends, like the same hangouts, or have kids, this is an important thing to consider. Having clear boundaries will keep you from having a long period in limbo.
Respect the Boundaries
It’s tempting to go back to old habits. For you and your ex, it’s better to respect the new boundaries. You’re not a couple anymore. That means things change. Let them change. This is a great time to focus on yourself, not your past or your ex.
Spend Some Time Alone
It’s usually a good idea to have some time and space after a break up to reflect. Relationships can teach us a lot if we pay attention. If we don’t give ourselves this time, we may simply go right back into a new relationship with the same dynamics that we left. So, give yourself space to grow before you connect with someone else.
Having some space can also give you the privacy to feel your feelings. It’s okay to be upset, let down, angry, lonely, or jealous. You feel what you feel. When you’re done feeling that, a new feeling will come along. For now, be here.
While it’s a good idea to feel your feelings, you don’t want to get bogged down in them. Everything in moderation! Making time for friends, family, engaging in hobbies, or taking that new class can help to heal the pain of a break-up. Staying busy keeps you from going into dark or destructive places too.
Maintain Self Care
It can be tempting to let go of everything and mourn. When we feel this way, it’s most important to maintain self-care. Be sure to eat healthy foods, take care of hygiene needs, exercise, have social time, and make space for your spiritual practices. Don’t overeat, indulge in alcohol or drugs, or use gossip as a way to escape. This will only prolong the pain of the break-up.
Things end. All the time. This is part of life. When we rehearse and participate in healthy endings, they are easier to endure. They just become natural. So if you are experiencing an ending, remember that they are also beginnings.