Ending a relationship can be one of the hardest things that we do in our lives. Whether the decision to split is mutual or one-sided, it’s never easy and the longer you’ve been together the more complicated it can become. Here are some pointers to help you begin rationalising what can be a flurry of irrational thoughts and emotions.
When you don’t want to breakup
When someone you care for decides they no longer want to be in a relationship with you, there can be a feeling of abandonment and loss of control. Realising someone else has such a significant power over our happiness is truly overwhelming and difficult to accept, especially when the feeling of victimhood is a new experience to us.
As much as you may want to remain together or think your partner is making a mistake, it’s worth looking at the cold and often hard fact of the situation. How much of you really wants to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you? Is this a healthy reflection of your self worth? The answer is no.
When you’re the person walking away
Being the one actively responsible for the decision to break up can be as heart-wrenching as being on the receiving end. There is sometimes a misconception that you have it easier than the person who is ‘left behind’, but this is a total fallacy.
Honouring the person you want to be and the future you want to have by confidently moving forward in that direction can be a scary move to make. This is the type of fear that makes people settle, and it will produce a whole host of other issues if not overcome.
When you decide to leave, and are sure about your choice, be careful not to let your partner’s grief crowd out your reasons for doing so.
When cheating is involved
Often when there is cheating within a relationship there is a natural tendency to be angry with any and everyone involved. To reign this in you must be very clear about who in the situation owed you their loyalty in the first place. If you didn’t know the toyboy or the mistress, refrain from hunting them down and unleashing your frustrations on them. Focus your energy on your relationship and the person who specifically broke your trust.
People cheat because they feel they are either missing something from their own relationship or from their life in general. Leaving a cheater, or leaving because you know you cannot be faithful, shows great self-awareness. Any work done to heal or change behaviour should happen before your next serious relationship.
When you love someone but want different things
It takes a lot to admit that contrary to romantic fiction and popular belief, love is not always enough to sustain a relationship in the long term. The joining of two hearts does not make one, and therefore you will sometimes as an individual have needs that are vastly different from your partner’s. In these circumstances it’s important to be selfless if you’re on the receiving end and selfish if you’re the one leaving.
If you have set goals you want to achieve, no one has the right to stop you from pursuing them, no matter how much they love you. We all know the saying ‘if you love someone, set them free.’
When you grow apart
This is similar to wanting different things, but it isn’t always traceable or related to a particular need of either partner. When you grow apart your lover may feel more like a housemate or even a parent, and the spark necessary to make it work will simply be nowhere to be seen. In cases like this it’s important to honour your original friendship as best as possible by giving each other the space needed to heal and move on. Be gracious, don’t bicker about material possessions or things unimportant in the long term. Be civil, fair and compassionate.