How to Handle a Breakup.

Breaking up is difficult to do even when it is mutual. Usually both partners are in emotional pain and miss the other.  Often they still love each other but in spite of trying so hard, just cannot make it work.  Both feel like fish out of water because they are not in a relationship yet not ready to be single either.  People, newly broken up, do not know how to be with family and friends, and family and friends are not sure how to handle family members who are newly broken up.  What if they reconcile?   It is a confusing time when one’s personal life goes from order into chaos.

Recommendations:

Be respectful

Respect is important during relationships and while ending them.  Respectful behavior is less likely to provoke hurtful, inappropriate or nasty behavior.  Also, you want to know that regardless how difficult the situation is you can look in the mirror and respect yourself for how you handle the breakup.

Trust in your ex-lover’s inner resources

People are very resourceful. Believe, given time, he or she will recover and get on with their lives.  Most people are in a new relationship within two to four years.  If you believe this, even if you don’t say anything to your partner, you will convey to him or her that you believe they have resources. This will help them believe in themselves, help them believe that they can recover and move on.

Do not send mixed messages

Because there are always good parts to every relationship people usually still have some loving feelings for their ex-partner when they end a relationship.  If not loving feelings, then feelings of concern for them.  Partners who do not want the relationship to end will focus on any message that indicates a possibility of reconciliation. When you end a relationship, give your ex-lover only the message that the relationship is over.

Do not try to be friends – yet

A romantic relationship needs to fully end before a friends-only relationship can begin.  Take time apart before you attempt to re-engage as friends.  This way, you will more likely be able to salvage the friendship.

Confide in a trustworthy person

People who talk about their experiences during a breakup do better than those who do not. It helps to articulate what you are thinking and feeling, as well as get feedback.

Choose wisely who you to talk to?  It could be a best friend or family member who can be trusted to keep confidences.  However, sometimes friends and family are not able to act as confidants for various reasons.  Perhaps they cannot keep what you say confidential.  It could be that it’s too difficult to see their loved one in pain.  Perhaps it is shaking up their own relationship.  Or, it may be that they have an agenda about your breakup.  Also, if there is a possibility of reconciliation, family and friends may view you and/or your partner differently because of what you told them.

Seeing a counselor or psychologist is an option.  It allows you to explore and express yourself without concern of negative judgment or how it will impact on your other relationships.  What you disclose will not come back to bite you.

Reach out

Keep busy without burying yourself in work.  Now is the time to do things and have contact with other people even if you do not want to.  Call family and friends you’ve neglected, learn new skills, take courses, and hang out with those that care about you.

Look after yourself.

Dr. Bea

Note:  Handling breakups respectfully speaks well of you to future partners.

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