Most of us have had the misfortune, at some point in our lives, to have been involved in an unhealthy relationship. We may have known, deep down, that things weren’t right, and staying wasn’t in our best interests – and yet ending things can seem profoundly difficult, if not impossible.
However, it’s pretty much unanimous that, once the leaving has been done, the heartbreak has been gone through, and the dust has settled, we look back and feel immensely relieved that this relationship, which wasn’t serving our best interest, has come to an end.
Recognize the Situation
Before anything else, it’s vital to see the situation clearly, for what it is. Is this a relationship that you’re clinging to based on your hope that your partner will change rather than any evidence that this will happen? Is the relationship bringing you joy, does it boost you, and do you feel supported in the partnership? Every couple will argue and go through rough patches, but if you’ve been feeling lonely, unhappy, or that the relationship is taking its toll on your self-esteem or confidence, then it’s important to see this clearly and understand that the time has come to make a decision.
There may be an element of denial at play – our brains will automatically gravitate to what’s familiar, but that’s not the same as what is necessarily best for us.
Reconnect with Yourself
It’s normal and natural that when we’re in a relationship – especially if it’s a long-term one – our interests and personality begin to blend with that of our partner. We may gradually lose the connection with our interests, hobbies, and passions, and even more so in an unhealthy relationship.
Take steps now to reconnect with the things that make you uniquely…you. Whether you used to love attending a weekly yoga class with friends, had an interest in astrology and all things esoteric – and, if this is the case, check out 7th Sense Psychics, who specialize in tarot and astrology readings – or have an evening law course partially completed in your recent past, it’s time to incorporate these things into your life once more.
Do the Deed
There’s never going to be a right time. Sure, you can avoid birthdays or other family events, but be wary of any temptation to kick things into the long grass. If you’ve reached the point where you know the relationship is unhealthy, then ending things as soon as possible is the best thing to do so that you can begin the process of moving on.
Of course, your personal safety is the primary concern, and if the relationship is such that this is an issue, then leaving at the first opportune safe moment is the best course of action and communication regarding the practicalities of the break-up can be taken care of later.
Understand the Effects
Practicing self-compassion during this period is absolutely vital, and what could help you is an understanding of how an unhealthy relationship can be like an addiction; whereas a healthy relationship incorporates plenty of mutual respect, commitment, and trust, relationships that aren’t in our best interests can be more accurately compared with the highs and lows of drug addiction.
One of the best ways to cope with this, when you’re, understandably, dealing with heartache and a desperate desire to make contact in the wake of the breakup, is to actively be aware of and engage with your thoughts. On this basis, you can notice the feeling but also reframe it: being aware that the sense of longing and loss is a dopamine withdrawal reaction can help you not only feel less at the mercy of your emotions but also to understand what’s happening – which can be empowering.
There’s no doubt about it; ending a relationship is tough. Having some support around you that you can count on is really important, whether that’s in the form of family members or a few close friends. It can be supremely difficult asking for and accepting help, but try to do it at this time. In the immediate aftermath of the relationship ending, be clear about the support you need, however difficult this may seem: your loved ones will want to help you. Maybe you just need some company or could do with someone to help you sort out the practical matters pertaining to the split; whether it’s a late-night ice-cream session or help with a household chore that formerly fell to your ex-partner, those close to you will want to help out – believe me.
Break the Cycle
If you feel as if you’re caught up in a cycle of bad relationships, then it’s important to recognize this so that you can make the changes needed to find peace and happiness. Counseling can be key to making this happen: a tendency to find ourselves in one bad relationship after another can often be traced back to an underlying emotional trauma or a serious issue with our own self-esteem, and therapy can help to resolve this.
It’s important, too, to treat yourself in the way that you want to be treated. Respect, nurture, and love yourself, and only accept in your life relationships that manifest these qualities.