My grandparents both met in high school. They fell in love, grew a relationship and have built an amazing life together. I find it fascinating how much has changed in just a two generations of time. When I was in high school, my life revolved around playing basketball and finding a girlfriend. I’m now 26 years old, and have been in a total of three relationships.
I recently went through my most difficult break up yet. It’s not easy making a responsible decision that causes another human pain. While our relationships are intentional they don’t always go in the direction we hope. They unfold in real time through real experiences.
Sometimes, they can even leave us broken, hurting, and let down. Loving someone is a beautiful risk, one I still believe is worth taking. But consequently this risk requires a few necessary endings. It's my hope to steps that will turn hurt into healing, broken into beautiful, and let down to lift up.
People breakup, but they don’t have to break each other.
3 Ways to honor the person you’re breaking up with:
1. Say what needs to be said then stop talking.
Whatever you do, remember that regardless of how strong a person is, breaking up will produce feelings of rejection. Even if they want out of the relationship too! In times of pressure and distraught, we find ourselves ruled by our emotions. We use words like weapons and show body language determined to inflict pain. Be different. Lead with maturity. Get to the point, be sensitive to the moment, understand their humaness, but be short. No breakup should ever take longer than 15 minutes. Be strong enough to be brief.
2. Don’t hurt your reputation by trying to hurt theirs.
I’ve never been lucky enough to break up with someone who I didn’t share a friend circle with. This can be tough. You realize how intertwined your lives really are. Dinner, outings, the movies, events… they all change after a breakup. But one piece of wisdom reigns true: If you are in the same community, keep the negative stuff quiet. The last thing you want outsiders to do, is choose sides. You won't just lose a relationship, you’ll lose friends.
3. Give the greatest parting gifts possible: time and space.
Loneliness it hard. You were best friends. You talked for hours each day. It feels as if everything reminds you of something you did together. We must confront the reality of our emotional separation. Like velcro, your lives are slowly being ripped apart. And it will hurt. But as many wise men have said, “time heals all.” But this won't work if you continue to interject in the process. A text message, an email, an unexpected stop at their work. Your inability to cope with their absence will likely end up harming yourself and hurting them. Stick with space, it's the only strategy that always works.
What has helped you navigate a healthy breakup? Let me know in the comments below.
Also, I found this interesting and slightly provocative infographic on the concept of breakovers. I expect you'll enjoy 🙂