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How to End a Relationship

Photo by Erik Clausen

Breaking up with someone you love can be one of the toughest emotional struggles you’ll go through. How have you handled breakups in the past? What can you do to minimize pain for the other person and yourself?

I’ve been on quite an emotional ride recently. What has been weighing heavily on my heart and mind involves a slice from my personal life. Without going into details, Adam, my partner for the past year, and I have decided to part ways. We will remain good friends.

The past three weeks have been a tremendously painful period, feelings of empathy mixed with remorse and guilt. The impulse to burst into tears would hit me sporadically throughout the day.

When I first wrote about the art of keeping a relationship, my friend Pete Forde suggested that perhaps people could also benefit from an article on how to end a relationship. I noted his brilliant suggestion without further thought. Little did I know, this would become the center of my experience a month later.

This being a sensitive topic, I had a tough time finding genuine and in-depth resources online. My goal here is to capture the understanding and wisdom I’ve gained from going through this event, and to perhaps be of help or a point of clarity for your life story.

Feel free to add points that I’ve missed in the comment section. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

 

Why Relationships End & Other Realizations

As painful as a relationship can be as it’s ending, the experience can be a source of profound learning and personal growth. I’ve learned as the years goes by, just when you are getting comfortable, life will throw something at you which challenges that comfort. Don’t big life shifts always appear this way?

Instead of looking at these challenges with frustration, treat them as an opportunity for change in the life direction you were meant to lead and benefit from. The following are some realizations I’ve learned with regards to relationships and the ending of them.

1. The Failure Misconception

Socially, we tend to correlate the ending of a relationship with failure. We even articulate it as such; we say, “I’ve failed in this relationship”. By framing as such, we leave a negative impression in our minds and an association with relationships in general.

The ending of a relationship is not a failure, but rather the ending of a life situation in our story. We were meant to experience the relationship for its joyful moments and we were meant to learn from its challenges. New life and death are all around us. Every inhale we take is a birth and each exhale is the death of that breath; and life continues.

2. Being Honest to Your Needs

It’s important to clearly understand our needs in a relationship and qualities in a mate. Be absolutely honest with yourself and don’t compromising the qualities that are essential to you. What typically happens when we find a quality, which deeply matters to us, is missing in our partner, we think that they can be changed.

Truth is, we can’t make people change we can only change ourselves. Small things will magnify with time. Be conscious of these small things and be honest with yourself. Understand your needs and be true to yourself. We only have a set amount of time in this life, make it matter.

3. Fear and Guilt

We stay in relationships that we know aren’t necessarily right for us because we are afraid. We fear loneliness, we fear hurting our partner, and we fear having to deal with uncomfortable situations. The guilt comes in when we recognize that we are not being honest with ourselves and thus being unfair to our partners.

4. ‘Borrowed’ Desires

Sometimes in the presence of someone who is completely focused in getting what they want (ie. Your love), it influences your desires when in their presence. You pick up their strong vibe and their desire transfers to you.

In a relationship, if one partner feels significantly stronger than the other, sometimes this strong desire rubs off on the other person. In the presence of the more interested partner, the less interested partner will feel that “This is the right thing for me. This feels right.” When separated from the partner with the strong desire, the less interested partner will feel less intense or indifferent about the relationship.

5. Love and Romance Can Be Mutually Exclusive

Sometimes when we have strong connections with people, we instantly relate it to a romantic relationship, and end up jumping into one with them. You can love people without being in a romantic relationship. I think we are socially conditioned to believe that love for someone equals romance.

Truth is, the love we feel for others comes from a beautiful place within ourselves, that infinite feeling of love is an expression of our true nature, it has nothing to do with other people. Instead of jumping into romance, we can cultivate a harmonious friendship with that person.

6. Social Pressure

I felt the social pressure when considering my options. But at the end of the day, that pressure comes from my ego out of fear that I would look bad. I have a public image and on some level, I was afraid what people might think of me afterwards. That can turn into negative self talk.

Here is an example of such a thought, “What would my friends think? What would my readers think? I am a horrible person.” I got out of this state by gaining clarity and recognizing that I needed to be honest with myself.

7. Loss of Friendship

Traditionally, when relationships end, we tend to cut everything off. It’s silly to conclude that after sharing months and years with someone, that if one component of the relationship changes, all else must be cut off. Why can’t we continue the other components of the relationship after our hearts are healed? Friendship does not have to be lost.

8. Fantasy Fueled By Desire

We let our minds get caught up in an idea, a vision of how something should be, and we end up living in that fantasy instead of reality. We repeatedly play the same videos in our mind, and believe that we will be happy when our life situation matches that of the mental videos. The same applies to our idea of relationships. It is easy to let our desires get in the way of reality, and we end up living in a fantasy world within our current relationship… until one day, we wake up from that fantasy.

How to Break Up with Someone

relationship-break.jpg
Photo via Erik Clausen

Once you’ve decided that parting ways is the best solution, doing the actual break up can be pretty nerve racking, since people’s hearts are on the line. Here is a series of steps to help you through it and suggestions of ways to reduce pain caused to the other person.

1. Clarity

Make sure you understand why you are doing it. Sometimes the surface reason isn’t the real reason. Dig deep within yourself to find the real reason. Being surrounded by the situation can cloud your judgment. Separate yourself from the situation and spend some alone time. This will help you gain the clarity you need. I’ve found journaling to be an effective tool.

2. Self Honesty

Make the commitment to be honest with yourself and the other person. The truth will set you free. Be committed to that.

3. Setup Meeting Time

Setup mutual time to talk to your partner as soon as possible. Some people are opposed to phone breakups. I think that face-to-face is always best, but if distance separates you, it’s best to do so as soon as possible rather than waiting.

4. State of Compassion

Before your meeting, get into a state of compassion for the other person. In a state of compassion, you will exude love and understanding, which you’ll need to help the other person heal. Some suggestions to help you get into a compassionate state:

  • Deep Breathing – Stand up straight, close your eyes, and place your hand on your heart. Take deep, long inhales and exhales. You can count the inhale/exhale length. After inhaling, hold your breath for a 5 count before exhaling slowly. Repeat at least 15 times.
  • Gratitude – Sit somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, and picture everything you are grateful for. One by one, images of people, situations, places, and things appear in your imagination. Alternatively, try writing this down instead of visualizing.
  • Focus on Love – Close your eyes. Optionally, put on some slow music which you enjoy. In your imagination, go back to all the times when you felt loved and when you felt love for others. Imagine times where you truly felt happy and free. Imagine yourself as a little kid, experiencing joy and freedom. Do this exercise for at least 5-10 minutes.

5. The Meeting

During the meeting, focus on communicating your reasons clearly and respectfully for the sake of the other person. Here are some additional pointers for when explaining yourself during the meeting:

  1. When explaining, focus on how things made you feel, this way your partner doesn’t get defensive. Make it clear that the situation is not their fault, since blaming doesn’t add value in helping the situation.
  2. Talk about things you’ve learned from the relationship and what you are grateful for.
  3. Be Genuine in everything that you say. If you don’t mean something, don’t say it. People can detect when you are not being authentic.

6. Be There

Your partner will get emotional and possibly very upset. They will bounce between different emotional states. Your job is to be there for them. Become the observer of the situation. Stay conscious, calm and alert.

7. Don’t take anything personally

When we are emotional and feeling hurt, we can easily become irrational and say things we don’t mean. Don’t be surprised if your partner acts like a small child and says unreasonable or mean things to you. They don’t mean it. They are simply hurt and need attention from you. Don’t take anything personally. Become the observer so you don’t get attached to what’s being said and react defensively.

8. Love Them

Love them regardless of the situation. They are human and have feelings. Remember you can love people without needing to be in a romantic relationship with them. Be there for them in that state of love and compassion, regardless of how they react. This will help you find your center, while remaining calm to best help the other person deal with the situation.

9. Fully Express Emotions

If you feel like crying, do it, and do it fully. This will release the emotional clutter in your inner space.

10. Multiple Meetings

it really takes several days before news can sink in. Don’t expect to meet once and be done with it. It is your responsibility to be there for that person, at least initially during a breakup situation.

11. Be Available

Do whatever is necessary to help them heal without compromising your values. Be available for them when they need you.

12. Space

Give them space. They will be hurt no matter what, so even if they appear fine on the outside, they are hurting. What they need now is time. Check up on them a few times in the beginning to make sure they are okay and to let them know that they matter. Remind them that you are here if they need your help to heal.

13. Relinquish Guilt

You may experience guilt, since you are the one initiating the breakup. You see that you’ve caused pain and this may affect your state of being. The following are some ideas that help to let go of this feeling:

  1. Meditation
  2. Deep Breathing
  3. Alone Time
  4. Exercise to Release Energy

How to Cope with Your Partner Leaving

I’ve had my share of heart breaks and understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end. It hurts, it really hurts. You feel like it’s the end of the world, and you wonder how you can possibly get over it. You will feel pain and despair, but I promise you, you will get over it. Time is the magic ingredient.

relationship-end-cope.jpg
Photo via Aurora

I will have an in depth article on this topic soon. For now, here are some pointers for those on the receiving end of breakups. These have been helpful for me in the past.

  • Talk With Friends – In verbalizing your thoughts and options, you’ll gain better understanding and perspective.
  • Surround Yourself with Positive Energy – Be surrounded by friends and family. Be around happy and optimistic people. Be around people you like. Be around people who can make you laugh.
  • Love Yourself – Spend time inwards with loving yourself. Doing things to appreciate and love yourself will help you gain the self confidence and independence you need to heal. When was the last time you really appreciated yourself?
  • It’s Okay to Cry – In fact, I recommend it. Express the pain and let it all out. Don’t hold anything back, cry fully. Letting it out will be liberating for your being. It’s okay to cry.
  • Find the Lesson – What did you learn through this relationship? I’m a big believer that good can come out of every situation, even ones we’ve perceived as bad. Focus on what you’ve gained in life lessons that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
  • Fully Experiencing the Pain – When pain strikes, our instinct is to avoid it. We distract ourselves with other tasks while suppressing the pain. This doesn’t actually make the pain go away. “What we resist, persists.” The best way to deal with the pain is by fully facing it. Closing your eyes, fully experience that feeling of sharp pain within your being, and become the observer of that pain within you. Separate the observer from the pain.
  • Gratitude Visualization – Put your hands on your heart and gently shut your eyes. Visualize all the things, experiences, and people that you are thankful for. If you are visualizing a person, see their face smiling at you with joy and kindness. Give thanks for all the things we take for granted, parts of our body, the things we enjoy about our jobs, people who love us. Give thanks to your heart, which works continuously, without which we wouldn’t be here. Give thanks to our safe homes, the abundance of food, and clothing to keep us warm. Give thanks to people who have been kind to us. Give thanks to authors who have inspired us. Gratitude puts you in a state of love, acceptance and understanding.
  • Benefits to Me? – Focus on how this new situation can help you. Maybe you will now have the free time to pursue something that’s important to you. Maybe you can gain the independence and freedom you’ve wanted to experience for yourself.
  • Time Heals – After the initial shock has sunk in and you’ve had plenty of communication with your ex, take time to be separated from your ex partner. It’s hard to gain clarity, perspectives and independence while being reminded of them constantly. I recommend taking a few weeks to be apart: no meeting, no emails, no phone calls. With time, you will heal.
  • Silence Heals – Sit silently and observe your emotions and thoughts. Have a journal and pen at your side. When you have a realization, write it down in your journal. Use journaling as a tool to help you sort out your thoughts. It has the power to help you gain clarity.

 

* How have you handled breakups in the past? How would you do it differently if given the chance? Got tips for coping with breakups from the receiving end?  Share your voice in the comments below. Let’s make this a collective learning experience. Thank you for sharing this moment with me.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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255 thoughts on How to End a Relationship

  1. same story guys,just friendship i am not sure what i have done,but i awlays use to tease her ,we ware very happy we used to talked hours and hours daily and expressing our feelings and thought,we also have talkd about our marrieage and what type of partner you want,the situation is like without phone we cannot sleep,but suddenly one da i heared that i am not good enough,she blame me for bad behaviour. i am really telling that i have never think like…

    i was shocked to hear that, many time i tried to continue the friendship but she denied…..

    i am in great tension now why these types of behavier done by human being……

  2. Sarah

    I feel like i need to break up with my boyfriend. I have bin with him a year and he has bin there for me in very bad times and i feel like i need him, but he has done wrong more than six times to me, but i just keep taking him back. I have tried to finish with him plently of times but i just dont feel strong enough, and i always think he is going to change but everytime im wrong about him but keep beleiving he will change, i have lost my friends because he wont let me see them no more, all my family dont like him. I just need some help or something to get over him. Please help me. Sarah.

  3. Betty

    You know I broke up with my ex and I look at the lost love like a greiving process I must go through. I imagined that he died and I will never see him again. The keeping in touch “thing” doesn’t work for me because I have to separate my self from him entirely so I can heal from the broken relationship. I am totally self-absorbed right now but I need to focus on loving myselft so I can move on. Your writings are indeed inspirational and strenghtening. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. Tina, i found your information so insightful. But love is not only a treasure for the young. I’m 58 yrs. old and feel like 30. Health issues robbed me of a good 10 yrs. of my life, but are mostly resolved now so I want to make up for lost time. I’ve been married twice; first too young to a control freak then to a man younger than me that I was deeply in love with who, after 10 years he had a melt-down about his life and unceremoniously, with no warning or discussion told me he didn’t love me, he didn’t want to be with me and wanted a divorce. I was devastasted. It took me years to get over the pain and betrayal. I began looking for another man, one to validate me as a woman. I met someone and we’ve dated for more than a year. In that time I’ve learned a lot about myself – I enjoy my alone time, my freedom, the ability to investigate opportunities. I just want to be who I am without justifying it for anyone. My friend is a very nice man but I’m moving forward and want to explore life and my life. I want to break up, but I’d still like to be friends.
    I still would like to meet someone I could fall in love with – it’s never too late, and if it is, then I want to enjoy being with myself and just making new friends.
    I have such a better understanding of how to end this relationship, thank you for sharing your thoughtfulness. kzp

  5. Giroven

    I’ve been thinking hard about my current relationship since it began. Sadly, that was only about two weeks ago. At first it was great. I felt quite happy. But now I have this nagging feeling in my gut, telling me that it’s not working. My intuition is something I usually trust, because it seldom leads me wrong. Besides that, I feel like I hardly know her. She doesn’t really talk to me as much as I’d like, and I told her so, but she just said it was because she’s really tired from college. Nothing has changed since then. If anything, she talks to me even less now. The one thing she does tell me is that she’s extremely happy to be with me. This is what makes it so painful to say I don’t want to date her anymore. I don’t want to string her along any more than necessary, but I’m terrified of hurting her.

    I’ve talked to a few friends about it and got advice from them, but I thought I should get advice from an outside source. So I found your article, and it has made me feel slightly better. Unfortunately, I’m still worried. I can’t seem to find the most important reason for wanting to end it. There’s lack of communication, which can change; distance, which can also change and was never a problem for me in the past; and the rapid fading of the initial passion of a relationship on my end. Perhaps I’m not finding the true reason because I refuse to accept it. I keep assuring myself that it has nothing to do with the difference in skin color, because I’m not racist by any means. Yet it may be a contributing factor, as I’ve never so much as had a black friend. It’s like I’m diving headfirst into unknown waters without testing the water or checking for rocks. Of course, I feel like a complete jerk when I say that, but I’m trying to be honest.

    I’m set on ending this relationship, but I don’t want to mess this up. I want to find the right time and the best way to do it, but I only know one of those now. So when should I do it? Should I wait until her excitement has faded a bit so it’s less painful? End it now before it can get worse?

    Oh, and there’s one more problem…recovery. When we started this relationship (which was my idea in the first place), she wasn’t entirely certain that she’d recovered from being dumped by her last boyfriend. In fact, she was almost certain she would never have another romantic relationship. Then she wound up with me before she even knew what was going on, and she found that she enjoyed it. I was in exactly the same situation when I told her that I really liked her. My point here is that if I end it now, she may decide that love is not worth the pain that is sure to follow. So I might be destroying her love life permanently. If not that, then any relationships in her future could be tainted by a pessimistic certainty that something so good can’t last.

    Any further advice on this matter would be much appreciated. If it changes anything, I’m 18 years old.

  6. Coherent

    Giroven:
    This sounds like a really bad situation. So you were basically a rebound relationship for her, but now you don’t think she’s right for you, even though you initiated the relationship? It sounds like you made a serious mistake, and yes, it seems more than a bit like you’ve exploited her and now you’re abandoning her.

    That said, it’s best that it be done gently but conclusively. Simply tell her that you think it’s been too intense, and the intensity has masked some serious problems in the relationship that you don’t think will improve with time.

    Whatever your reasons, you have to be sure of them, you have to examine them carefully and precisely and know for absolutely sure that they are critical and important to you.
    When you say “It’s like I’m diving headfirst into unknown waters without testing the water or checking for rocks.” it really destroys your case. Leaving a relationship because of uncertainty is for pussies who are afraid of the unknown. Fear is a damn crappy reason to leave someone, and you’re less of a man if that’s your motivation.

    Actually, that brings up a tactic you might use with her. Simply cite the maturity difference, and let her know that at 18, you’re not adult enough to make the right decisions. No relationship lasts when you’re that young, it’s practically a cliche.

    It’s far, far better to end it sooner than later, though. If you’re going to break up with her, do it with the utmost respect, honor, and attention to her dignity. Be a man, and not a boy.

  7. Giroven

    Coherent:
    It wasn’t nearly as bad as you make it sound. We actually agreed on the relationship, but I was the one who suggested it. And she was just as much a rebound for me as I was for her.

    As for the “maturity difference”, we are the same age, and I would argue that 18 is quite old enough to make the right decisions. Still, as with any other age group, the number of decisions that look right at first and end up going wrong is depressingly high. Relationships among younger people are also capable of lasting. My sister, for example, has the most perfect relationship I’ve ever seen. They simply fit. They are now 19 years old, and they’ve been together for a long time. Granted, such things are rare. But so are happy, lasting relationships among adults. Look up the divorce rates sometime.

    Fear for myself wasn’t nearly as important to me as fear for her, and fear for myself was low anyway. I was just trying to explain the entire situation, large and small. It’s a habit of mine.

    All that aside, the relationship ended a week ago. All my terror of hurting her was unnecessary. She took it surprisingly well. In fact, she had seen it coming. It’s rather ridiculous…but she almost wound up comforting me. Seems a little backwards. But that’s just who she is. She and I are still friends, and there are no hard feelings between us. The original agreement was just to try a relationship and see what happened, so it’s not like I broke any promises.

    Thanks for the advice, and I’ll take the bashes with it, even though they mean nothing. Cheerio.

  8. Coherent

    Your statements seem a bit naive, although that’s not a knock on you, it’s just experience talking. If everything is as you say, then I’m happy for you, it’s really great that the both of you are taking it so well. Perhaps she wasn’t as engaged emotionally as you thought, so all is well that ends well, right?

    The youth thing is also from experience, I’m not just talking about mine, but my friends and in general, 18 year olds don’t tend to form lasting romantic interactions. I don’t suppose this is bad, this is just the way things are.

  9. Laura

    Hello,

    I came across your page by chance. I have had feelings or questions in my mind lately surrounding my relationship with my boyfriend. We had been together for a year and a half, and I was starting to feel like he was taking me for granted. Things that I in the past would have thought I wouldn’t put up with, I was suddenly putting up with for the sake of ‘keeping him happy’. Only in the past few months did I start to question things. People always said we were a perfect couple. But, I began to wonder, was I still in this relationship because I was truly happy or because I was more scared of being alone? Finally, after a few weeks of petty or drunken arguments, I became emotional one night at his simple desire to change plans last minute. Something that shouldn’t just upset someone. I told him we needed to talk.

    After questioning him about our relationship. I asked, what about me makes me special to you or different from your past relationships? His silence spoke volumes to me. It made my fears come to light, I was worried he only was in the relationship because he was comfortable and that he had fun with me, but that I was not the right person for him since some of the petty fights stemmed from him not being willing to ensure my happiness.

    I probably do not make much sense right now. My eyes are tearing up, this literally just happened hours ago. As we continued our talk, I told him I had recently questioned if I was still in the relationship because I was in love or just because I was scared of being alone. He seemed somewhat relieved to hear that, but of course, I am still hurt. Not to mention this is my first serious relationship but we also work together. I also find it very hard because I adore his entire family and my family loves him. I think that might be another reason I held on, hoping that he would eventually change and realize how valuable and amazing I am and that we would live happily ever after…cheesy, I know.

    Anyways, we sat there for an hour. Just crying. He didn’t plan on breaking up with me. But, he said there were questions in his mind. He said he is in love with me, loves me, and I am a great person but doesn’t feel like he could put more in the relationship. He felt like there were certain things he couldn’t compromise on. Do you believe this could be true? Or him just trying to make me feel less pain? I just wish he would have communicated with me all along, but I guess I wasn’t completely open with my wavering questions the past few months. Anyways, we kept just staring at each other asking one another what the other wanted to do. Now this part really hurts me. If he had these doubts, was he really considering letting this go and us working on our relationship? It would have been even worse if he didn’t open up to me tonight and kept this going for months or years longer. I wouldn’t want to end up finding out his questions/feelings even later than I had. But, I told him I was asking him. He decided we should do like a band aid and rip it off. Even though I agree, I still hate it. I really do, because what if in a few weeks time he changes his mind? How do I handle that situation?

    I guess what hurts the most is we both work together and have the same small group of friends. He was/is my best friend and I am/was his. I know deep down we don’t want to lose each other. but, I do not know how to begin to heal. Honestly, the last few weeks have felt more like an awesome friendship with normal friendship tiffs than a real boyfriend girlfriend situation, but we both kept trucking along. I am glad to read your article, and I really hope it helps me for my future and leads me down the path I was meant to follow. I just keep getting scared hoping I do not end up alone. He was my first boyfriend, and I had to do a lot of relationship initiating. It worries me.

    Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for your post. and If you or viewers see my comment and have any advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated. Especially on how to become friends later on. How long until we can attempt that? I always assumed after a relationship I would never be friends with the other person, but I literally feel like we were best friends who just didn’t want to be alone so we kept in a relationship.

    Thanks,
    Laura

  10. Dawn

    Laura,
    I applaud you for your strength, a lot of people wouldn’t have been strong enough to do what you did. This is how people end up 10,20,30 years stuck in a marriage or relationship where one or the other or both is unhappy. I was married for 10 years to a great guy. But it felt like we were brother and sister. He was like a best friend to me. I adored his family. Really, I adored him too. But I was not getting what I needed from the marriage. He was happy to walk in the door and go straight to his shop to work on his guns. He seemed grumpy and unsatisfied most of the time. So I left. We have spoken on and off for the past 6 years. Unfortunately, we cannot seem to be friends. He, however, is great friends with all of his other ex’s. He will talk to them regularly. But I still have a lot of anger that we were married and he just was not as involved in the marriage as I wanted him to be. There was no real interest on his part to do the things that mattered to me. We would have stayed married forever but it was totally on his terms as to what he would give in the marriage. A simple request to take a walk in a park was meant with “I walk all day long at work”. A request to drive an hour to go to a nice restaurant for our ten year anniversary was met with “We can eat somewhere here I am too busy.” So you see you were very brave to state what you needed now as opposed to waiting 10 years for what you want and not getting it. If you can remain friends that is great. But I guess that is dependent on each individual. For me unfortunately it is just not possible as he is now in a relationship and has been in a relationship with a woman that he does all the things I wanted him to do with me. He has been to Hawaii and is going again, even to Australia. So I guess I was not the person he needed either. The communication that we had is gone. And I am sure it is caused by my resentment to see that this man can actually do all of these things, just with someone else.It is also caused by the fact that I did truly love him with all of my heart. But it is not a totally sad story because I did end up with a great guy. Someone who is my best friend. Someone who will drop anything to go do something with me. Someone who is always there with a smile. So hang in there your person that you are meant to be with may just be around the corner. And it will be great!

  11. Anon

    ITT (In This Thread): People who over-think themselves right out of a great relationship.

    Getting into a relationship with someone is like climbing a mountain together. There’s only one direction anyone wants to go, and that’s up. There are a lot of different paths, but they all lead to the same place… the top of the mountain! Once you’re committed together, you’re standing at the pinnacle of affection, and there’s nowhere left for the relationship to go.

    But some people like climbing so much that even after they reach the ultimate stage, they demand that their partner still pursue them. They demand that he or she keep climbing even though there’s nowhere to climb to.

    These people are in love with the process of being pursued, not the result! They want to feel special all the time, and they want their partner to make them feel that way, or they don’t feel the relationship is giving them what they want.

    These are the people who end the relationship because they feel their partner is taking them for granted. It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re being taken for granted. But you need to consider the other side of the question: are you taking your partner for granted as well?

    If you break up with them accidentally, but you still feel like someone ripped a huge chunk out of your heart, it may be that you were actually taking _them_ for granted all along! That would be what we call a bad decision… over-thinking yourself right out of a great relationship.

  12. @ anon

    Wouldn’t life just be ever the fairy tale if you could walk that mountain together holding hands walking through daisies.
    The simple truth is that sometimes relationships work and sometimes they don’t. There are other things that can play into a break-up kids, money, drugs, any number of things. I don’t think anyone ever goes into a relationship with the idea that it will fail. And if a person feels like a huge chunk was ripped out of their heart it could just be that the person actually loved that person and couldn’t find a way to fix things.And yes people will make mistakes. That is called being human and having a heart.

  13. Anon

    “could just be that the person actually loved that person and couldn’t find a way to fix things”

    But what is love? Is it still love if you make the decision to stop loving that person? Because that’s the end result – as time goes by, feelings will fade. When you break up, it is an ending, make no mistake about that.

    What I’m arguing for is introspection and self-honesty. Simply make absolutely sure that’s what you want before you break up, and make sure there are real, tangible reasons, not just a vague feeling of dissatisfaction.

    I’ve been with my man for twelve years now, and sure I’ve been dissatisfied with him on and off during that time. But we’re still together because I’ve realized you really do get what you give. We’re in it together.

  14. Laura

    Thanks, Dawn for your comments and sharing your story as well. I am confused and I expected that. It was my first real relationship and the first person I ever said I love you to.

    Not to mention we work together. I do not know if I should just handle anything that requires his department by email or in person/phone. Honestly, today, I feel like I could go up and talk to him but that if I had to explain to someone about us breaking up that I might begin to cry.

    Tonight is our company holiday party, I have asked him not to go since alcohol always manages to bring out more emotions. He said he wanted to go but he understood and would skip it.

    As for ANON… I finally told my roommate about it last night. My roommate is a guy and my ex is our mutual friend. My roommate, Nick, was shocked. He asked me if it was just a break and I told him that it was the end of the relationship because I think that breaks end up hurting parties even further because one person will hold out hope that the other will change their mind. Anyways, Nick said that maybe my ex isn’t mature enough now to give me all the things I deserve and make sacrifices for me, not big ones, but stupid ones that caused our petty fights. Nick thinks he could see us 6 months to a year down the line realizing that we were meant to be together and reconciling. But, I don’t know if I see it this way.

    The thing that really worries me is his lack of communication. Not only with me but with his family and friends. In any relationship, he seems to only want it on his terms. He calls his friends back only IF and WHEN he feels like it, and same goes for his family. I wonder if he could have social anxiety issues or if I am way off line. I contemplate telling his oldest sister, just because I am worried about him. And the both of us went through a break earlier this year because he was scared of commitment and sad that he wasn’t able to make himself be the ‘perfect boyfriend that I deserved’ — his words. I just know his lack of communication to others is a problem in his life. I worry about him without me, becoming more introverted and his lack of ambition for things in life. I doubt his family will even find out until they prompt him for how I am, that’s just his style. But, when we were together we shared a lot with each other — but apparently not enough.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on me contacting his sister? I don’t want to put her in the middle of it, but I do want to make her aware that he is bottling up his emotions and this is not healthy. I think if he would have talked to me or someone about this prior to the other night, it would be a different result. But, who knows.

    Any opinions and/or advice on this or my original post are much appreciated. I know ultimately, I have to decide on my own, but I do not want to cause more harm in the meantime.

    Thanks,
    Laura

  15. D

    I wasn’t really expecting anything I found online to help, but this was great. Thanks for your help!

  16. Ridhima

    Thanks to this wonderful article .I could relate to it so much as i am going through a similar situation …

  17. Wow – what a great post. I just stumbled across this and everything resonates so very clearly having gone through a divorce two years ago.

    The themes of not classifying a breakup as failure and not sinking into remorse and guilt are particularly personal for me, and I’ve struggled with the guilt issue for most of those past two years.

    Everything you said has also rung true in my reflections and growth lessons learned. Sometimes giving up is winning. Sometimes being the one to acknowledge what both are thinking is selfless. Sometimes people just change and going separate ways to create an opportunity for two happy lives, is more evolved than staying in one unhappy life because “it’s what people do”.

    The challenge, at least as I found, isn’t in realizing all this – but in actually believing it and integrating it into how you feel. I accepted intellectually that my divorce wasn’t my fault, but it’s taken the better part of two years to get to where I not only believe those words, but understand why they are true. So for me, the genius of your post was the “how to cope” section.

    Finally – I would echo many of the other commentators in saying Thank You for being honest. It can be hard to broach private topics online in a manner that is insightful and real without being maudlin.

    Thanks again and good luck to you.

  18. Fig816

    I think that the most ridiculous line heard from a woman after they break up with a man is, “We can still be good friends”. Why would a man want to remain friends with a person who’s true qualities have just been displayed to them. Those qualities include deception, and the willingness to just give up. Personally I don’t want any people in my life with either one of those character flaws, let alone have one as a “Good Friend”.

    Remember, if you are not willing to put in the hard work that real love requires, then don’t say it! Yes, love is very hard at times, but it’s the hard that makes it so worth while!!!!

  19. Kirsty

    I think this post is extremly helpful and i found that it helps with many aspects of peoples lives and not just relationships :) Thank you

  20. JP

    I have been with my husband for 10 years, we are now going through a divorce, because I thought the grass was greener on the other side. I hurt so bad though. I have tried to let go of this guy I have been seeing, but he just won’t let it go. Then he will turn around and say the meanest things and knows just how to pull on my heart strings and I feel that little bit of hurt and I go running back. I just can’t keep up the strength to end it for good. I won’t talk to him for a few days and then he will call or show up somewhere. I just don’t know how to end this for good. So confused and scared to feel the pain.

  21. LB

    What you wrote Tina has helped me so much! I was on the receiving end of a relationship with a woman that I love so much. I’ve really been hurting the past month. She ignores me now and I don’t even try to contact her now. What bothers me the most is this woman always told me she loved me and at one time even tried to pressure me into moving in with her. Marriage was discussed too, but now she won’t even speak, just to say how are you or are you ok? This hurts. I found out that during short periods when we would go a day or two without talking that she was trying to get in touch with old boyfriends instead of trying to work things out with me. Once I was getting ready to leave to go to her house for the weekend when she text and said don’t come tonight, I need to decide what I want to do. I didn’t hear from her for a week and she told me she had spent the time with her ex fiancee who was recently separated from his wife. She admitted sleeping with him and said she wanted me, not him. I forgave her because I loved her and know that anyone can make mistakes. Things were ok for awhile but she was never willing to forgive me for anything like saying something when I was mad but I never cheated on her and I can’t even imagine being with another woman right now. If I had to bet I would say she’s already involved with someone else. I do have a heart and I’m glad I do! Some days I’m ok and some days I can’t get her off my mind. I’m not going to try and contact her anymore, it would do no good. I’ve read lot’s of articles and this one was the best! Now, I need to get on with my life and do some of the things that she kept me from doing.

  22. Sarah

    Hello Tina

    Many thanks for the article. You speak so much sense. I have recently been in a similar situation, but the thing that really made sense to me, and my feelings, was your point about giving your partner time to talk, with understanding and love.
    I am enduring the second time that I have been rejected by the same person, who had re-instigated the latest relationship, because I am apparently the love of his life. This second time I am again in the same situation as before – having the door slammed in my face, once again, no course for stating my feelings and thoughts without being met by anger and sheer unpleasantness.
    It is reassuring for me to find that my requirements are normal, not to mention valid. I was beginning to wonder if I was being unreasonable.

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