Breaking up is most often not an easy decision, and often it’s accompanied by doubt, fear, and a myriad of emotions. But there are moments in life when you realize that a relationship is not serving its purpose, and it’s causing more pain than joy. It’s essential to evaluate your feelings and experiences, but it’s also helpful to use reason to guide your decision-making process.
So, I’ve constructed a guideline to help you get past the emotional part and into objective analysis about your specific circumstances.
Step-by-Step Reasoning Process for Contemplating a Break-Up:
Let’s start with a heart-to-heart. How are you truly feeling in this relationship? Do you often feel uplifted and content after spending time with your partner, or is there a lingering feeling of being drained, anxious, or upset? Take a moment and really listen to your feelings. You deserve to understand yourself with clarity.
Being in a relationship means having those open and, sometimes, tough conversations. Have you told your partner how you feel? More importantly, do they listen, truly understand, and try to make things better? Remember, a real conversation is a two-way street of speaking up and being heard. You deserve to not just be heard, but to have your concerns addressed as urgently important.
- Core Values and Compatibility:
Every person has their beliefs and principles. Think about what’s essential for you, whether it’s family, career ambitions, or trust. Do you and your partner see eye-to-eye on these? It’s okay to have differences, but some shared core values can make navigating life’s challenges a bit smoother. You deserve a partnership with shared values.
- Weigh the Good vs. the Bad:
Every relationship has its ups and downs, but put things into perspective. Jot down those moments that made you smile, those moments of love and understanding. Now, think about the times you felt hurt or misunderstood. If the scale tips more to the negative side, it may be time for some changes. You deserve more good than bad.
- Visualize the Future:
Picture yourself and your partner a few years down the line. Does that thought bring a smile to your face or a knot in your stomach? Your feelings about the future can say a lot about the present. You deserve a loving future.
- Trust Yourself:
Trust your feelings. They’ve been your guide through so many life decisions, and they’re here for you now. If something doesn’t feel right or if you’re more unhappy than not, listen to that inner voice. Remember, you deserve happiness and peace of mind.
- Seek Counsel:
Chatting with friends or family can offer a fresh perspective. They might see things you’re too close to notice or just lend a listening ear when you need it. If things feel heavy, consider speaking with a professional, someone who can provide guidance without any bias. You deserve support.
Unraveling Aria’s Journey: A Tale of Love, Choices, and Rediscovery
Aria had always been a planner. She loved the mountains and had a penchant for skiing. She would meticulously plan trips, ensuring they were tailored to beginner-friendly conditions her boyfriend, Liam, required. But Liam rarely seemed committed.
Liam would often waste hours on social media, claiming it was work. Habitually arrive late for their important rendez-vous without an apology, yet always with a manufactured excuse. He excluded her from every holiday, family gathering, and public event. To make matters worse, instead of addressing the issue, he’d distract Aria with mundane talks about the weather or some other nonsense aimed at avoiding meaningful conversation.
Aria began to feel an increasing distance between them. He did not have time for her. He was “busy.” Liam never even noticed her emotional absence during intimate moments! And though he was always an outwardly “nice guy,” she stopped feeling honored and appreciated. Instead, she felt used, like when he’d suggest she owed him for favors he did for her when in fact she invested more time, money and energy into the relationship than he did.
Three years in, and the poor communication was evident. He’d habitually keep her on read for an entire day, then respond to her messages or call at inopportune times ensuring they did not connect; and despite validating her concerns, he never intended to change. And then there was the issue with skiing. Aria wanted him to take a course to advance from beginner so they could more deeply enjoy the activity together, but he’d rather rely on her unpaid amateur services rather than invest in advancing his skill with a professional.
Another woman shared text messages she was engaged in with Liam, helping Aria better understand what Liam really meant by “busy.” It was clear: he wasn’t just emotionally confusing, he was pursuing others and he was eerily comfortable with dishonesty.
The final straw came when she asked him a small, but important favor that cost him neither money or effort. He made a flimsy, self-absorbed excuse for why he couldn’t do it for her. “This is not the love I deserve,” she told herself and aside from all the other emotionally exhausting issues, the love she deserved was the anchor of her decision.
It took Aria some weeks to process her decision to break up with Liam. She didn’t want to communicate her decision during a time when she felt like lashing out her disappointment. She waited until she could speak calmly and from a perspective of love. After all, despite her deteriorating satisfaction in the relationship, Liam was a man she shared some critical life moments with.
When Aria was grounded in her decision, she wrote to Liam simply, “I deserve a better relationship than the one we have and so do you.”
Liam’s reply confirmed she made the right decision. In one word echoing his difficulty to engage in meaningful conversation, he responded, “Ditto.”
For Aria, the realization came after much introspection and repeated attempts to communicate her needs. But the heart of the matter is that she did not feel loved, a fact Liam knew, but he did not address with the urgent triage it required.
A lot of people are willing to settle for mediocrity. Aria wasn’t one of those people. “Why be alone in a relationship?” was a question she could not answer for herself.
It’s essential to understand that breaking up doesn’t signify failure but rather PROGRESS because you reached an understanding that you deserve a relationship that better matches your healthy, rational needs.
I truly believe everyone deserves a relationship where they feel valued, heard, and respected. I also believe that the comfort in knowing you “belong” is critical to mental health. If that’s not the case, perhaps it’s time to rethink what purpose the relationship is serving in your life. If you need to stay for practical reasons, perhaps explore other ways to invest in your wellbeing.