The saying “breaking up is hard to do” is more than a cliched rock-and-roll lyric. No matter the reason, choosing to end a relationship is hard enough on its own. However, it is your ability to handle that decision, and the actions that follow it, with maturity and grace that set you up for successful relationships in the future. Here are four tips for handling a breakup with grace.
Tip 1: Realize that All Relationships are Different
Every relationship, and every person in a relationship, is different. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to breaking up. This is why it is important to take the particulars of your relationship into account before deciding on what to do next.
Dramatic breakups may make good television and movie plots, but they seldom work in real life. Instead, figure out how you (and the other person) define your “relationship.” Have you gone on a few dates or have you been a couple for years? These elements dictate the level of detail and strategy you need when approaching a breakup. Sending an email to a guy you met online and saw twice is acceptable. Emailing your boyfriend of two years is not. [Related: Understanding When Divorce is Really the Best Option]
Tip 2: Take the High Road
There are a lot of reasons that relationships don’t work out, but trying to blame someone for them is an exercise in futility. If you are truly done with a relationship, it makes no sense to try to pin the problems that led to your breakup onto the other person. In other words, the “if you did this, things would have been different” conversation is not helpful at this point.
Similarly, keep your feelings about the relationship to yourself and your intimates. Avoid rumors, online posts, and other outlets to discredit your ex. Not only is this the opposite of grace and maturity, it says a lot more about you than it does about him. [Video: How to Argue Less and Prevent Escalation]
Tip 3: Focus on Yourself
After breaking off a relationship, particularly a long term one, taking time to be single is important. Do not jump into another relationship, no matter how tempting it may seem. Regardless of how “right” you and this new person are for one another, you need to take time to heal and reassess yourself before moving on to a new relationship.
Try new things, push the limits of your comfort zone, and take time to reflect on yourself and your role in your now-defunct relationship. By looking inward you not only give yourself space, but you take the time to mature even more and enter your next relationship with renewed perspective and, hopefully, more success.
Tip 4: Practice Forgiveness
No matter what events led to the end of your relationship, you need to learn to forgive, both yourself and your ex, for what took place if you want to move on. This does not mean you need to condone what happened, particularly if cheating or abuse was involved, but it does mean that you take the time to acknowledge what took place and move on from it. This process of casting out the negativity will allow you to approach new relationships with a better attitude as well as continue to deal with your ex (if need be) without the risk of reopening old wounds. [Related: How to Get Through a Bad Breakup]
Moving on Gracefully
Exercising self-control through the end of a relationship (i.e. responding with grace and maturity) is not only the “right” way to break up, but also an important step in moving on. When you approach the end of one of life’s cycles, in this case a relationship, with grace, you open yourself up to the beginning of life’s next cycle with a better perspective and an open heart. Indeed, the key to moving on with your life at the end of a relationship is learning to get through it with grace. [Related: How to Find Love Regardless of Your Age]
Work with me during these emotional times and/or if you have trouble breaking up with a particularly abusive partner that you have trouble dealing with. My help is just a click away!