All relationships have a shelf life. Navigating the ending is the hardest part.
"Experience is the toughest teacher because she gives you the test first, then the lesson." ~ Anonymous
I spoke with a client this morning who is suffering a devastating breakup. I couldn't help but to feel for her. The breakup was inevitable, but she had been hoping in the lack of any evidence that things would somehow work out. We talked about how falling in love is often the natural and easy part. You meet someone, and you share this intense chemistry. This person is unlike anyone you've ever met before. Spending time with them is something that provides a childlike surge of excitement. You immediately share a playful and flirtatious banter. Then comes the kiss and the fireworks. The sex is synchronized, harmonic, and off the charts passionate and... in you dive.
At first it seems like everything is in sync, but as humans, we evolve. Our perspectives, values, and behaviors change over time, which, in turn, affects our partners. Its how couples address the changes and work through them. It's natural and healthy to change, both as an individual and as a couple, but change can feel threatening in a relationship. When one partner changes and the other feels threatened, its probably wise to sit down and talk to someone who can help you healthily navigate this - sooner rather than later.
But is this person right for you? How could they not be? Remember all that heat and passion we talked about earlier?
Love is far more complicated and we, not matter how old, are far too naive.
All relationships have a shelf life. It doesn't mean all relationships end, but when they do, it's often excruciating for the partner who didn't decide to end the relationship. And especially if the relationship ended without the love and respect, it deserved. The devastation will inevitably cause emotional trauma, and if left unaddressed, can paralyze you for years from creating a life you deserve. You owe it to yourself to pave a new way forward.
IT'S OVER - It's common for relationships to have a little back and forth. It's also common to believe the relationship isn't over and that the person doing the breaking up is just taking some time to "sort through their feelings." Or that they will come back and tell you all they found was heartbreak and misery. It is unlikely the case in most instances. It's important to ask yourself a few questions here. Do you want someone who doesn't stay and struggle through the complicated stuff with you? Do you want someone who isn't sure, so they leave and hurt you so they can take the time to figure it out? Do you want someone who isn't sure who or what they want? Know this; you deserve better! You deserve someone who will move mountains for the love you share.
DON'T OVER ANALYZE IT - There is no way, humanly possible, to get inside your partner's mind to understand with any precision as to why they did what they did. In an ideal world, the person who's decided to end the relationship is articulate, open, and honest about what he or she is feeling no matter how painful it is. It's often not the case. He or she may not be able to articulate their real feelings. And maybe they know what it is, but they cut and run because they know the truth would only hurt you. Know that this is not about you. The need to understand your partner's decision only serves as a roadblock. You do not need any other explanation or further conversation. It is unlikely to help you with the real challenge, which is accepting it.
THIS PERSON IS NOT YOUR PERSON - This isn't to say you didn't share a deep and beautiful connection. However, there was a time that shifted, and you were either unaware or unwilling to accept it. Anyone who can experience you, the way they experienced you, for as long as they have experienced you and hurt you this way, IS NOT your person. It's understandable when you love someone and feel deeply connected to them to want to give them another try to see if "maybe this time," things will work out the way you want them to. Know this; it is critical to your emotional well being to be honest with yourself and accept what is and stop fighting for how you want things to be when a person isn't right for you.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS - They will choose sides. It's not personal; it just is. It's wise you take care to make a few choices of your own. If you wish to remain in contact with a family member, it's best not to discuss your partner. The same goes for friends. You will need a small tribe of uplifting people to help you navigate now more than ever!
YOU ARE BROKEN UP...PERIOD - It's time to delete the playlist of love songs he sent you, get rid of the lingerie, delete all communication between the two of you, get rid of any gifts, or anything else that might provoke painful thoughts or keep you disillusioned. Don't reach out or look for ways to run into them. Don't reach out to family members or friends as a means to say connected. I realize this is all easier said than done, but any deviation is a road that leads directly back to more of the same old pain and heartache. On the flip side, when you catch your partner sitting outside of your office hoping to get a glimpse of you, reaches out with a funny story a mutual friend told him/her about your brother, or texts, emails, or calls, understand the old song is true. Breaking up is hard to do!!! Your partner is often just trying to see if the door is still open for more of the same. He/she isn't offering you anything new. Don't allow yourself to be confused or hurt anymore. Slam the door shut, then take a hammer and nails and permanently close that door! Trust me; if he's changed his mind and is serious about wanting to work through things with you, he will send a clear and strong message you won't miss. Unless and until that happens, decline any invitation to revisit things. Here are the firm rules: BLOCK, DELETE, AND DON'T ANSWER. It's not okay to just hurt you.
CREATE A SELF-CARE PLAN - This is perhaps the most critical part of the process. Understand that you will go through a grieving phase where things are likely to be dark and difficult. You may feel messy and a little crazy. You may have waves when suddenly, and out of no where, your mind and heart begin to race and you might spontaneously burst into tears. The waves will seem 80 feet tall at first, and every second of every minute of every GOD damn day may be excruciating. Know this; it will get easier and that it's all part of the natural process - allow and embrace it. However, creating a plan to nurture yourself through this time can be a game-changer. Work-out, eat right, avoid alcohol, dress well, get a massage, connect with close friends, and get out and experience new things. Just this plan alone can reduce the amount of time you spend suffering.
YOU WILL LOVE AGAIN - At this point, we've already established that ending a relationship can be soul-crushing. When you are in the throws of the pain, it's reasonable to think you'll never find love again or that it'll never feel that way again. That is until someone special comes into your life. You feel a spark, then a tingle, and before you know it, fireworks. Remember, your last relationship wasn't right for you, but there is someone out there. He is someone you can hold hands with, dance with, laugh with, make love to, fall asleep in the arms of, and be happy with. You need only be open to it. So, be open to it!
In summation, relationships are sometimes beautiful and sometimes devastating. If you're in the right one, cherish it and work at it. If you're in one that's reached its expiration date and don't know how to end it, consider seeking help. Don't try to go at it alone. Relationships are complicated and often require a great deal of soul searching. It helps to have a partner on this journey!
I wish you the best of all this world can give,