When you’re contemplating ending a relationship, even one that’s not right for you, there will be difficult emotions you’ll have to deal with, and that’s perfectly ok. You’ve got to understand that sometimes, it’s hard but that doesn’t make it not right. Take away every justification, denial or explanation, and at the end of it, you’ll still have an unhealthy relationship. Find every ounce of inner strength you have and just move on. Honestly, if you’re short on time, and this is all you can read, i’ll be happy. Granted we all live and make mistakes, but it’s not worth making the same mistake over and over again, right? When i was going through my rather long winded break up with the ex (known as the Manboy), i struggled to deal with the fear, guilt and many other emotions, that effectively stopped me from doing what’s right for me.
That said, there are some things that you can do to make it a little easier..
Do NOT engage with them. Don’t seek their validation or approval of your decision to break up. It won’t come and it doesn’t matter. If you’ve decided to end a relationship, it’s done. Whatever reasons you have are yours. People who are stuck in unhealthy relationships will find it particularly hard to let go. It doesn’t help that often the other party will try to rationalise the situation. I can’t tell you how important it is to understand that if you listen to nonsense, they will go back to default and you’ll be back to square one.
Stop feeling guilty. I think this is a big one for most people. You may feel like you’re doing something wrong. You start to question your own moral standards. Quite often, we get mixed up between being selfish and acting in one’s own best interests. Yes, there’s a difference between the two. Don’t expect them to make it easy for you. If someone continues to step on your boundaries, keeps pulling a short switch i.e temporarily act all different and then dish out the same old rubbish behaviour, then they don’t deserve another chance. You need to end it right there or it won’t stop. It helps to understand why you are feeling guilty. We feel helpless, it feels wrong to stay and it feels wrong to go. Many times, it’s because we have a pattern of over extending ourselves to please other people, that we forget how it’s making us feel. In fact, if anything it’s not right to carry on a relationship, when you know that it’s not good outcome for you or for that matter, them. Yes, it can be painful but that’s no reason to not do it.
An important reason why people find it difficult to end a relationship is because often people have layers to them. It’s not all black or white, they may have certain redeeming qualities to them. They may be nice overall to other people in their life. They may have started out saying or even doing the right things but may have changed tracks half way. Maybe it started out being the right relationship and then things fell apart for whatever reason. That doesn’t change the fact that whatever you have, is not working. Within the context of a relationship, you can only judge someone based on how they make you feel. Nothing else matters.
Sometimes, there was never a proper relationship to start with ( or at least it din’t have the characteristics of one), and you think ending it isn’t really warranted. Maybe you’d been dating for a while and there wasn’t a strong commitment on one or both sides. I would say that you still need to give yourself closure.
In my own experience, taking the first step is the most difficult thing to do. The key is to not try to reach out to them, especially right after the breakup. It can be painful but it’s like an open wound. The more you keep picking at the scabs i.e engage with them, the longer it will take for the wound to heal. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is manipulative (and most people with personality disorders are), they may even guilt trip you into staying in the relationship. You may have to put up with a lot of resistance from them.
Emotionally immature people often lack empathy and concern for other people. The fact that you are struggling means nothing to them. They just want to be able to control the relationship on their terms and yes, that means if they’re not ready, then it cannot end. They will do whatever it takes, be directly abusive or passive aggressive if need be. In rare moments of clarity, they may even understand that it’s best to end things but their insecurity coupled with the lack of guts will ensure that they don’t. In such instances, they may push you to take a call, so that at least outwardly they can’t be blamed. They will try to do this by pushing your buttons and breaking your personal boundaries. This can cause our self esteem to plummet, and it’s actually a form of mental torture. This is why you need to break the cycle and act in your best interests.
Understand that their behaviour is not about you. They will not fall apart without you. In fact many of these people move on to another unsuspecting person soon as they’re left alone. This is due to the fact that they need someone to engage with in order to carry on the crazy making. At a core level, emotionally immature people are somewhat aware of what is up with them (although they lack the ability to reflect upon or try to understand it) and it petrifies them. So they need to go round and round in their merry ways because stopping, and being on their own would actually mean having to face their emotions.
Don’t fear being on your own. Sometimes fear really gets us, we may never really have been single, we may have friends who got married and settled down. It can be a daunting thing. We start to think they’re our last resort. We doubt whether we have the time to meet someone and pursue another relationship so may as well make the best of it. Yes it’s scary but what’s scarier is being in an unhealthy relationship, not knowing where or what it may lead to. Ask yourself, what is so bad about being on your own. I mean does everything about you have to hinge on finding someone to be in a relationship with?
Even if we do manage to take the decision to be single, it is not going to easy. But it will get better with time and it will make you stronger. There will be a constant pull to go back to them and maintain the uncomfortable yet familiar status quo. But if you give it to the temptation, it’s going to put you in another crazy roller coaster ride. Just be confident with what you decide, and don’t let the fear get to you.
A lot of people in this situation also start dating on the side, in the hope of finding someone more compatible. In our heart of hearts, we know if it’s not working with the person we’re in a relationship with but we’re too scared to leave. That mixed with fear means that we remain stuck in that situation. We hope that by finding someone new, we can slowly transition into a better relationship. It might start out well but the guilt will get to you eventually. It just ends up complicating things and ruins your peace of mind. For this reason, it’s best to avoid dating till you are well and truly single.
It’s about trusting yourself and understanding that sometimes ending a relationship is the best thing we can do for ourselves. It means that we are choosing to live in line with our own values. It means we give ourselves a chance at true happiness that is independent of anyone else, even if that very thing causes us heartache in the short term. It means that we will be more than ok in the long run, and that’s what ultimately matters.