I give a lot of airtime to breakups on Blush.
Getting dumped is one of the worst feelings you’ll ever experience – and I want to make sure we all feel supported. But…there’s another kind of a breakup that doesn’t get as much airtime, one that can be just as excruciating.
What happens when you are the one to leave, but you feel absolutely terrible about it?
It can absolutely rip you up inside, knowing you are leaving somebody who is loving, supportive, sweet, and caring. Somebody who is worthy of an amazing relationship. Somebody who you wish nothing but all the happiness in the world. Somebody who you truly wish you loved.
Ugh – now you’re the bad guy. How do you stomach it?
Here are some tips on how to leave a relationship without feeling guilty.
Think about what they deserve
If you actually think pretty highly of the person you are no longer in love with, why would you want to subject them to a loveless relationship?
Thinking things like, “If I could snap my fingers and fall back in love with them, I would” are not as productive as you might think. While your thoughts are sincere, it doesn’t change the fact that your significant other is in a relationship with somebody who does not and will not love them back.
Why would you want that for them?
Every day you spend in a relationship with this person, you are stripping of them of their ability to find love elsewhere. They deserve more than that. Even if they have their faults, they deserve the option to be in a different relationship that is better suited for them. And the longer you spend trying to protect their feelings, the angrier they will be that they didn’t have the chance to move on sooner.
Give them that opportunity and cut them loose. Your guilt might still be profuse, but at least you’ll have the security that they can finally start looking for other options.
You’re being selfish
It’s easy to think of staying in this relationship as a selfless act. You probably envision your significant others’ reaction to the breakup conversation. You imagine the crying and the begging and the look of desperation shooting from their eyes. You think to yourself, I am sparing them from pain. I am protecting their feelings and ensuring that their happiness lasts as long as possible.
But in reality, you’re just being selfish.
You’re actually avoiding a really terrible conversation at all costs. And you are justifying your avoidance by convincing yourself it’s really for them.
Humans are resilient. And while I completely agree that being on the receiving end of a breakup is awful – I also know people get over it. They move on. They learn to live without you. In fact, most of my clients look back on their devastating breakups as one of the better pivotal moments of their lives. If that guy hadn’t left them in that awful way, then they never would have agreed to go out on a date with that guy who really wasn’t their type. And they wouldn’t be getting married in a few weeks.
See what I mean?
People’s stories don’t end and begin with you – but that’s how you are playing this. Have faith that you are not the center of their universe and give them some credit. They have the ability to move on if they are given the chance.
You’re only making it worse by waiting
There will always be a reason to stay.
Holiday season. A birthday. A friend’s wedding. The trip you planned to Colorado that’s finally here. A double date you agreed to.
The list can go on and on. But the longer you wait, the more pissed off your significant other is going to be when it’s finally over. People do not like having their time wasted, and if they find out you’ve been pretending to be in love for the past x months, it’s not going to be pretty. Which, they probably will find out, because people aren’t that stupid.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for all of the issues that could arise. Trust issues could become an issue. If you pretended for so long, how can they trust future partners to be authentic? Unnecessary anger could bubble to the surface. Do you really want this breakup to be an ugly one? There could be a chance for you two to remain friends since you have such a high positive regard for them at the moment. But lying to them for months on end is not how to get things started.
Stop making excuses and do what you need to do. There is NEVER a good time to breakup with somebody – no matter how you look at it, and the longer you wait the worse it will be.
You deserve to be happy, too.
You are not a monster for falling out of love with somebody.
I know this blog probably hasn’t been the easiest to read because I am royally calling you out, and you need that, but you also need to remember that you are still a good egg.
You cannot control how you feel – and like we went over earlier – if you could, you wouldn’t be in this situation. I’m really sorry about that. Hurting somebody you respect and deeply care for feels like nothing short of a stab in the gut. Plus having the knowledge that they actually love you might as well be salt on the wound. But it is what it is. You didn’t decide this. It just happened. And while you can’t control your feelings, you can control your actions.
So do the right thing and let BOTH of you find happiness. You deserve to be in a relationship that doesn’t make you feel like the most rotten person on the face of the earth. The amount of guilt you are carrying around with you daily cannot be good for your health, and you shouldn’t keep torturing yourself. Think about the levity you are going to feel as a single person. This isn’t to say you’re ready to hit the dating scene ASAP – but at least you won’t go to bed at night knowing you’re wasting someone else’s time.
Do what you need to do. Release yourself from an unfulfilling relationship and allow both of you to seek out a better environment for yourselves. After some time, you’ll realize that both of you are much better off.
Need the courage to leave?
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