I don’t think anyone has ever stepped foot in my office and said, “OMG! That break up was SOOOOO FUN!”
Whether you’re the one mustering up the courage and gathering the words to initiate the break up or you’re on the receiving end - it’s just plain difficult.
These moments are dreaded, they’re painful, sometimes we freeze and don’t say a word, other times there is yelling, and almost always there are tears.
Our friends, our family, and most of the messaging we get from pop culture today tells us what break ups should be like. SN: We also receive a lot of messaging about what our relationships should look like, but I will leave that discussion for my Limitless Love Course.
Today I want to share some messages that I think are so important when it comes to ending a romantic relationship.
First of all, YOU DID NOT FAIL. We are hard wired to believe that when relationships don’t work out, we've failed. You are not a failure, your partner is not a failure, and if you take the time to grow and learn from the relationship… it wasn’t a failure either! Relationships are never a waste of time if we are conscious and awake to the rich lessons and growth opportunities that exist within partnership.
I really like the language that Relationship Coach, Whitney Miller, uses when it comes to break ups. She uses the term “transition” because quite honestly, it doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship with this person. We don’t have to pretend that this person you loved fell off the face of the planet. That’s just not real life. It may not be easy, but if you get clear on what you want, with time and awareness, you have the power to co-create whatever relationship dynamic serves the both of you. You can still talk, you can be friends, and you can even hang out (gasp!). This is for you and your former partner to decide what is best.
Sometimes our friends or family will tell us to move on or perhaps even try and make the other person jealous. I believe it’s best when we unsubscribe from “playing games” and acknowledge the fact that we all just want to love and be loved. When we can practice mindfulness, witnessing our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, observing what is coming for us in real time, we are able to get to the root source.
In my coaching and therapy practice one of my favorite exercises to do with clients after a split is to get creative about the optimal situation or circumstances moving forward. If we let go of what society says is acceptable and what your friends and family tell you to do, what is it that you really want? Ideally, how do you imagine this playing out down the road? It's a beautiful question to consider. At the very beginning of a break up it’s easy to slip back into wanting to be with your former partner or perhaps avoid processing the loss altogether. When we’re too connected to fantasies about staying together and we’re maintaining hope for a romantic future, we’re not able to consciously move forward independently; but when you're ready I encourage you to explore some of these questions:
Do you want to maintain a friendship? What could that look like?
Do you need time with out talking? How can you facilitate and honor your healing process?
If you maintain a relationship with this person moving forward how much time do you imagine spending with them?
If an emotionally challenging or activating conversation surfaces, how do you envision the two of you handling that?
And even more importantly, during the transition, what do you want to be doing? What are you up to? Any new activities? New friends?
Get clear on how you want to move forward and take your time to fully heal. It can be a beautiful practice to envision your hopes for a healthy and heart centered transition. Spend some time exploring your truth - what did you want from the relationship, what did you get and what was missing, and most importantly - what emotions are surfacing for you now?
When it comes to our emotions after the end of a relationship we may have fear that we will never love again or feel this way about someone again. We may be feeling pain because we’re still in love with our partner or experiencing feelings of confusion about the ending. There may be jealousy about your ex being with someone else. You may even feel betrayed because you were lied to or blindsided . As humans we are masterful story tellers and we will find every reason to justify why we feel the way we do. Spend some time getting clear on the stories you’re telling yourself and start to get to the core. Are you afraid of abandonment? Is the real work around self love or worthiness? This is the work of the warrior. This is how we evolve.
As you do this work post break up, remember that emotions always come in waves and everything is temporary. You don’t have to fix things right away, you can be a little uncomfortable. Spend time exploring where the emotions are coming from. Sometimes it’s not even about the specific break up! It can be related to unresolved trauma. Ride it out, trust the process, try not to judge, and remember you won’t feel this way forever!
Lastly, one of my favorite practices is to find gratitude in the experience. Think about the things you appreciated about the relationship and your partner. You can write in your journal, “Thank you for…” and see how many things you can come up with! Tapping into feelings of gratitude can be so healing as we move forward.
Example: Thank you for teaching me more about what I want out of life.
Thank you for helping me understand more about myself.
Thank you for teaching me how to make home made pie.
You get the gist!
Relationships can be challenging and endings can be painful. As I’m launching a relationship course in August, I thought it was appropriate to share some tools for dealing with endings as well! Sometimes the fear of ending a relationship actually stops us from getting into a relationship at all. It’s important to remember two things: 1) Endings are not a one size fits all thing. Allow yourself the freedom and flexibility to transition in a way that works for you. 2) Take time to heal, process, and grow! Relationships are such beautiful gifts for growth and they help us evolve in ways we’re unable to do on our own.
If you're interested in joining our Limitless Love Course launching in August you can subscribe to my mailing list and receive all the details. Also, if you're looking to do one on one work to heal from a challenging relationship or explore the ways you show up in your relationships with others, you can book a consultation today. Sending you all my best!