10 Steps Before Breaking Up


Are you happy in love one day, grateful for your partner, thinking life couldn’t get any better, and then the next day feel anxious out of nowhere? Smothered? Tempted to run out the door? That moment can easily turn into an hour, a night, a month, a lifetime, and you might decide that temptation to run away must mean something is wrong with you, your partner, or your relationship. Is it time to break up? Here are some steps to take before walking away. 

When you want to run out the door, go ahead if you must, take a drive, a walk, a deep breath and give yourself however much space is necessary, and take a moment to acknowledge that you always have a choice, there is no relationship you are stuck in. Sometimes, that’s all you need to be ok, a reminder that you can choose again. 

Getting annoyed with our partners is going to happen. Feeling anxious about the future is going to happen. Living with each other includes the good, the bad and the ugly. And we need that reminder that we have choices, because most relationships get stuck in comfort zones, judgment zones, boredom…We might plot and plan our great escape, only to realize we have no problem outside of our heads. Or what we think are problems, are actually simple parts and pieces of every relationship, including the happiest ones. 

For me, running away is an ongoing temptation that so far, is never the solution. Instead of running out the door forever, I indulge in breaking up for an hour, or the whole day. I don’t announce it formally to my husband but I take an honest look at it myself. Have you ever tried breaking up for an hour? What would it be like? What would you do that you feel you can’t do with your partner around? Is that really true? Are they actually stopping you? Or would they likely have your back or no opinion at all?

Are they really the problem? Or are you using your relationship or partner as an excuse for not choosing whatever you desire? What are you avoiding about you when you are making your partner or relationship wrong? Do you notice that the things that bother you the most about your partner are places where you are actually judging yourself harshly? Or where you are avoiding or refusing to choose something greater in your life? 

Sometimes people disappoint you. But most of the upset in your relationships comes down to how you feel about yourself. Is it ever really about them or is it always about you? I know, it’s infuriating, I cringe thinking of all of the times I made my husband wrong for something I was doing myself. But if you start paying attention, you will be shocked how often something bugs you because it matches a judgment you have against yourself. 

If you catch yourself making anything or anyone right or wrong, you can stop and ask, is this really true? Where am I doing this same thing in my life? and is this why it bothers me so much? If I wasn’t wrong and could never be right, would I be willing to let go of where I am judging myself? 

And it might seem impossible to stop judging yourself, but start by refusing to openly judge your partner and friends. If you are looking to make someone wrong so you can prove you are right, you are creating more and more judgment that is not only irrelevant but killing possibilities toward your happiness. 

Another question you can ask is; “what have I decided I am right about?” And it is actually a very interesting question. When you start to realize what points of view you are functioning from, you can see how those points of view are creating what is showing up in your life. If you are judging yourself, you are inviting everyone who looks or talks to you to also judge you. You are also likely demanding that someone you claim to care about, prove themselves wrong so you can be right. Relationships are exhausting enough without the never ending battle of right and wrong. 

What if love was something you never had to prove? In fact, if you are proving something, is that a sign you are not willing to choose? If your boyfriend brings you flowers the same day every week, is that to prove he cares and is a good boyfriend? Does a good relationship match your expectations? If you share all of your thoughts and fears does that prove how close you are? If you are proving, you are not free to choose. So, a simple question to ask is : what am I proving and what I am choosing? And what are my expectations of this relationship?

Expectations. Wow, it even feels heavy saying the word! What expectations do you have of you? Your body? Your lovers? Your money? Your friends? We might try to hide our expectations of others and play it cool and casual at first not to scare anyone away, but if we hold onto expectations and projections, even if we do not say them out loud, they rule and ruin our lives including relationships. I had many expectations of marriage, love, sex, parenting… that I have discovered have nothing to do with my happiness and were only in the way. But I can see how easily relationships fall apart if expectations are not fulfilled, people give up on each other before giving up their expectations. 

Expectations and projections, conclusions of what you have decided must be, are born in judgment. And will never be true. How often does your partner match all of your expectations and judgments, prove themselves true to your shoulds and should nots, and you feel it’s not enough? Can those expectations and projections ever really satisfy you? Are they even yours?

I often catch myself trying to match an expectation I bought from my mom or even something I saw on tv when I was younger. How many of our expectations of relationships are taught to us from fairytales and movies? Or handed down generation after generation. Here is your inheritance, it includes hundreds and thousands of not dollars but expectations and lies that we expect you to continue as an honor to your family. 

Those expectations and judgments are sneaky, they can lie beneath the surface and hide around every corner, and again, questions can reveal what expectations you are holding on to, as well as finding clarity with your partner or anyone in your life. What are my expectations of this person? What do they expect from me? Are there expectations I have that I never really think about?

Don’t jump into the wrongness or rightness of any expectations, defense of expectations as you take a look at this, you do not have to go into explanation of why you think your expectations are valid, I know that temptation to justify our expectations, and go ahead if you would like to stay stuck. Your expectations can keep you company while you push everyone including yourself out of your life. Using your expectations is a very effective way to end a relationship.

What I have found, it is much more disappointing when your expectations are fulfilled because you think it’s going to give you some satisfaction or sense of accomplishment and it doesn’t, expectations are nothing but limitations. Not gifts that will create more for you and your lover. 

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