At one time or another, many of us have found ourselves in a less than ideal relationship. Habit and fear may have kept us there, believing that this is all we could really expect.
When we are deeply involved, our emotions stretched to the limit, it can be enormously difficult to take that little step back and clearly see when enough is enough. It’s so easy to continue holding out on the hope that things will somehow miraculously alter; that our partner will take the steps necessary in order to change; that he or she might somehow bring about the transformation that would at last make everything all right.
Yes, of course miracles do happen. And people can alter – you’ve probably witnessed that already, as you watched your relationship deteriorate – but if you’re trapped in a bad situation, where any hope of real and lasting change has gone, then perhaps it really is time for you to take the bull by the horns and move on. Don’t you owe it to yourself to finally reclaim your life?.
Here are my tips for ending a bad relationship and getting back on the path to healthy living:
1. Recognize it’s time to go
– Do you feel unhappy more than you feel happy with this person? Do you feel guilty or fearful about wanting to end things? Do you ever dread spending time with him/her? If you’re nodding your head, then it may well be time to go. Making the decision to end it will be one of the most difficult parts of the process. Relationships don’t usually go bad overnight. The negative things slowly build up over time. It can be difficult to see just how bad it really has become when you’re right in the middle of it – but if things are to change for the better, then see you must.
2. Assess the situation
– Take a step back and assess your relationship. Most relationships have their good, as well as their bad aspects. If you concentrate only on the bad things as you end the relationship, this might put you at risk of being surprised by your own emotions and slipping back into the old patterns of responding. It’s best to acknowledge some of the positive things you had in the relationship — no matter how few or how long ago — but don’t focus on these aspects, either. Recognize that the bad things are outweighing the good and that they probably have been for quite some time now. You really deserve so much better. Tough as it may be, isn’t it time to finally move on?
3. Develop a plan of action
– How will you break up with your partner? How will you react if they try to convince or bully you into staying or coming back? What will you do in those weaker moments when you miss your partner terribly and you’re dying to contact them? Having a plan in place can help you to follow through with your decision. If you can anticipate some of the things that are likely to happen when you tell your partner, and how you can calmly and wisely respond, you will be less likely to go back on your decision.
4. Be “selfish”
– Now is the time to focus on your self. When you have been giving so much of ‘you’ to another person for so long, it can feel almost wrong to begin to focus on yourself again. It shouldn’t feel this way. While being childishly selfish is not the most mature of qualities, there is another kind of selfishness – a healthy ‘self interest’ – that is not only a fine, adult quality, but also the foundation of self-respect and self-esteem. Isn’t it time, now, to take care of your own needs?
5. Now what?
– You have been putting a lot of energy into this relationship and you’ve probably been doing it for quite some time. Now it’s over you might well find yourself with a space to fill. You need to consider how you are going to fill this possible void. What activities have you let fall to the wayside since you’ve been in that old, stale relationship? What remains for you to newly discover? Now is the time to reacquaint yourself with old activities and to reach out and try some brand new ones.
6. Create a support network
– No matter how difficult your relationship has been, there were things your relied on your partner for. He/she was likely the person you turned to when you had a bad day, or perhaps they were the only person in the picture, no matter what kind of day you had. Make sure you have the support of trustworthy friends and family who will listen to you and help you when you’re feeling down. If there is no one you feel you can safely turn to at the moment, then perhaps you could talk to your doctor and ask them to refer you to a counselor or an organization that might be of help. Reach out and make contact. There’s a whole world out there and it doesn’t really need to be so scary.
7. Stick to your guns
– Once you have made the decision to end it, there may be moments when you’re tempted to change your mind and go back on it. You are the only one that knows what is best for you. Don’t let your partner make you feel guilty for leaving, and let no one bully you one way or the other. Only you know what you need. This really is your life. Isn’t now the time for you to live it?
‘You lose what you cling to.’ Guatama Buddha