So, you've taken the very difficult first step of admitting your relationship needs to end. But what now? Well, ideally you should both work together for a quick and clean break. Easier said than done!
Instead of seeing the end of a relationship as a terrible failure, see it as saving you from years of festering relation dysfunction. You are ready for a new start. The end of a relationship is, of course, devastating. But this ending should always include the hope for a better future for yourself. You can't control how your ex will behave, but you can control how you behave. By approaching your break-up with compassion, you can make the process as painless as possible. Parting from a romance with compassion, rather than in a blaze of recriminations and insults, will make the break-up much easier for you both. Here's how to navigate your way through a relationship break-up, with compassion.
1) Don't mudsling
You're hurting. Your ex is hurting. You are both scared and upset. So the easiest thing in the world is for you both to start trading insults. Don't do it! There's nothing less constructive than screaming at each other. It's not going to change anything - only make things worse. So take a deep breath and start communicating without being rude.
2) Remember the good
Your relationship had some good parts or you wouldn't have got together in the first place. Trigger your sense of compassion for your partner by remembering the good moments in your relationship. If you start to get angry or lose your sense of perspective on the break-up, use these memories to pull you back to centre.
You need to keep the lines of communication open during your break-up, so you can disentangle your lives as quickly as possible. Be open and honest in your communication. Talk when you are both feeling calm, not emotional. Allow one person to speak fully, no interruptions. Then switch so the other person has their turn.
4) Avoid blame
You've broken up. So at this stage blame is pointless. Difficult to remember if one of you has been unfaithful or behaved badly in some other way. But keep the bigger picture in mind. Your goal now is not to accuse and remonstrate, but to break free from this situation. Getting stuck in a cycle of blame will stop you moving forward.
5) Don't pretend you can be friends
Hopefully, sometime down the line, you can both look back on your relationship as friends. Now is not that time. One person is bound to be more hurt than the other. Perhaps one of you wants to cling on. Staying friends is unrealistic at this stage. You should be aiming just to be polite, communicative and co-operative, right now.
6) Don't make rash decisions
Take a day or so to sit with any big decisions that come as a result of your break-up. In a heightened state of emotion, you're probably not thinking as rationally as you might otherwise. So before you sign away any property or divide up finances, take time to think it over carefully. You might also want to consider taking legal advice.
7) Try mediation
It usually helps to get an impartial second perspective in these circumstances. So if you are struggling to work your way out of this relationship, mediation might help. Whether you are looking for a professional organisation which can help you both negotiate the financial or practical details of breaking-up. Or whether you need emotional support, there are charities which exist to help you free of charge. Search the internet for an organisation local to you.
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