You’ve been in absolute agony before you stumbled upon this article.
You’re waking up in the middle of the night wondering what’s worse: the fear of losing a great person, or the fear of living life feeling stuck with this person (as kind and nice as they are).
Your friends haven’t been giving you advice that has landed, after all — they think you’re crazy for leaving them. They think your life is good and you should just be “thankful.”
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. And our friends and family are only sharing their experience with us.
As a breakup coach, I help people work through the thoughts and feelings involved in driving the ship. Deciding whether or not to end a relationship is an agonizing process, filled with anxiety, paralyzing fear, and often many nights of crappy sleep. At least, this is what some of my clients are going through.
This isn't a black-and-white process. This isn’t about doing “what’s right.”
This is about what’s the best option for you.
It’s about understanding yourself and what you need.
I’m sure when you two got together, you were in a completely different place in life. Maybe it started out casual and then got serious; or maybe you were ready to settle down, but the stress of life got to you. However it started, it’s important to understand where you are today, and what you need.
As such, I’ve created 3 exercises/questions you can do that can help shed some serious light into the situation.
Learn what needs you actually have, and find out if your partner gives them to you. It probably doesn’t surprise you that the only needs you think you have are: shelter, water, food, safety, protection, etc. But there is a whole gamut of needs that we aren’t even aware of. Take this list from the Center of Nonviolent Communication to find out what the heck your needs actually are. More than the basics, you’ll discover you have a need for curiosity, challenge; to be heard or seen; for harmony and presence. They don’t teach you this stuff, so get crackin’ on the list. You might discover some of these needs just aren’t important to you right now. What you might learn is just how many needs are going unmet currently; not because your partner isn’t a great person, but because you weren’t fully aware of what you needed before this exercise. This happens all the time. Find out what you need, and find out of it’s important to you (and something you need in a partner). If you’re overwhelmed by this list, book a consult with me and we will go through it together.
Ask yourself, “am I more afraid of the loneliness than anything?” Every human being is afraid of being alone; we are put on this planet to connect. (This might explains why people hop from one relationship to another, or why some people have a new S.O before their current relationship has even ended.) I know the loneliness of a breakup all too well; it’s important for you to recognize that we are better off making decisions that allow us only to observe the feelings we have, and not to let ourselves be a prisoner of them. If you find that the big reasons for keeping your partner around are to avoid negative emotions, it’s possible that you’re doing both you and your partner as injustice. If you find that your partner is a remarkable person and you can’t actually imagine life without them, then I don’t know what you’re doing reading this article.
Have you had a deep conversation with your partner about what you’re thinking and feeling in a non-rushed kind of way? Many difficult conversations are avoided because “now’s not a good time” or, “I’m really busy with work and need to focus.” Or, many conversations are avoided because today is a “good” day between you two and you don’t want to spoil the mood with the truth. You can see where I’m going with this. I’ve worked with clients who have only approached the concept of “expressing themselves” when they get angry when their partner instigates by bringing up an issue. So, here’s what I want you to try: make time to have an honest conversation with your partner; we do ourselves a huge injustice by thinking that our partners don’t need to know our intimate thoughts (we are taught at a young age that saying hurtful things isn’t “nice”), but I can tell you that being vulnerable with your partner could actually spark a pleasantly-surprising epiphany between you two. Many couples don’t know that they haven’t actually been expressing themselves; they’ve simply been making “loud” observations about the other person, “you never clean up!” instead of, “I need my space to be tidy because it helps me unwind after a long day.” Talk to your partner and give yourself at least 60 minutes for both of you to be heard and understood. You might just discover that that’s all you really needed.
These are just a few days to work through the actual feelings you’re having about wanting to end your relationship. The questions and exercises seem pretty simple, but those are often the things forgotten in a world of high-stress and hustle. If you’ve been struggling with the decision, reach out to me and I can help you go through my personalized process.