He cheated on you.
She fights with your mom.
He stole from you.
The reasons to break up seem unlimited and can drive you just about as crazy as your friends do who are trying to get you to break up, or make up, with another person. They even have their own thoughts about how you should break up (drop her like a hot potato) or make up (fly her to Paris for the night).
Don’t listen to them. You are the one in charge of whether or not you break up or make up with anyone else and how you do it. Don’t be influenced by people who probably don’t know how to have a healthy relationship themselves. If your friends are single, don’t take relationship advice from them. That’s like taking financial advice from a person going through bankruptcy. It just doesn’t make sense.
On the other hand, it is a great idea to get relationship advice from an actual expert. They can help you make a decision using the best ways to break up or make up with a person. A professional can teach you ways to break up and make up that will benefit your mental health the most, as well as your partner’s.
There are some key ingredients to successful breakups that can also help you when trying to get back together with someone too. Showing commitment, compassion, ownership, being prepared, and showing love to you are beneficial ways to make sure your breakup or make up take place in a mature, psychologically healthy manner.
Showing commitment in a breakup or make up situation means to make your choice, align that choice with your beliefs and values of doing the right thing, make a promise to keep that commitment and then follow through with your promise. Whether you are breaking up or making up, you have to show commitment. You can’t start out strong and then half way in change your mind. Be prepared to follow your decision through all the way. If you are not ready to follow through, you are not ready to commit to the break up or make up.
Being committed to a break up means you are ready to be separated from that person, physically and emotionally. You can’t break up and then go hang out at a fast food joint like you are best friends. Breakup means to break up, to no longer stay together. It is not healthy to try and be friends with the person you were just in love with a week ago.
People need to process a breakup, the loss of someone they cared for. Allowing people to go through this process is the best way you can commit to a breakup. It is the best way for both of you to move on. This process is often associated with the stages of grief: sadness, anger, everything is okay, longing, fear, and acceptance. Some people may even seem in denial at first, not accepting that the breakup is happening. After this phase people tend to become sad or angry about the decision and emotions start to roller coaster, with one day they feel fine and the next day they pine over the way things once were. People can also become afraid of being alone or never being able to find a new relationship and then eventually a person will move on and accept the breakup.
It is so important to commit to a breakup if you decide to end the relationship. Starting and stopping the grief process for you or your partner is not healthy. It turns into a game being played with your emotions and basically delays the inevitable.
Being committed to making up with your partner involves a lot of serious questions. The answers to all of these questions needs to be yes, you are ready.
- Can you be loyal to this person forever? If you can’t see yourself with this person forever (even if your feelings end of changing down the road due to unforeseen circumstances, right now in this moment you need to be able to see yourself with them forever). Be honest with yourself in answering this. If you know for a fact you will want to break up again in a month or two, do not make up.
- Are you able to be completely honest with your partner? If you find yourself trying to be someone other than yourself just to please your partner, do not make up. If your partner does not accept you and all of your flaws, do not make up.
- Is your partner able to be completely honest with you or are they afraid to tell you things they feel may make you angry? Do you catch your partner in lies? If so, do not make up. You will not be able to endure this for long.
- Do you love spending time with each other? Or do you fight a lot? All relationships involve fighting. But healthy relationships argue in healthy ways. There is no physical or verbal abuse involved. If you and your partner fight every day or every other day, do not make up.
- Do you trust one another? This is easy, if there is no trust then do not make up, at least not until the trust is rebuilt, which can be a long time in some cases.
Compassion is defined as your feelings, thoughts and behaviors that show you care for someone who may be hurting.
Breaking up with someone is hard to do but if done with compassion then both of you can leave the relationship with dignity. It is not cool to break up with someone through texts, emails or other social media. Showing compassion means showing up for the breakup.
Rules to follow when breaking up compassionately include saying goodbye with kindness, explaining how you are no longer a good fit for each other, avoid blaming, seeking forgiveness of yourself and your partner to free yourself emotionally, staying kind even if they want to fight, and working on loving yourself.
If you are trying to get back together with someone, compassion is just as important. You need to both communicate the real reasons for breaking up in the first place. Then spend just as much time communicating your reasons for making up. Focus on each other’s feelings and do what it takes to change so that those same feelings are not hurt again. Make sure you are both comfortable and working towards the same goals. Do not force another person back into a relationship. It is also important to keep your dignity. Compassion does not resemble begging or pleading or threats.
Taking ownership does not mean automatically blaming yourself for the fall of the relationship. Taking ownership simply means you are accepting responsibility for the things you did to contribute to the relationship or the demise of the relationship.
Self-blame is damaging. It can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. To take ownership in a breakup you can recognize the behaviors you had that made it hard for the relationship to continue. Showing ownership also shows your maturity. An immature person would put all of the blame on the other person or make up a million silly excuses as to why it is time to part ways. A mature person says things like, “I am not able to be there for you emotionally.” It really does take two people to make up and two people to breakup. Know your role in each.
There are many ways you can take ownership when making up with a loved one so the future you have together is more stable and based in a mutual responsibility. The first thing you can do is focus on your own happiness rather than solely on trying to make the other person happy. Don’t allow your partner to behave badly by acting if it is okay. Don’t ever make excuses for someone else’s bad behavior, or for your bad behavior. Listen to your inner voice that is usually pretty honest. If it is telling you this is not the right person for you, pay attention.
Show You Are Prepared
Being prepared for a breakup means to make sure you want to actually break up. Some tips to help you decide include: asking yourself if you are just angry or do you think you can work it out? Did you communicate your needs to your partner and give them the chance to meet them? Will you regret ending the relationship? Is this just part of a game you are playing? Have you given the relationship your all?
Be prepared to communicate well during a breakup and a makeup. Be prepared to admit if your reasons for breaking up are silly or just excuses for something bigger. Also be prepared to ask these same questions when making up with your partner. Be prepared to admit your fears, you may be able to work through these just by talking about them. Be prepared to address your doubts and your ambivalence with your partner. Talking about these issues could very well be the talk that mends your relationship.
Be prepared to write a letter to your partner expressing your emotions if you feel you won’t be able to communicate them verbally. Writing the perfect letter of love, even if you are breaking up, is vital for both of you to avoid any psychologically damaging messages. Writing a letter will also give you both something tangible you can refer to after the breakup or make up, something you can bring out at a later date to reflect on when other issues arise.
Whether you decide to breakup or make up with your partner, the best thing you can do is to make sure you love yourself the right way. There are many ways to love you through any type of relationship status. You must need to be able to be you, not a fake you who pretends to be someone else when your partner is around. You have to be able to show your true self at all times and be proud of that self. It is also important you be able to spend time with yourself. Being needy and dependent will not help any relationship, whether it is a current relationship or a future relationship. Treat yourself kindly, take care of your body and mind through activities that are supportive of good mental health.
Other specific tasks you can do to love yourself is to set boundaries and start saying no to activities that do not benefit you emotionally. You can also become mindful of what your body needs to be healthy. Pamper yourself with massages or facials or other types of relaxing treatments. Take yourself on dates and treat yourself to the things you want but always put off. Make sure you are putting yourself at the top of your priority list.
Be sure not to love yourself so much you become a narcissist. That’s no good for anyone in an intimate relationship. Someone with a narcissist personality feels grandiose, entitled and like they are more important than the other person. The narcissist has similar qualities to a bully and when in a personal relationship with someone like this, you will start to feel abused rather than appreciated.
Unless you are in danger of being harmed, keep in mind that you don’t have to make a decision immediately as to whether you want to breakup or makeup. Take the appropriate amount of time to make a good decision. You may find after a few days you don’t feel the same way. This is a very important decision; give yourself the proper time to think about your reasons, to think about how each of you will be affected, and to think about your plan of action. Do everything you can so that when you commit to your decision, you have confidence about your decision and are left with little doubt.
Whatever your decision, be proud of yourself for taking these extra steps to make sure your breakup or make up is done the right way!