Written by Peter James Field
Many of us have experienced a relationship that was far from ideal. Broken promises and unkept pledges may have hurt and battered our self esteem. Fear or simply habit might have persuaded us that we had no other option, that this was all we could expect, all we could really look forward to.
When we’re in the thick of things, our emotions stretched almost to their limit, it can be difficult to step back and assess when enough really is enough. It’s so very easy to keep holding onto the false hope that maybe things will miraculously improve; 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, miracles can happen. And people can alter – you’ve probably seen that already, as your relationship gradually deteriorated – but if you are stuck in a bad situation where hope of real change has already evaporated, then maybe it’s time for you to finally grasp the nettle 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 having to be 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? Just how will you respond if they try to bully you or beg you to stay or return? 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’ve been in the habit of giving so much of yourself to another person, it can feel strange to begin to focus on yourself. 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 wonderful, grown-up quality, but the precursor of earned self-respect and robust 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’s the time to again take up those favourite activities, the ones you used to enjoy, and to try out some brand new ones, too.
6. Create a support network
– No matter how difficult your relationship has been, there were things your relied on your partner for. He or she may well have been the person you turned to after a trying day, or maybe they were the only person there, regardless of the 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 really is a whole, big world out there, and it really isn’t so very scary.
7. Stick to your guns
– Once you really have taken the decision to end things, there may be moments of doubt or weakness when you’ll be tempted to change your mind and go back on your decision. You are the only one that knows what is best for you. Don’t allow your partner to guilt you into staying and don’t let well-meaning friends and family 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 only lose what you cling to.” – Guatama Buddha