“I don’t think this relationship is going anywhere, its not you its me, or I think we should see other people.” No matter how you say it breakup is torture. Whether you are divorcing or just breaking up with a partner, separating is a unique moment in time that can alter the rest of your life or theirs.
For 15 years I have watching the results of break up in my courtroom in divorce court. It is now so clear to me that how the initial breakup is handled sets the tone for the entire process. The manner of breakup not only affects a person’s future but who they become in the present. The median age for marriage is almost 26 for women and almost 28 for men. By the time you get married you are likely to have numerous breakups in your repertoire.
When you decide that you must move on, whether married or dating, what part if any of that relationship do you take with you? There will always be choices. You can use good memories to foster a different but important relationship with that person or you could focus on the negative aspects and embitter your life. We have all engaged in actions that leave the residue of embarrassment for some behavior we are not proud of and want to cover up. If there is behavior you want to cover you must hide from some people and even yourself. When you feel the need to hide your behavior, you make your world smaller. Does your breakup shrink or expand your world? Does it shrink or expand your psyche. When you hide from yourself you don’t heal as well and therefore inhibit yours psyche elasticity? Your psyche needs to retain its elasticity to manage all of your relationships.
We all know there is a brutal dance during breakup where people can devalue their own self worth by focusing only on how someone treats him or her in the end. We have the power as the initiator to really imprint the people we leave and scotch their earth and run for cover before we smell the fumes. Some of the choices to be made are; what is the press release to our friends, do we spin a story to the world to make him or her look bad? Do we need to be the right one in the end? Do we deal fairly with material possessions and not use them for payment of what you believe is due you? In that volcanic space of the breakup has we mined for diamonds or ashes’?
Taking some control over the devastation of another person is a difficult responsibility most of us don’t want to undertake. Realistically we all need to believe that to do so there must be some benefits to us.
The whole idea of losing another relationship carries with it potential for loosing faith in the sustainability of love. Breakups take a toll on us not just because of the loss of the person but because they rob our reserve of trust and faith in love. The ability to bounce back seems to loose its elasticity which each successive loss. If the wall of heart muscles is a rubber band, each heartbreak can either wear away our reserve of elasticity or rejuvenate the bands. It greatly depends upon how you treat the other person. Perhaps the ultimate act of optimism is that behaving our best, even in the dark hour of breakup, is a very valuable endeavor. Don’t wait for the roof to blow off to decide how you want to be in this difficult time. Decide now.
Eight suggestions to keep good karma for your next relationship.
Yes they are difficult but remember ‘no pressure, no diamonds’:
Let the person vent their anger and disappointment at least a few times. You don’t have to let this person endlessly abuse you.
Apologize for your part of the demise of the relationship without requiring them to admit their fault. Just be concerned with your own behavior.
Give up the chicken and egg debate about who is at fault for the end of the relationship.
Ask the injured party how you could make this easier for them, or what you might do to make it better while still holding your ground to separate. This is a little tricky because if you are sure it is over you don’t want to give false hope just to make it easier on yourself.
Don’t give false hope just to make it easier on yourself, which will just cause the person to turn into a pretzel trying to accommodate you and cause further humiliation and weakening of their spirit.
Don’t text a breakup and if you do it by email, still make yourself available for conversation. Emails do have benefits in helping to organize your thoughts but are usually not a substitute for conversation.
If they get hostile tell them the conversation is not going the way you can tolerate and reschedule.
Your press release should always be at the least fault neutral. Try to speak to third parties about your former partner in complimentarily ways if possible. My friend Barry says emphatically “I would never date someone who trashed their past relationship.”
When asked what is the gold standard for breakup, that is easy; you become in the breakup the person you want to be with in your next relationship.
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Posted: 11/03/2010 10:00 am EDT | Updated: 11/17/2011 9:02 am EST