Do Breakups Have to Be Ugly?

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Take It In.” I haven’t talked about romantic relationships specifically in awhile. They have been a big deal since humankind began (obviously). To specify, I am focusing on relationships between significant others, not marriages (that is a whole other beast to tackle). In regards to these relationships, one of the hardest aspects of them is when they go sour. What happens when we’ve done all we can do and it’s time to part? Is this the right thing to do? How do we know when? How do we go about it? Allow me to tackle these questions with the three following points:

  1. Breaking up should not be your first solution. 

Ending things whenever hardships appear is a sign of emotional immaturity and instability. It is a hallmark symptom of someone with an avoidant or resistant attachment style. Life is tough. The purpose of relationships is to weather the storms together and come out on the side intact. You encourage and help to facilitate growth and healthy change in the other.

If someone is quick to threaten you with ultimatums of breaking up, take careful note. Respectfully call out this unhealthy behavior. They will either listen and seek to change or they will resist and continue on. If the latter is the case, then the best thing to do is let them go like they’ve threatened to.

2. It does not have to be ugly. 

I can not stress this enough. Breaking up does not and should not involve passive aggressive behavior, insults, threats and overall emotional volatility. If you have addressed the issues and have not came to any compromise or agreements, breaking up might be the best option. Staying in an environment that is destructive is not okay for anyone. However, you do not have to destroy each other in the breakup process. Realize that if you have gotten to this point, it is in the best of both your interests.

I recognize that it is a very emotionally charged situation. Be aware of this. If the person you are breaking up with has a tendency of being hostile or aggressive, proceed with caution. There is nothing wrong with breaking up by phone or text from a person who has or you think might hurt you. Do not hesitate to reach out to loved ones or law enforcement if you think you are in any danger. Keep yourself safe.

3. Life does go on after. 

I am not trying to sound inconsiderate. This fact is very good news, which is why I am mentioning it. Your life is not the sum of your relationships. Your life is how you love God, others and yourself. Not everyone needs to be an intimate part of your life. If a person or relationship is diminishing the quality of your other relationships and your life overall, do not just stick around.

Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, has studied the affect of relationships on quality of life. His findings display that meaningful relationships enhance or well-being, while relationships high in conflict and dysfunction diminish it. Keep that in mind going forward in your relationships decisions.

It is not easy to break up from someone were close to, nor is it easy picking up the pieces after. However, it is possible with the love of God, family, friends and love for ourselves. Peace and love be with you all. See you next week.

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” ~ Aristotle 
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