How To Break Up With Someone You Love (But Isn’t Right For You)
In the UK it is estimated that 42% of marriages end in divorce, with over 101,000 divorces taking place in England and Wales in 2017. Whether you are married or in a relationship, it is never easy to go through a break-up. However, it is even harder to break up with someone that you love but isn’t right for you. So, is breaking up with someone you love the right thing to do and how can you go about it to lessen the pain for you both?
Why is it hard to break up with someone you love?
While the media portrays love as invincible, in reality, relationships take more than love to be a success.
When we’re in love, the brain releases many powerful chemicals. These chemicals and the feeling of romantic love can make people stay in relationships that are not healthy or happy. This is because when we think about someone we love, the brain releases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine can help people to feel good. However, studies have shown that when dopamine levels are high, people are less able to make logical decisions. In effect, this means that despite knowing a relationship isn’t right, it is hard to break away from.
Should you break up with someone you love?
Of course, there is no clear-cut solution for if you should break up with your partner and every relationship is different. However, if you experience any of the following, then it is likely the relationship is not right for you.
Your needs aren’t being met
If you feel that your partner isn’t fulfilling a requirement you have for the relationship and you’ve spoken about it, then it may be time to part ways. Your partner may be unable or unwilling to fulfil your needs, and if this is the case, you should ask yourself whether you can accept your partner as the way they are of whether it is time to break up.
You don’t feel comfortable communicating with your partner
It should be easy to talk to your partner about what you want and how you feel. If you feel like a burden or suppress your emotions, then it can lead to an unfulfilling or damaged relationship. Eventually, these unmet needs will build up and may manifest into an unhappy relationship breakdown. It can also lead you to fulfil those unmet needs elsewhere, whether that is a friend or an affair.
Your family and friends feel the relationship is negative
Your trusted family and friends will be honest about your relationship, and if no one in your support group backs the relationship, then this could be an indicator that all is not well. If you start to distance yourself from your family and friends for the sake of the relationship, then you are likely to be lying to yourself and getting caught in a relationship trap. The people who love you will want to see you happy and will notice when you are not.
You feel obligated
If you have been together for many years, are married or have children, then you may feel like it is an obligation to stay with your partner. People often stay in relationships because they do not want to see it as a lost investment. If you have invested so much time, effort and energy into your relationship, you don’t want to see this as a ‘waste’. Psychologists call this the ‘sunk cost effect’ which is similar to how people invest money.
How to break up with someone you love
If you feel it is time to part ways, there are several things you can do to lessen the hurt and give you the confidence you need in your decision.
Step One: Think hard about your decision
Deciding to break up with someone you love is difficult. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly as there is often no way to reconcile. Make sure you are not using the breakup as a way to make your partner say what you want to hear. Only break up with someone you love if you’re sure that it is the right thing to do and is not a cry for attention. You need to be comfortable with the decision that you may never get back together. If you do decide to stay together, then the fact you have tried to break up may cause lasting damage to the relationship.
However, bear in mind that you may be staying with your partner for the wrong reasons. If a fear of being alone is stopping you from breaking up with your partner or you’re too scared to hurt their feelings, these are not strong enough reasons to stay with somebody.
Step Two: Make a plan
Even if you are the one breaking up with your partner, it is still a highly emotional and distressing time. It is wise to put a loose plan in place for the immediate aftermath of the breakup so that you feel like you have some security. A plan could be to book a few days of work, a trip away or an arrangement to stay with friends or family. Don’t forget you may also need to make childcare arrangements. Make sure you have somewhere to go and something to do so that you don’t get sucked into staying in the relationship for convenience.
Step Three: Have a frank (but calm) discussion
Once you are completely sure that breaking up is the right thing to do, then it is time to explain it to your partner. Do not surprise them or scream it during an argument. Instead, plan a time where you can sit down together and talk fully, openly and honestly. Remember that you and your partner are likely to be highly emotional during this talk. Instead of pushing through the conversation when tensions are high and you may say something you regret, take a break.
When you are both ready to talk, be calm and open. Your partner needs to be clear of your intentions and the reasons for the breakup. Do not give them false hope that you may return or that if they change one thing, you’ll come back. It is also wise to remember that a breakdown in a relationship should not be someone’s fault. Do not use the break up as an excuse to complain about their bad habits.
Instead, you and your partner should spend time clearing the air, talk about the hurt you have both felt and unburden yourself from the emotional baggage of the relationship. It is important to use ‘I’ statements so you are not offloading blame.
After this, and you are both calm, begin to talk about the logistics of the breakup. This will include aspects such as accommodation, childcare and explaining to friends and family. Remember, there is a lot to sort out, so start by making temporary arrangements until everyone is more settled.
Step Four: Make time for yourself
It is important to grieve for a relationship and accept the huge changes that you have just put in place. Take some time away to have some much-needed me-time. Turn off your phone and digital devices and do the things that you want to do. Scrolling through social media at a time like this will not help you. Instead, curl up with a book, book into a spa, take lots of walks or visit a new place. Give your emotions a break and give yourself time to feel calm.
Step Five: Create an emotional balance
A few days after the breakup it is normal to pine or feel like you have made a big mistake. However, this is much harder if you continue to think about all of the happy memories you share. Instead, you should shift the balance to all of the negatives of the relationship. Write them all down, from the big issues to the tiny annoyances so that you still feel like you are making the right decision.
Remember that this will take time, your head may be thinking logically, but your body and heart may take longer to readjust. Eventually, the romantic brain chemicals, such as dopamine, will subside when you think about your ex and your brain chemistry will balance out.
Step Six: Don’t think about getting over them
If you love someone, then you want the best for their future happiness. You know that you are on different paths and will hopefully wish them well. There is no rush to get over them. Over time, the feelings of love with transform from relationship love to friendship love, and you’ll become more emotionally available for the possibility of a new relationship. Don’t try to rush anything, or jump into a new relationship. At this stage, where you wish your ex-partner well, you can put in place a more permanent plan that will help you both.
Step Seven: Look forward to the future
If you and your ex-partner want different things, then accept that you are both at different stages in your life. Instead, enjoy and look forward to the new and exciting stage that you are entering. You are opening yourself up to new opportunities that are more suited to your needs and desires. While it may seem scary, open yourself up to new and intriguing opportunities. Do all the things that make you happy, so that you can fall in love with being alone. This will help you to realise that you don’t need your ex-partner for their love and support. You are strong on your own.
Are you struggling with a relationship breakup?
If you are struggling to get over your ex or are unsure what your next step should be, then hypnotherapy can help. I specialise in relationship and breakup therapy and will craft the perfect blend of hypnotherapy, NLP and meditation to help you get to where you want to be.
Call now on 0207 971 7677 for your free 15-minute consultation to help you break up with someone you love, but who isn’t right for you.
Ons.gov.uk. (2019). Divorce – Office for National Statistics. [online] Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/divorce [Accessed 24 Jan. 2019].
Takahashi, K., Mizuno, K., Sasaki, A., Wada, Y., Tanaka, M., Ishii, A., Tajima, K., Tsuyuguchi, N., Watanabe, K., Zeki, S. and Watanabe, Y. (2015). Imaging the passionate stage of romantic love by dopamine dynamics. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9.