It’s that time of year when pink and red hearts line the aisles of every shop in sight and the aroma of flowers fills the air. For most, that means a celebration of love, from long-stemmed roses to showering loved ones with candy and fine jewelry. While we hear about relationships beginning and being celebrated, we don’t usually hear about the ending.
In addition to Valentine's Day, February also marks Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month — a time to focus on how teens can foster healthier attitudes around dating. One skill we could all benefit from is working on is how to end relationships in a healthy way for both partners. The following tips can help empower you to end things in a respectful and considerate way.
These tips are intended for those who are in a safe relationship, and if you or someone you know is dealing with an abusive partner or feels unsafe please reach out for support.
No matter how short the relationship, you have created a bond with someone and shared part of your life with them. Therefore, it is important to show respect and be direct. Let them know ahead of time that you want to have a serious conversation to help prepare them for what to expect. This way you are both prepared to have a deeper exchange and check-in on the status of your relationship.
Don’t pull a vanishing act
Technology makes it easier to communicate, but it also allows us the ability to drop in and out of someone’s life in mere seconds. This is called ghosting or a sudden disappearance without as much as a text, email, or phone call. Some believe that cutting all ties with a person will help them avoid emotions and they believe the other person will get the hint. Committing a vanishing act when you have become involved with someone leaves unanswered questions, stress, and heartbreak. Respect the person you are dating enough to officially end things. Ghosting hurts — it’s as simple as that.
Be honest, to a point
It is important to be open and honest when breaking up with someone. You want to make sure you are clear about your reasons and stay true to yourself. But you also have to think about how the other person is feeling and be considerate. Make sure you mention the good parts of the relationship and their best qualities. Bashing the other person and blaming everything on them is a recipe for disaster and won’t help the situation. Telling the truth doesn’t mean trying to be as hateful as possible. A bad breakup can set the tone for future relationships for both parties in a negative way, whether that is the way your friends treat you after the fact or the way you treat future relationships. Either way, healthy closure can help both of you push forward and move on with your lives.
Exercise healthy social media habits
After a breakup, it can be hard to know how to communicate on social media, especially knowing you have to change your Facebook relationship status to single again. It may take time to adjust to this new normal, but one thing you may not want to do is post your breakup all over the internet. The best thing you can do is wipe the slate clean. You could start by removing your ex from social media. If you don’t want to fully remove them, you might consider taking some time for yourself and not checking any of your ex’s accounts for a while. Constantly checking to see what they are up to won’t help you move forward. Facebook has a break-up tool that can help you with this process on their platform.
Something else to consider are the pictures on your phone. When you are in a relationship, you are bound to capture a lot of memories with your loved one, but once you break up, what do you do with those photos? If you don’t want to delete them, you could take them off of your social media accounts and store them in a separate folder on your phone. It is important to remember that every photo you took with your significant other was meant for you. Additionally, posting private photos to your friends, social media, and other popular websites can fall under revenge porn. Revenge porn is classified under cyber harassment, the impact can be devastating for the other person. So whether it is an Instagram purge, social media break, or taking photos off your nightstand, continue doing whatever you need to do to get back into a healthy routine.
Keep moving forward and out of bed
After a breakup, it is easy to hole up in your bedroom and hide under a mountain of chocolate wrappers and tissues, but it is important to keep moving. Heartbreak affects your physiology and your neurochemistry. So, getting out of the house and resuming your normal life is beneficial to the healing process. It is easy to be sad and hide yourself away, but it is important to try to get those happy hormones flowing through your brain. Go outside and get some fresh air, grab lunch with a friend, do a craft or hobby — anything that gives you a sense of happiness in your time of need.
It’s not always easy dealing with a breakup, but by following these five steps, you are on the right track. After the breakup, focus on yourself. Then when you are ready, you can put yourself back out in the dating pool knowing that you are happy, healthy and in the right mindset to begin a new relationship.