Family works

Speaking on breaking up

Rob Coombs ID. Min. Ph.D.
Posted 4/23/17

“I beg of you don’t say goodbye / Can’t we give our love another try? / Think of all the things we’ve been through / Breaking up is hard to do.”

Whoever wrote the words to this famous …

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Family works

Speaking on breaking up


“I beg of you don’t say goodbye / Can’t we give our love another try? / Think of all the things we’ve been through / Breaking up is hard to do.”

Whoever wrote the words to this famous song popularized by Neil Sedaka, certainly knew what he was talking about. The pain, the agony, the sorrow, the guilt, the rejection, the despair, the anger ... as the old song so pointedly and painfully laments, “Breaking up is hard to do.”

Comforting words offer little relief.

“It’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.”

“Really, try it.”

“There are more fish in the sea.”

“But I want that fish.”

Although breaking up is hard to do, there are some guidelines that can make the process a little easier, and hopefully a little less painful.

1. Be sure that you want to break up. Ask yourself: “Do you want the relationship to change, or do you want the relationship to end?” Because growing relationships involve deeper and deeper levels of intimacy, some people either end or sabotage the relationship because of a fear of new levels of intimacy. This is such a shame. Just when the relationship is ready for growth, it ends. Rather than breaking up, growing to the next level of intimacy can produce rewards not realized at lower levels. However, there are times that you know that the relationship does not, cannot, and will not provide what you want out of a relationship. Such a relationship is incapable of bringing a healthy and happy future, and therefore should be ended.

2. Acknowledge that your partner will be hurt. Don’t resist breaking up because you don’t want to hurt your partner. Leading a person on when you are certain the relationship needs to end only sets the person up for more pain, more hurt. Be honest and forthright. Arrange a time when the two of you can meet, person-to-person, and discuss the end of the relationship. If possible, focus on the value of the relationship. After all, the two of you have shared a portion of life together and remembering the good can help you maintain appreciation for what you have shared.

3. Once you end the relationship, do not continue seeing your former partner as “friends” until considerable time has passed. Sometimes, a former partner will attempt to continue to see the other as a form of subterfuge to continue the relationship or he may see his former partner to punish himself. Neither is productive. Allow time for your emotional wounds to heal.

4. Don’t change your mind. There are so many reasons to change your mind — loneliness, confusion, sadness, despair. Some couples return to each other because they fear they will never find someone else. Resist such temptations.

5. Be realistic. Acknowledge that pain and loneliness are natural following a breakup. Remember, you are still a worthwhile person, whether you are in a relationship or not.

6. Maintain perspective by keeping your sense of humor. This is not — even though it may feel like it — the end of world. Humor yourself whenever you despair.

Breaking up is hard to do. Don’t make it any harder than necessary.


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