Around this time of year, along with the presents and twinkle lights, there are people holding their breath. They are holding their breath because they are in a relationship that isn’t working and they’re waiting for the right time to break up. If you are one of those people, you might need a reality check. Or three…
Break Up Reality Check #1.
There is no good time to break up. Or said another way, it’s always the right time to break up with someone. You might be thinking, but it’s the holidays! How could I possibly break up with someone during the holidays? Quick answer: The same way you would break up with them if it wasn’t Christmas or Hannukah or Valentine’s Day. Because there is always a reason to delay the uncomfortable. It might be the holidays now, but soon it will be their birthday or a long-planned trip to Jamaica or their grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary party. You see where this is going?
The moment you realize that the person you thought you were in love with is the wrong person, or you figured out you didn’t love them at all but were “in lust” until the sexual haze wore off, or this person is pushing to go to the “next step” and you realize, nope, I do not want to go there… That’s the right time to break up.
Break Up Reality Check #2.
If you don’t break up now, you are lying. To yourself, to them, to your family, friends, neighbors, and pets. Do not fool yourself into thinking it’s OK to postpone the painful inevitable break-up. My daughter got this advice from her therapist when she was planning to break up with someone: If you choose to postpone the break-up you are at risk of lying. Not only that but you are placing yourself in a position where your significant other will likely want to interact physically. How would you feel if they tried to kiss you? Have sex with you? If you are planning to break up, taking part in physical acts of affection that you are not into would be emotionally unhealthy for you.
Break Up Reality Check #3.
No matter when or how you break up it’s gonna hurt. The level of emotional pain involved in a break up has little to do with timing. You are a compassionate, kind person. You would like to avoid hurting anyone, at anytime, much less someone you had a romantic relationship with.
Even if you decide to ghost the person, there will be discomfort involved, unless you’re a sociopath which I’m guessing you aren’t. I do not recommend ghosting for self-esteem reasons – yours not theirs.
So because the pain will happen, do as much preliminary planning as you need to. Talk it over with your therapist before and after. Plan to surround yourself with supportive people who get it. Let your friends know so that they can have plenty of post-breakup chips and tequila ready for you for when you debrief them. Plan to sleep-over where you feel safe and cared for. Do not be alone.
You may need time to heal after the break up no matter what time of year it is. Or you may feel so much relief you’ll wonder why it took you so long. Either way, be proud of yourself for doing the hard thing for the right reasons, healthy, good for you, reasons.
And if you think talking with a counselor who will definitely get it would be helpful to you, contact us right away. We stand ready to stand with you.
Elvira G. Aletta, PhD, Founder & CEO
Life gave Dr. Aletta the opportunity to know what it’s like to hurt physically and emotionally. After an episode of serious depression in her mid-twenties, Dr. Aletta was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that relapsed throughout her adulthood. While treatable, the cure was often as hard to bear as the disease. Later she was diagnosed with scleroderma, another chronic illness.
Throughout, Dr. Aletta battled with anxiety. Despite all this, Dr. Aletta wants you to know, you can learn to engage in life again on your terms.
Good therapy helped Dr. Aletta. She knows good therapy can help you. That’s why she created Explore What’s Next.
Today Dr. Aletta enjoys mentoring the EWN therapists, focusing on coaching and psychotherapy clients, writing and speaking. She is proud and confident that Explore What’s Next can provide you with therapists who will help you regain a sense of safety, control and joy.
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