How to End a Relationship Mindfully

Not all relationships are endgame. People grow up, they change, they want different things, and as painful as it might be at the time, breakups are a part of human life. Whenever something ends it’s always associated with some negative emotions, like sadness or disappointment, even if there are brighter things on the horizon.

A lot of the feelings associated with ending a relationship are complex and can be hard to sit with, meaning it’s easier to lash out than express them in an uncomfortable scenario. However, what is probably happening, is you are getting frustrated with yourself as you struggle to vocalise the emotions coursing through your body. This is where mindfulness comes in…

Using mindfulness techniques when administering, or receiving, the words to end a relationship will help you process the intense emotions that will no doubt arise. If you’re the ‘dumper’ then practicing mindfulness and compassion will help to soften the blow of rejection for your partner and help them process the situation with more clarity and understanding. Whilst you can’t remove the negativity from the situation entirely, using mindfulness to end a relationship will make the situation more amicable and easier to process and move on from.

How to know when to end a relationship?

Knowing when it’s the right time to hit the brakes on a relationship is a tough call and with so many intense and mixed emotions swirling around it can be hard to know what you really want. When you love someone but the relationship isn’t bringing you joy or comfort anymore, ending the relationship can be a really difficult decision and often requires a lot of circling back before you reach that point. Breaking up is an entirely personal experience, and no one can tell you when it’s the right time. There are, however, a few ways you can judge the situation and work out if it’s really working for you and making you happy.

  • Your needs aren’t being met, and you’re feeling inclined to seek those needs from other people
  • You aren’t communicating properly or at all with one another
  • You’re uncomfortable or afraid to ask your partner for what you need or for more
  • Your loved ones don’t support the relationship
  • You’re feeling drained, down, tired, anxious, or stressed regularly
  • No quality time spent together

Whilst these are some tell-tell signs that the relationship might not be working as well as it once did, there really doesn’t need to be a “reason” why you want to end a relationship. At the end of the day, this is your life story that you’re writing and if you’re simply not invested in the relationship anymore and want to move on to other things, then that’s a totally valid reason and one your partner should respect too.

How to end a relationship mindfully

Just because ending the relationship is something you want and it’s the right thing to do, it doesn’t mean it will be easy or that you won’t still feel sad afterward. Ending a relationship with someone you’ve invested a lot of time and love into can trigger all sorts of negative emotions, even if you’re making the right call, and it’s important to acknowledge and accept these emotions for what they are, rather than dismissing them. It’s inevitable you’re going to feel some loss, but in the wise words of Winnie the Pooh ‘how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard’.

1.     Understand exactly what isn’t working

As a relationship starts to break down, there is a whole litany of emotions coursing through your body making you feel anything from angry, to sad, to frustrated, or exasperated. Rather than ending the relationship on a whim, take some time to pinpoint exactly what is making you unhappy or where your partner is falling short of your needs. Ask yourself a lot of why’s so you can really understand the root of the problem and explain it clearly when you decide to break things off. Sit down with a trusted friend or family member and run it past them too. Have them listen to you and ask a lot of questions, making you go into detail and explain it to them. If you can’t explain it to them then you probably need more time to process the situation before you can explain it compassionately to your partner. Once you can explain it in a few simple, short sentences, then you’re ready to have that conversation with your other half.

2.     Don’t put it off

Whilst rushing into a breakup isn’t recommended, neither is putting it off for time after time either. The longer you sit with the knowledge that you are going to end the relationship, the lower your tolerance to certain situations will get and you’re more likely to snap or lose patience. Alternatively, you might find yourself distancing yourself or pulling away, which is just as hurtful to the other person, particularly if they don’t yet know why. As soon as you know what you want and how to mindfully end the relationship, then you should avoid procrastinating and do it.

3.     Be kind, not hurtful

Breaking up mindfully is an exercise in compassion and you should do all you can to minimise the negative impact on the other person. Instead of using harsh words, raising your voice, or jumping straight into all the things they did wrong, let them know that you have truly valued your time together. Be upfront and honest but try to avoid being blunt or cruel. State exactly how certain things made you feel and the ways your needs aren’t being met so they can understand your perspective a little better. Make sure that amongst all of this, you acknowledge your downfalls and your responsibility in the breakup too. If your partner wants to talk, ensure you take the time to listen and acknowledge what they’ve said before jumping in or going on the offensive.

4.     Do it in person

After spending so much time in an intimate way with your person, using technology to end the relationship is a total cop-out and very disrespectful. Hiding behind your keyboard is not the answer and will only cause resentment and animosity between the two of you, trashing any hope for an amicable breakup. Respect the other person by taking the time to meet up together and have the conversation face to face. When you’re sitting opposite someone you will be able to gauge the atmosphere much better than over the phone by reading their body language and interpreting their facial expressions. Texts, or even phone conversations, can be misleading and it’s much harder to convey your authenticity and compassion over the phone.

5.     Take some time to reflect

After the difficult conversation is done make sure to prioritise some time to reflect on the situation. Use some mindfulness techniques to acknowledge your emotions, even if they’re negative or uncomfortable. Take a breath and sit with your emotions for a moment, allowing yourself to accept them, and then breathe out and let them go. There are so many ways that you can practice mindfulness, such as journaling, going for a walk, or colouring for example.

Ending a relationship is never a simple decision, and even if it’s totally the right thing to do, it can leave you feeling down and lonely for a little while afterward. Affirmations are a powerful tool designed to boost your self-esteem and shift your mindset back to positive. With Morale, you can send and receive affirmations with your closest friends and family, so when you’re feeling a little blue after ending a relationship you know you’ve got your support circle on the other end of the phone. Download the app from Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

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