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Breaking up with my significant other


Illustration: Isabel @byisabel

Help, I’m breaking up with my S/O

No matter what you do, sometimes a breakup is inevitable. For some, it can be nerve-wracking. For others, not so much. One thing is for sure though -- breakups are never easy. If you’re thinking about calling it quits with your significant other, here are some things to consider along the way.

Can I fix this?

There are some things that can be fixed, and others that can’t. Being perceptive enough to recognize what those are can be a little hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

A few months ago, I was having a conversation with a friend that was contemplating breaking up with his girlfriend. They’d been dating for about five or six months, but he was starting to feel uneasy about certain habits his girlfriend had. He suspected she was stealing money from him, but when he would ask, she would reason that he probably lost it or he miscounted. The final event that made him seriously consider breaking up with her was when they went shopping, and she walked out with more than they’d paid for.

The only thing I could say was, “Oh...she’s a thief thief.” Yeah, he was dating Joanne the Scammer. There was no way he would be able to fix that. He absolutely needed to end this relationship before he ended up in jail with her.

He couldn’t fix that, the same way you can’t fix someone who puts their hands on you or is possessive or is constantly lying. Chances are, those issues were there before you, and they’ll be there after you.

How do I know I’m making the right decision?

Check in with yourself. What does life without this person look like to you? Do you feel relief when you imagine it?

I’m personally not a fan of making pros and cons lists to decide. Despite what romantic comedies say, lists are for groceries -- not to decide the future of a relationship. I mean, what is the point system even based on? Let’s face it, if you have to make a list to remind yourself why you’re with someone or the opposite, you’re forcing it. When you know, you know.

And in my humblest opinion, no longer wanting to be with someone is a good enough reason to end it. If you don’t want them anymore, set them free.

Am I being honest?

What’s the real reason you want to break up? Let’s face it - the 'It’s-Not-You-It’s-Me' approach is a bunch of bull, and generally the most unlikely reason you would break up with someone. But what makes it one of the worst reasons to use, especially when you’re lying, is because it adds a layer of false hope. Thankfully, I’ve never been in that situation but if I were, I would be the toughest person to break up with. I would just assume you’re indirectly asking for my help, and you’re in luck because my love has healing powers.

Be honest about the reasons why you’re ending it so that you’re not inadvertently fueling emotional illusions. And if you’re not ready to be honest, don’t replace that reason with a lie. Most of the time, an honest explanation is that you thought you were ready for something you actually weren’t.

Aside from being honest with your S/O, be honest with yourself. Are you a self-sabotage person? Are you committing too quickly? If you don’t know, it might require some personal introspection. If you still can’t figure it out, ask trusted friends and family. Your tribe will seldom steer you wrong.

Don’t let fear influence your decision

Fear can be a great motivator when it counts, but sometimes it can lead to indecision. We’ve been dating for a long time. We have the same friends. My family really likes them. I’m scared to be alone. Look, there’s probably a gazillion reasons you could come up with to psych yourself out of breaking up with someone, but rationalizing will only work for so long. The cognitive dissonance you’re experiencing will get harder to ignore with every compromise you make. Don’t unnecessarily drag out an uncomfortable situation just because you’re scared. In the end, you’ll thank yourself for it.

Ending a relationship can be a real clusterfuck if you don’t know what you’re doing, but having a clear mind and being honest and resolute can help you get through the messy bits. Remember, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The most important thing is to make sure you’re content with the decisions you make along the way.

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