10 Things That Make Breaking Up More Difficult

June 27, 2011  |  
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Hindsight is 20/20.  Very few people enter into a relationship with the idea that it will end someday, thus making it harder to prepare for the day it does.  But it may be smart to at least entertain the possibility that the person who gives you butterflies now, might have your blood boiling later, and take some pointers from the following list so that the process will be less painful for the both of you.

1. Children

You no longer have just your own happiness to consider when the babies are involved. When you have children in common you can’t start packing your bags every time he leaves the toilet seat up, but you also don’t have to stay in an unhealthy situation that is doing more harm to everyone involved than good.  Don’t make the break-up any harder than it has to be and emphasize to the children that your love for them doesn’t change even if your relationship status does.

2. Shared household and finances

Aside from having offspring in common, it can be hard to separate when both of your names are on the lease or you’re the co-signer on his new luxury sedan.  In most states, you’re also not protected from being ripped off or having your credit ruined if you’re not legally married.  This is why it’s important to keep finances separate as long as you possibly can.  When it comes to living arrangements, try to keep your rent or mortgage at a price you can afford by yourself and don’t lend money you can’t afford to lose.

3. Having the same places in common

I’m glad I learned this lesson early.  The first time I was dumped,  I remember struggling to concentrate in 2nd period accounting because a class mate of mine always had stories of her new boyfriend (aka my ex-boyfriend) and all of the great dates he took her on over the weekend (aka all the same places he took me to over our 6 months of dating).  I was a sophomore and he was a senior, so I had to deal with a whole year and a half of seeing him move on with a selection of girls from our small high school.  I never dated anyone from the same school again.  This is probably a good reason to steer clear of workplace romances if you can.  Keep in mind that if things get sour, it will be extremely hard to avoid that person (and possibly all of his new love interests) if you regularly attend all of the same places.

4. Still trying to be “friends”

If two weeks ago you couldn’t keep your hands off one another it’s going to be extremely hard to jump right into talking about your new relationship troubles over chai lattes.  Some time apart is necessary in order for you to gain an honest perspective about the relationship.  If the relationship was intense enough, you may never be friends…and that’s OK.

5. Sharing the benefits of a relationship, without actually being in one

It’s over, but unfortunately your mattress didn’t get the news.  If you’ve invested feelings into a relationship that has come to an end, maintaining the physical benefits of the relationship is only going to make it harder for you when he finds someone else to keep his bed warm.  In my experience, some men cope with break-up’s by finding the next immediate warm body that smells good, has soft skin and will tell him how great of a man he is.  If the only time you can tolerate each other is when you’re naked, he might just be using you until he finds the next girl that makes his heart flutter. Only you know what you can handle, and for many women it’s hard to separate sex from emotion.  If that’s the case and the relationship is over, the sex should be too.

6. Being petty and dramatic

A break-up can bring out the “psycho” in a person that’s not ready for it to end.  Keying cars and breaking the new girlfriend’s windows is immature and pathetic and in most states it’s also a crime. Take your break-up like a grown woman (no matter how immature your former partner may be).  Stooping to his level will always have you looking like the one who couldn’t let go.

7. Manipulation

You may be worried about anything from threats of suicide to the chance that those naked pics you sexted could leak on the internet.  Threats of suicide should be taken seriously, but understand that manipulation is a selfish and desperate attempt to keep you trapped in a relationship that isn’t working.  Anyone that threatens you with embarrassment or guilt can’t possibly love you as much as they claim.

8. Learning about your break-up via the internet or text message

There’s something about a break-up via technology that always ends up misunderstood or doesn’t allow a person the closure that they need.  If you’re doing the “break-up by changed relationship status” on Facebook, you appear cowardly and immature.  If you’re the one who’s being broken up with, it doesn’t allow you the opportunity to express your feelings about the relationship.  There are only a few instances where this kind of break-up is acceptable (for example, fear of a violent confrontation).  Otherwise, if you have a shred of respect for the person, do them the justice of telling them to their face.

9. The silent treatment

The only thing more cowardly than breaking up with someone from a distance is to just plain ignore them. You may think that by changing your number and falling off the face of the Earth you’re making a clean break, but in fact you’re not breaking anything at all.  Using the silent treatment to end a relationship works about as well as ignoring a bill you don’t want to pay.  The situation will just grow worse and worse until you find a way to resolve it.

10. Cheating

Moving on to the next relationship before you end the first one does nothing but reveal how poor of a decision-maker you are.  I love how on the show Cheaters after the cheating partner is caught they start yelling, “Well if you paid me more attention, I wouldn’t have cheated.”  In my opinion, cheating is a symptom that something is lacking within the relationship.  If you are not getting what you need out of the relationship even after trying to work on it, end it.  Otherwise you’re doing everyone involved a disservice.

(A special thanks to my girls in GFC for helping put together such an awesome list!)

Toya Sharee is a community health educator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee.

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