Many people stay in lengthy and unhappy relationships because of fear. Leaving a partner, even when the relationship is not a happy one, is a difficult and painful process. Not having the courage to leave an unfulfilling relationship could lead a person to enter a more serious commitment, such as marriage, mistakenly. In a study by the University of California, researchers found that couples who were uncertain at the time of their wedding were less satisfied with their marriage and more likely to get divorced.
Make the decision to end the relationship for good. Many unhappy relationships tend to have a cycle of breaking up and starting over. If you have made the decision to leave your partner, commit to going through with it. You can start by thinking about the reasons why you want to leave the relationship and listing them on a piece of paper. Make a separate list of what you want out of a partner and future relationships. Having concrete and specific reasons will help you communicate to your partner why you do not want to continue in this relationship and will help keep your mind focused on the fact that this is not what you want for yourself. Keep in mind that your relationship could have turned into one of habit rather than love, and it is important to end it before it gets more serious.
Have the breakup conversation with your partner. This is probably the most difficult step in leaving an unhappy relationship. Many people find themselves prolonging a relationship to avoid initiating this conversation. It is important that you take full responsibility for wanting to leave the relationship and avoid trying to push your partner to break up with you first. This will only result in more hurt feelings and will lead to a bitter breakup. Be honest with your partner about the reasons why you are unhappy in the relationship. Avoid pointing fingers or bringing back menial things. Be firm and clear in expressing that this is a definite separation without leaving room for ambiguity or hopes of getting back together. It might be tempting to say, "We can still hang out," or "We'll keep in touch," to comfort the other person, but it will only make moving on more difficult for both of you.
Cut all contact with your ex-partner, at least for some time. It is crucial to limit communication with your ex to avoid relapsing into the unhealthy relationship again. Both of you will be better able to move on with your lives if you spend time apart. Although this relationship was an unhappy one, you will probably have feelings of remorse, sadness or even longing for the relationship. Try to eliminate all the reminders of your ex that surround you. Remove items that belonged to him in your home, delete his number from your phone and delete or block him from your social media account. Seeing your ex on your news feeds will keep your mind on him and prevent you from moving on. A study by researchers at the University of California found that digital possessions, such as pictures and shared profiles on social media sites, were evocative and upsetting for people going through a breakup. Spend time eliminating picture albums, videos or anything that will remind you of your ex.
Create a new life for yourself. After a long-time relationship, you might feel isolated from friends, family and the social scene. Start going out and spending time with loved ones and meeting new people. Adopt new hobbies or activities that you had always wanted to try out. After some time, you will find yourself in a more positive place and with no regrets about leaving that unhappy relationship.
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Lauri Revilla has been writing articles on mental health, wellness, relationships and lifestyle for more than six years. She moved to San Antonio, Texas, from Mexico in 2006. She holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University.
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