SORRY, NOT SORRY.
Last week I wrote a piece about how guilt during a breakup can make you feel entirely responsible for someone's pain and sadness. It will often create an inner dialogue which drowns out the reasons for having ended the relationship in the first place. Guilt implies you did something wrong but that's never the case if you're doing what's best for you. As part two on this subject, I'll be discussing the things we should absolutely not feel guilty about during and after a breakup...
I've always ended up doing the dumping in my relationships and while it's certainly not the nicest thing to do, I think overtime you'll learn when you need to break up and how to do it more gracefully. As you gain experience from past relationships you start to understand yourself better; you build up confidence, courage and truly value your self-worth; therefore be able to recognise if and when you're compromising your happiness for the sake of someone else's. Most times breaking up isn't a clear-cut decision; perhaps something isn't clicking, maybe you're tired of having the same disagreements, or perhaps you're simply not compatible anymore. Whatever the reason, don't let it hold you back from doing you. With that said, I've put together a list of things you don't have to feel bad about when you've made the decision to part ways with someone. NOT HAVING A REASON FOR THE BREAKUP Sometimes we just don't to be in a relationship, and that's okay. You don't need a specific reason to end things and you're not obligated to stay in a situation that doesn't make you happy. If you're not feeling it, you're not feeling. Period. BLOCKING AND/OR REMOVING THEM FROM SOCIAL MEDIA I don't know about you but deleting any sign of an ex and going no contact can really help the brain move on from the relationship. Regardless of whether you have any ill-feeling towards an ex, getting them off social media feeds and blocking them so they can't reach out to you is the best way to train your brain to move forward. This actually allows your brain to build new neural pathways enabling it to rewire itself to help you heal from the breakup. "WE CAN BE FRIENDS RIGHT?" — NO. This is one of those typical dating conundrums but I know where I stand on this and I'm sure many people reading can agree with me here. There are a whole lot of people you can be friends with that are not your ex. Remaining friends not only interferes with healing from the breakup (from both sides) but it also interferes with development of normal, healthy romantic relationships in the future. Personally I think the healthy thing to do is wish each other well and go about your separate ways. WANTING YOUR STUFF BACK Just remember if it's your stuff then it belongs to you so you have every right to take it back. The best approach is to ask politely and directly. Arrange a mutually convenient time and place, then take your items and go. Don't faff around and don't waste time, be sure to minimise any drama! HOW THEY COPE WITH THE BREAKUP Everyone is going to experience some form of hurt or emotional pain in our lives. But you can't stay with someone for the sake of protecting their feelings. Once you've ended things with your partner, you no longer have a say in how they spend their time or where they should be directing their feelings. Also (not to sound like a complete asshole) they're really not your problem anymore. UPSETTING THEIR FAMILY/FRIENDS It's pretty shit when you've built a close bond with their family and friends, but that's just how it goes. It's simply part of the process. The focus is now on you, not them. However worth noting it's entirely possible to build that bond again after the breakup (much later down the line) without any awkwardness. FYI: I'm very close with some of my ex's friends now and we maintain our friendship in a way where I don't need to see or speak to my ex (we broke up nine years ago).
GETTING RID OF THE MEMORIES To be honest managing a break up is a very personal thing. In terms of purging all the memories, it worked very well for me. I'm not one to dwell on the past so once I had done all of that it kind of felt like a very nice and successful spring clean. For others, having no reference to an ex means no trigger of thoughts or prevention from moving on.
MOVING ON When you're in a good place emotionally and are ready to date again, then go for it. Whether it takes you a few weeks or a few months to get over your relationship, what you do is none of your ex's concern. You don't have to put your life on pause out of respect for your ex. His/her feelings are no longer your concern but your happiness is. After any unhappy relationship, you deserve peace and joy, even if your ex struggles to find the same experience. That doesn't make you selfish or a bad person. As cheesy as it sounds, when one door closes, another door opens... maybe not immediately, but it will. One day you'll look back and be grateful for the decision you made.