Are there responsibilities to ending a relationship?

Are there responsibilities to ending a relationship?

I say yes.

Partly because I am the dominant in my relationships, and so I feel like it’s important to plan for a good (or as good as possible) split, just like it’s important to plan for a good relationship.

But it’s not just because of that.

Looking back over the years, I have put in time with every break up to try to make it easier.

Except one. My marriage. It ended thanks to addiction and mental illness, and I was too deep and too out of spoons before I got out, and I had nothing left.

So, I also acknowledge that there are times when there is nothing that can be done.

But in other times, I believe that breaking up is another relationship stage. A pathway from one state to another, and deserves care and time.

For example:

  • I save time to be compassionate with my partner as they grieve.
  • I save time to answer “Why?”
  • I hold myself in kindness as I have to recreate and/or maintain boundaries I need during the process.
  • I do my best to not speak in anger.
  • I give myself time to grieve.
  • I leave emotional space for the rehashing of past hurts in an attempt at closure, and do my best not to rehash them myself.
  • I mourn the loss of potential.
  • I look for a way forward.
  • I plan for a positive outcome.
  • I offer my love and support (but not my life, time, and relationship as it was).
  • I communicate with as much compassion as I have in me.
  • When I am out of compassion, I don’t communicate, but say I’ll get back to them.
  • And when they need space, I let them have it, letting them know I am available for communication, if they want it—no pressure.

I also like to break up with someone while I still love/like them. I think it’s important to recognize when things are not working, and to be able to lovingly separate, rather than to wait until I hate them (or have nothing left for them), and when I’m willing to use a flamethrower to burn it all to nothing.

I never really thought much about all of this.

I just did it.

And over my life I can proudly say I’m on good terms with all the people I created long-term relationships with (more than 90 days or so), except my ex-husband.

And while I don’t regret how things ended up there—because I needed to get out—I do know that it could have been done with more grace, and I took that lesson with me moving forward.

What about you?

Do you plan for your breakups or de-partnering?

Do you give yourself and others the time and space to create closure, or to find a path to a new way of relating?

(No judgements—you have a right to decide for yourself. This is MY perspective only.)

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