Fix or flee
Mark Ronson said it best—nothing breaks like a heart. Even so, many of us dive headfirst into the deep, dark ocean of love, with the knowledge of a potentially devastating loss buried in our periphery.
Relationships are difficult enough to navigate as they are, but nurturing a bond for and being in love with someone whom we know is not good for us can be absolutely debilitating. Guilt and anguish make their way into the limelight of our emotional stage as we become torn between the need to fix and the need to flee.
Ultimately though, if we know at our very core that our partner is toxic, selfish, immature, or simply not the right fit for us, we owe it to ourselves and to them to leave.
Biting the bullet will inevitably take some emotional toughness, and might even leave us feeling as though we have made the wrong decision. But once we’ve made it, we must stick confidently to our guns without looking back, understanding that our actions are well-informed and necessary—for the sake of everyone involved. So here are five ways we can take that first step to emotional freedom.
Cut off all contact
This is inarguably the most important action we can take. The love we feel for our partner will keep us tethered indefinitely, but truly getting over them means letting go completely. Holding on even the slightest bit—whether that means scrolling down their Facebook timeline or checking up on their recently played Spotify songs—will keep them in the forefront of our mind and will make getting over them nearly impossible.
Seek help from others
Breakups are the worst, period. But leaving bad relationships can be unbearably torturous, as the negativity, guilt, and general grief of the past sometimes follows us into our recovery. If we are going to go make it through the darkness, we need at least one person to talk to while we mourn. This form of catharsis will keep us sane while the madness of the breakup rages on. It will also give us a reliable third party to consult on matters that often confuse our emotional psyche.
Have a game plan for when he reaches out
If we are the ones making the decision to leave, our partner will more than likely be unwilling to accept. If this is the case, they might make attempts to get into contact with us, even once we’ve made it clear that things have ended. In the event of undesired correspondence, we must have a resistance strategy—it can be all too easy to get sucked back into the comfort of a relationship and to justify their flaws in the midst of all our pain, lest we have a plan of action. Let us decide that if they do call, we’ll ignore them, put our phone away, and do something (write in a journal, read a good book, play with the dog, spend time with family or friends, go for a walk) that relieves the pain of their contact.
Channel your pain into something beautiful
The emotional burden of the breakup can leave us feeling utterly drained, wanting nothing more than the comfort of our own beds and a Netflix show. Although wallowing in this state is cathartic and necessary for some time, extended bouts can leave us feeling empty, directionless, and depressed. What we must do is channel our sorrow into something outside of ourselves—an outlet that will make us feel productive and satisfied. Perhaps we can bake, garden, start a project that we have been putting off, write a poem, or take up jogging.
Establish and remind yourself of your own value
Being newly single, particularly after just having left a long-term relationship, can be extremely damaging to our self-esteem. Perhaps we relied on the title or status to make us feel complete, or simply took comfort in always having someone around (even if they were ultimately not good for us). During this vulnerable time, we must remind ourselves of the traits that define us. Perhaps our empathy always makes others feel understood, or our resiliency always gets a project done in the toughest of circumstances. Whatever these beautiful characteristics might be, let us keep them in the forefront of our mind. Let us remember who we truly are, and allow this to guide us through this challenging time.