Mental HealthRelationshipsWhy is it hard to end a romantic relationship?

Ending a romantic relationship (even if you are the one doing it) can be one of the hardest decisions to make and execute. Constant thoughts of right vs wrong, hurting yourself or the other person, finding alternatives, feeling scared/ disappointed, worrying about what someone else may think/ say are all reasons that can blur your choice making.

Below are some of the most common reasons that come up with my therapy clients in my counselling practice:

  1. I have invested too much time.

    Time as a concept seems overwhelming if you have to make a choice between staying with a person you have spent a lot of time with and moving on. Remind yourself- the success of a relationship is defined by the health of the relationship and not its longevity. If you have spent 100 days with someone but unhappily, you do not have to make the count 101. It is never too late.

  2. I am too attached to leave now.

    Fearing how you will feel or behave post the breakup and if you shall be able to manage your emotions can sometimes come in the way of you doing what you really want to. No one likes to feel discomfort, sadness and loss. And while you want to avoid pain, ask yourself if you can truly completely avoid it (because staying in the relationship is causing you pain too). Your attachment to yourself matters as much as that to another person.

  3. They will change one day.

    Hoping or wishing for the other person to change can act as a bait for you and not let you have the hard conversations. However, hoping for another person to change is unfair for both you and them. For them, because they can change only when they want/ need to. For you, it is unfair because you are creating a parallel reality, which may/ may not come to. Date them, not their potential.

  4. I cannot be selfish.

    Ending a relationship can seem selfish if you think you are the only one who wants it or if your partner shows a lot of affection towards you and you are unable to reciprocate. In those times, have a self talk with yourself. Your partner deserves to have a healthy and happy partner- someone who truly wants to be with them. Your partner needs to know the truth and feel love, not pity.

  5. What will others think?

    Judgment from other people can bring a sense of embarrassment. If you and your partner have mutual friends or if you are a part of the same educational/ work institutions, or if your families are aware, the thought of comments from other people can make you wonder if it is the right thing to do. Either way, you are the only one living your life and are in that relationship with your partner. Friends and family would rather have the two of you feel good around each other than be miserable. They accepted your relationship, they can accept the breakup too. (And if not, they can make their choice)

  6. What if I end up alone for the rest of my life

    The thoughts of not finding another person to share your life with, can be daunting. And while these thoughts seem completely rational in the moment, thoughts are not facts. Sometimes, you may be better off connecting with yourself and another person on a true intimate level, than staying with someone due to fear. Relationships need to be based on wants and connection, not because of the fear of being single. If your sense of happiness and security is dependent on another person, your next partner may also give you what you are looking for.

  7. But they love me

    It is devastating to let go of someone, if you feel they love you. Humans love to be wanted and needed. When a person loves us, that is exactly what we feel. This is similar to you feeling selfish, but it is not the same. Because here, you are operating under the fear of hurting them. Remember, you are hurting too. The hurt of the breakup may lessen someday, but the constant hurt today is not going anywhere.

  8. What if this is what I deserve

    Normalizing an unhappy and unhealthy relationship can also be a result of low self confidence or a reflection of your worth. We accept the love we think we deserve. And sometimes, all you need to remind yourself is of your worth. You are a holistic, brilliant and a beautiful person. You deserve to experience a healthy relationship (and so does your partner). Do not minimize your pain and hurt. Give yourself the attention you want from others.

  9. I do not have the capacity to do this again with someone else

    Feeling that you do not have the energy or capacity to invest in another person/ relationship can also stop you from ending the relationship you do not want to be in. However, if you could do it once, you can do it again. Remember, whatever you do, you are doing it for yourself. You chose to be in your current relationship because it made/ makes sense to you. You can again, choose for yourself. And if you do not show yourself love, respect and accountability, it may be easy for others also to treat you that way.

  10. Maybe this is how it is supposed to be anyway

    Making yourself believe that all relationships are like this or the next one will be no different, can be a reflection of your past relationships or the ones you have seen around you (parents/ relatives/ friends etc). If you are feeling this way, give yourself a hug to reassure that you are capable of being with a person you align with. You are worthy of building a relationship with mutual respect, trust and love. Making effort in a relationship is not the same as accepting constant arguments/ disrespect or having nothing in common.

  11. I have failed

    The end of a relationship can be equated with failure by some people. Especially if you look at most things as targets and achievements. However, relationships are not a competition or tests with score cards. Being human is complex, and there is no right way to be. To be human, is to experience yourself (and others) and in the truest and most authentic ways. Do not shy away from experiencing yourself. It is a gift to be honored.

To reflect more, ask yourself:

  1. “What stops me from doing what I want to do?”
  2. “What stops me from being who I am/ want to be?
  3. “What is my motivation to stay where I am at?”
  4. “What changes/ repercussions am I fearing?”
  5. “How will my life be different if I make a different choice?” 

Love can be unconditional. Relationships do not have to be.

I am always open to knowing what you are struggling with and would love to share tips that can help you. Feel free to drop a message.

Until next time. 🙂

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