A few months ago I experienced yet another breakup in my life. You would think I would be safe from this trauma/drama in making it to my 40s, but no life has other plans for me. Including heartache and despair.
The breakup I am referring to is one with a close friend of mine and not a boyfriend. It seems I have a lot more breakups with friends these days and I guess I should be thankful that it is not intimate love related, but still it hurts. It hurts just as bad.
However in this story, there is a silver lining. In fact the silver lining is so shiny, it just damn well blots out the entire dark cloud. Why? Because despite the breakup, my friend and I were able to leave on amicable terms and I thought that was pretty amazing.
I am pretty sure there are many people who face the same situations I face on a daily basis. However no one is talking about it or they are suffering quietly about it. No need! There IS a way to end a friendship/relationship when the time is up and there really doesn’t need to be any struggle.
Here are five simple tips to achieve the breakup of your dreams (seriously) so you can walk away feeling lighter and free:
- There is no Right or Wrong, Good or Bad. It just is.
My friend and I had a good run in our friendship for a couple of years but with the start of 2018, we both knew the change was coming. We weren’t sure what was about to happen but we knew instinctively that things were about to change and we needed to proceed with caution.
As the months progressed, it became evident that the change was about US. We no longer could be in each others’ lives the way we had been. Life was pulling us in different directions. I am a middle aged mom to two young boys, in a committed relationship and working full time in my three businesses. To protect her privacy and identity, I wouldn’t describe her situation but let’s just say, it was different from mine. And the differences were becoming increasingly more obvious as the months wore on. What drew us together in the first place was now vanishing quickly and we were clasping at straws desperate to save our friendship.
When our breakup finally happened, I am relieved to share that neither of us thought bad things of the other. In fact it’s the opposite! We layered praise upon praise to each other in our last breakup communication to the point where it was comical! I laughed a little, imagining someone reading our texts and thinking in a thought bubble, “Are they breaking up or making up? I can’t tell!”.
But it wasn’t for show either. We meant it. We meant every word we said when we said we enjoyed our friendship and our memories would be kept close to our hearts.
When you breakup with someone, more often than not, it is because life pulls you apart not because you stop loving that person. The love is still there but it’s not enough to sustain a relationship. So you end amicably and don’t point fingers. No one has to be the bad guy and for that, I am thankful to her for not making me out to be one.
2) Be Honest and Communicate
When we hit a rough patch we did the worst thing we could do. We holed up in our respective corners and avoided each other like the plague. Great. Of course it didn’t solve anything and it only made the confusion and discomfort worse.
When we finally decided to come out of our shells and talk about it, we felt immediate relief and peace restored! We were both feeling the same way but out of love and respect for each other, we didn’t want to say anything! We didn’t want to hurt each others’ feelings. Aww.
In finally communicating our personal truths, we realized just how much we had drifted from each other and how we could not fulfill each other needs list anymore. It made the breakup much more easier as we realized it wasn’t personal.
Sometimes when we go through things, we can only see it from our vantage point. When you communicate with someone, you can learn how they see it too and most times, its not the way you see it. It’s a valuable learning lesson that has helped soften the blow of a breakup and helped me to see things from someone else’s perspective. A game changer so to say.
3) Be Open and Be Vulnerable
While communication is key to having a successful breakup, it cannot happen this way if guards are up and barriers surround each person. Space needs to be created for open and honest communication where each person is wiling to be vulnerable to share how they are feeling.
Rough stuff! I decided in the conversation to be the first one to open up and talk about how I was feeling. My vulnerability caused her to let her guard down and speak truthfully about what I did that hurt her for which I apologized. She too apologized for things she did that hurt me and was clear to let me know that she didn’t mean to ever hurt me. It was one of the most profoundly touching moments in my life. Two women, speaking from their heart with care and concern for the other. Powerful.
Hurt people hurt people. When you want to end a relationship with someone, attacking them will not make it an easy process. Instead of pointing fingers to the person and playing the “blame game” try speaking only to your hurts, feelings and emotions. Let them SEE you and what you are going through. Chances are, your vulnerability will cause them to be kind to you and also be honest.
4) State Clearly the Goals and Objectives
Sometimes the end of a relationship feels ominous. No one discusses what the actual outcome will look like or feel like, so then situations come up where you run into them at the local coffee shop and everyone feels awkward and out of place. Reminds me of my first school dance. Awkward.
When we ended, we noted that due to business relations we would still see each other from time to time and we were both ok with that. By acknowledging the social/work/family obligations you have with them, it makes it less awkward when you do see them at these social events.
I also stated my objectives for the breakup because really, what kind of b***h would I be if I just broke up friendships for fun? There were specific reasons for this breakup with the most noticeable one being that I was holding my friend back. She is meant for great things and in her need to help me with my businesses and my dreams, I saw too clearly she was sacrificing her own. She needed to go, even if I had to kick her out, she needed it because she deserved so much better than what I could offer her.
In being that open and honest in communication about my objectives, it brought her alot of relief and happiness. I could FEEL her exhale and feel better within herself. At the end of the day, a breakup is rejection and no one likes to feel rejected. Once she realized that I wasn’t rejecting her or her friendship but actually supporting her in achieving her goals and dreams, she felt so much better. And you know what? That made me immensely happy! Like I said earlier, there is no good guy or bad guy here. We are all just walking each other home, and sometimes we chose not to walk together.
5) Still be their Cheerleader
After all the heart wrenching talk, it was time to bring the conversation to a close and I could feel the sadness from her as I did from me. I vowed to myself to still be on the sidelines cheering her on because truthfully, there is no ill will here. She is a great person and I was so lucky to have her in my life for the time that I did. I was blessed.
The next day I woke up and sent her a motivational FB meme in a private chat. I wanted her to smile and know that I still believed in her. Even though our lives are taking us in different directions, it doesn’t mean I will stop caring or loving her. I truly will continue to do so, as I know she will for me. It’s just not in the cards for us at this time.
In the end, we never really know what’s to come in our lives. Sometimes people circle back into our lives and sometimes they came for a season and left when it was over. Despite the differences, if you chose to have a mature breakup, then you create a world of love and care, connections and possibilities. Just thinking of those things make me feel joyful, light and peaceful. I think everyone deserves to feel this way, don’t you?
Here’s to happy endings (smile) and joyful beginnings. May we know them, have them and be open to receiving them.
In love and light,