A break up that ends a relationship can be especially difficult in midlife. You might wonder if the decision to move on is the right one, or even how to handle things so there is as little drama as possible.
Sometimes midlifers have been dating the same person so long that they are afraid to be "out there" again. Once you decide that a change is right for you, here's how to move on with kindness.
Center Yourself Before Talking With Your Partner
While it might seem obvious, many breakups happen when people are angry. This makes it harder to say goodbye and move on from the relationship, and also creates negative feelings that you might bring with you to the next love interest you meet.
Before you sit down to talk about a break up, meditate or pray about what you want to say. Think of the positive things you've learned from the relationship, which will help you look at your partner with love. This will help you be as kind as possible when it comes to delivering your decision to leave.
No one wants to hear a line from a movie or some phrase that's been used over and over again. Every relationship is unique, so make sure your break up speech is too. Avoid things like:
- It's not you, it's me.
- I just need a change.
- I'm not sure what happened, but I want out of this.
- I don't love you anymore.
- This isn't going where I want it to go.
Instead, figure out why you'd like to leave, and make it personal to your relationship without being hurtful. Remember, you stayed in the relationship for a reason. Don't get angry at your partner for the "time" you put in or because you didn't get out of it what you thought you would.
Ask What Your Partner Wants
A good way to start the discussion about a break up is simply to ask what the other person wants out of the relationship. This will prompt them to either admit that they weren't happy either, or that you both seem to want different things. When you start off the conversation this way, there is less argument and hurt about ending the relationship.
Skip the Promise to Be Friends... for Now
Midlife relationships very often start or end as friendship. While promising to remain friends might seem like a "nice" way to end things, in actuality it can cause more hurt down the road.
In order for two people to move beyond their relationship, they need to experience the steps of grief so they can accept the end of the romance in a healthy way. When you promise to "stay friends" right away, you inadvertently put yourself or your partner in a holding pattern for grief. In other words, you never properly accept the end and therefore never really move forward.
Instead, let time be your guide, but don't force it. Tell your partner that if at some point in the future you two happen to become friends, you might be open to it, but for now you need to say goodbye.