How Breaking Up Will Save Your Relationship (6 Ways!)
Breakups suck. You have no appetite but somehow you can’t stop eating ice cream. You can’t sleep but you can’t get out of bed. Your sadness is piled as high as the dishes in your sink. The one person that you’d normally rely on when you feel like this can’t help you because they dumped you!
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Breaking up is what I’m trying to avoid. How can it be a good thing?”
First off, breakups aren’t the end for many relationships.
According to a 2013 study by Kansas State University, one in three couples who live together have broken up and got back together. Not only that, but nearly half of people aged 17-24 have returned to an ex after breaking up!
So why do these couples reconcile? And how can breaking up help you stay together in the long run?
1. Breaking up forces you to face your problems
A relationship is like a frog in a pot of hot water. I know, I know but it makes sense, trust me.
If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will feel pain and jump out immediately.
But put a frog into a pot of room temperature water and then slowly raise the temperature, the frog won’t notice until it’s cooked and ready to eat. Yum.
Some couples just keep sweeping problems under the rug. This causes tensions to rise slowly until the relationship reaches a crisis. A breakup can be the jolt of boiling hot water that will wake you up and make you change your situation.
And like that hot little guy, your relationship can escape, charred, but alive, to fight another day.
2. The time apart will make you stronger people
I’m always saying that independence is key to a happy relationship. Often couples get into trouble, and then break up, because they rely too much on each other for happiness.
The idea that you NEED your partner to be happy can be really damaging. This carries with it the silent implication that they’re responsible for your happiness and if you’re not happy all the time, they’re doing something wrong. That’s a big burden for you and your partner to take on.
Now that you’re apart, you don’t have anyone to rely on other than yourself. You’ll be forced to figure out how to be happy on your own, develop your life as one person rather than one half of a couple, and find your own interests and your own ways of coping with this shitty thing we call life.
his doesn’t mean growing apart it simply means growing… apart. When you come back together you’ll have the reassurance that you don’t need them to survive. You’ll know that you’re together because you’re CHOOSING to spend your time with them because you love and value them as a human being. This is what strong relationships are built on.
3. It gives you distance to see what wasn’t working
It’s not always easy to see what isn’t working in your relationship because you’re too close.
You need some distance to truly get a good sense of what’s wrong.
Think about your past relationships. I bet you can look back now and see exactly why they didn’t work out. You didn’t have enough in common, they didn’t treat you right, you wanted different things. But at the time, everything seemed rosy, right?
This can be the same with your current relationship. After a few weeks or months apart, you can objectively look at the relationship. You can see what was good (a lot), and what wasn’t (a few big things) and decide what needs to be addressed to make the partnership work.
This distance is often enough to give you the perspective you need to turn the relationship around.
4. It shakes things up
Relationships can get into ruts really easily. It can actually be worse the closer and more connected you are. Your lives get super in sync, you do everything together and things are great. But soon you realize you always seem to do the same things, you’ve drifted apart from your friends and you’re so entrenched in this routine that it’s hard to even think of your life before the relationship.
A breakup will shake up your day-to-day in a way that’s going to be uncomfortable but can be beneficial too.
Maybe you can’t hang out with your usual friends because they took your ex’s side in the breakup? Now you can catch up with other friends who you haven’t seen in forever.
Thursday night was date night? Use that regular time you set aside to take a yoga class, or just hang out alone, eat doritos, and enjoy some of your newfound freedom.
These are all going to lead to big changes in your life and change is good. If your relationship suffered because you were both bored, a breakup could be just what you needed to realize this.
5. It can help you figure out what you want
Relationships can end because one or both of you don’t know what you want. This kind of confusion causes tension because you don’t know what’s expected of you. Maybe you weren’t able to rely on them but you were too afraid to talk to them about it and that caused resentment. Maybe they smothered you with too much attention.
After you’ve been apart for awhile you’ll be better able to answer these questions:
- What do I miss about them?
- What do I not miss?
- How did they change my life on a daily basis?
- What’s something I expected from them that was unreasonable?
- Was I fully invested in the relationship?
- Did I take enough time for myself?
- Did I allow them to have freedom in the relationship?
- What’s something I wasn’t willing to do for them? Should I have?
Answering these questions can help you figure out what you’ll do differently when you get back together.
6. It will show you both how being single sucks
I think we can all agree that the single life is rough. You’re expected to meet new people, constantly put yourself out there, and put on pants and leave the house. And the worst part, after a particularly heinous date, you can’t come home and talk trash about them to your partner because you don’t have one because you’re single. You have to just tweet about it and then go to sleep alone.
I know, bleak, but your ex feels the same way. Sometimes just taking this time apart can make you both realize that you were taking each other for granted.
You’ll be much happier staying in together than frantically swiping on Tinder,
This is why it’s crucial to cut off contact and stop sleeping together during this break. It may seem harsh but the more you maintain boundaries now, the sooner you’ll be back together.
Now let’s talk about how to get the most out of your breakup.
You and your ex have broken up so act like it. Set boundaries! Don’t keep hanging around together, calling them on the phone, or even texting. It might seem like a big step to cut off contact but it’s going to help in the long run. If they ended things but won’t leave you alone, cutting off contact will make them realize that this is for real and that they’ll have to take steps to get you back.
Try new things
What are some things you didn’t or couldn’t do when you were together? Maybe you always wanted to ride a motorcycle but you knew your ex wouldn’t approve. Now’s the time.
Maybe you were too busy to get to the gym as often as you’d like when you were together. This could be your chance to do that triathlon you’ve always wanted.
Maybe you wanted to travel the world but they couldn’t take time off work. Get out there!
Think of the things you’ve always wanted to do and now that you have more free time, do them.
Date new people
Dating may be the last thing you want to do right now. That’s okay, there’s no rush. But don’t wait too long.
Dating someone new will give you a chance to practice dating again, get some confidence and relight that romantic spark that may have been missing towards the end of your relationship.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it will make your ex super jealous.
Breaking up means you’ve got more time on your hands now. This time can either hurt you or it can help you. You need to take your time to get over the breakup but don’t spend all your time wallowing in sadness.
If they wanted to end things before, are they going to want you back now that you spend all day on the couch, elbow deep in a pizza?
This time is a gift. Take stock of your life. Ask yourself “How could it be better?” and then take action. This could mean getting healthy, going to therapy, spending more time with your family, or taking on more responsibility at work. If you set goals and throw yourself into them, pretty soon you won’t be thinking about your breakup.
And seeing you go for your dreams will impress your ex and make them wonder why they broke up with you in the first place.
Real Talk: whether you got dumped, broke up with them, and even if you’re just taking a break from the relationship, don’t waste your time pining for them. Sure you miss them. Sure, you feel horrible and you’re going to do everything in your power to fix this but this time apart is happening whether you like it or not so you need to get something out of it. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for them. The more you make the most of this time the better partner you’ll be when you’re back together.