With Love and Gratitude

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35 Questions and Thoughts Before You Say, "It's Over"

Ending relationships can be difficult, but sometimes troubled love can be saved.

When you first met you thought that the two of you had been touched by the same star.  Then something happened.  Love began to crumble. You made excuses. There was tension when you were together.  But you reasoned that it was better than being lonely.  Because of one’s fear of the monster called “Alone” too often people stay in relationships long after these have ended emotionally, physically. 

Even with college students in new relationships a break-up can create overwhelming sadness and extreme stress. The University of Georgia Health Center has an entire page devoted to ending relationships.

The United States Census Bureau reported in 2011 that the latest figures compiled in 2009 indicated that 83 percent of all currently married couples had made it to their  fifth anniversary with about 55 percent married at least 15 years.  However, if you look closely at the numbers half were separated and these did not figure into the stats.  Also there are no figures for the un-divorced; that is, those no longer wishing to stay married but for various reasons, oftentimes financial, remain together.

Since writing “20 Ways on How to Say “It’s Over” in August, I have expanded the list based on readers' comments and futher research.

35 Questions and Thoughts 

  1. The most important question to ask yourself is this: In your heart of hearts do you believe that he or she is the one and only?
  2. If your answer is “I’m not sure” in fact you may be sure, but you are afraid to be alone.  So ask again, “Is this person the one or just the one for now?
  3. If he or she is the one for now, then read through all of these thoughts and decide how to proceed so that you do not end up being stalked or find yourself at the mercy of a raging, jilted lover.
  4. Make a promise to yourself that you will wait one week before saying “It’s over” so that you can think about when you began to question the relationship; that is, what pushed you over the edge.
  5. Before saying anything at all, write out the pros and cons of the relationship.
  6. Consider something called “the weighted average.” What if you make a list of 10 positive qualities and only one negative.  If the negative quality includes something such as severe addiction or abuse – that one trait outweighs all of the positive qualities.
  7. Write out the 5 qualities about the other person that helped you to fall in love. Was it kindness, empathy, the ability to listen, generosity of spirit, honesty?
  8. Write out at least 2 experiences that brought the two of you joy. Now ask yourself, “Can we find that place of happiness again?”
  9. Review your notes and ask again, “Is it time to say, ‘Good-bye?’”
  10. In a completely rational way ask yourself, “If he or she were to be breaking up with me, what are the words that I would want to hear?"
  11. Start from a positive position—“We have shared happy times together.” Then name two or three.
  12. Next state the reality—“Something is not working between us.”
  13. Express your need—“I need to move on.”
  14. Be willing to listen, calmly, to the other person’s reaction.
  15. Decide in advance not to argue. Do not try to counter angry words. Simply listen and say, “I know this is painful.”
  16. Acknowledge how difficult is it to say the words, “It is over.” Explain briefly that you have considered your decision carefully.
  17. Be firm. “I am not telling you this so that you will change, or do things differently. I am telling you this because I feel that this is the end of the road for us.”
  18. Decide how to answer the other person when he or she says, “Couldn’t we give it another try?   Can we go to counseling together? "
  19. Giving it another try is often dependent upon conditions. First ask yourself how many times he or she has promised to “make things right.”
  20. If you think the relationship can be salvaged and you love the other person, counseling might be a good idea.
  21. If you can agree to counseling, go into the sessions with an open mind.
  22. If you decide to see a therapist together, keep from trying to turn the session into a finger-pointing exercise with a laundry list of complaints.
  23. If you seek therapy together be honest, but kind.
  24. If therapy is out of the question, in saying, "It's over," be honest, but kind.
  25. If your love asks if there is someone else, whether the answer is yes or no, consider saying:  “This is not about another person, but about us. We are not working.”
  26. Remind yourself that if there is someone else, the longer you keep that fact from your love, the longer it will take for both of you to heal. “When you know the truth, the truth will set you free.”
  27. If there is someone else – infidelity might be a deal breaker or a wake-up call.  Consider that leading therapists such as Michele Weiner-Davis and Dr. Ruth Westheimer know the benefits that couples can derive from therapy if they seriously want to save their relationship.
  28. Be aware enough of your partner to know if he or she is the type who will benefit from you dragging out the good-bye or performing radical surgery—that is, “It’s over. No more discussion.”
  29. Understand the consequences of a prolonged “Good-by.” It opens the door for one party doing a guilt trip on the other. It opens the door to manipulation. It opens the door to “victim” mode; that is, “How can you do this to me?”
  30. Understand the hurt and anger the other person is going through.
  31. At all times, remain calm.
  32. Reassure the other person that he or she is someone with whom you have shared a great deal of joy, but now it is time to move on.
  33. Before leaving recount at least two special moments that you shared together for which you will always be grateful.
  34. He or she will say, “Then why can’t we try again?” This is the time to remain firm.
  35. If you have made up your mind, your answer is simply this: “It’s over.” 

Kiss each other good bye and then cry. Even if ending a relationship is what you wish to do, there will be an empty feeling inside. Express gratitude for the good times, wish you partner joy and in time, you will feel the warmth of sunshine.

Additional Resources:

Copyright 2012 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved

Rita Watson, MPH, is an Associate Fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College and a columnist for The Providence Journal.


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