7 Signs Your Breakup Was The Right Choice, According To Experts
As much as it might be hard to admit, sometimes people are better off apart than together. While the early days following a breakup are rarely easy, at some point the two people involved need to admit they did all they could do and realize that their breakup was the right choice. Relationships take a lot of work and require more than just being in love. Because of this, sometimes a breakup is the only cure.
"Whenever you break up with someone, there may always be a feeling of regret," Dr. Sophia Reed, PhD, a marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "At some point, you did actually care about that person, and even if the breakup was the right decision, you can still feel bad about it because of the way the relationship turned out. Or, you can feel regret about having to hurt that person through the breakup itself. Even though you feel regret does not mean that it was the wrong choice."
It can take awhile for people to see that their breakup was for the best. But when you do get there, it can feel both relieving and freeing. Instead of beating yourself up over the past, try to look at your relationship objectively. When you do, you're likely to find signs that your breakup was the right choice.
1. You Know You Gave It Your All
As much you may have wanted it to work, sometime you need to realize you did all you could do, then throw your hands up in the air. This isn't giving up; it's admitting that things are, perhaps, not meant to be.
"Upon reviewing the history of your relationship, [a sign that it was the right choice to break up is that it's] clear that separating was your last and only option," bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter tells Bustle. "You tried, and tried again, to create a shift in the relationship dynamics. No matter what effort you applied, the end-result remained the same. You were left with a suboptimal relationship."
It's in these cases that you shouldn't be hard on yourself. Even when it feels like all is lost, it still means you tried to fix something that could no longer be fixed. And that's OK.
2. You Lost Too Much Of Yourself
Sometimes in relationships people get swallowed whole and forget who they are. But healthy relationships are about two people strengthening each other, not two people morphing into one being.
"Maybe you lost a part of your identity," Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT, author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, tells Bustle.
As Chlipala explains, yes, every relationship requires meeting in the middle, but when we give up too much of ourselves — our identity, what we stand for, or our beliefs — then that's a problem.
"Giving up core values, needs, and goals," Chlipala says, is sacrificing far too much of yourself. No one, your partner included, should lose too much of themselves in a relationship.
3. There Was Too Much Betrayal
From being cheated on, being lied to, or having your privacy violated, there are many forms of betrayal in a relationship. While some are able to forgive and recover, others cannot. If you're in the latter group, then, yes, it was good you broke up.
"If someone you are dating or involved in a long-term relationship with has betrayed you in a way that you cannot get past — cheating, lying, addiction — then it is time to end the relationship for your own emotional health," Lori Bizzoco, founder of relationship analysis website Cupid's Pulse, tells Bustle. "Remember, ending a relationship with someone is a personal decision and only you know what is healthy or unhealthy for you."
4. Your Communication Was Toxic
It can never be said enough: communication in a relationship is an absolute must. It also has to be communication that's void of toxins like passive-aggressive responses, name-calling, and overall childishness.
"Healthy, positive communication is as essential to a healthy relationship as clean air is to our bodies," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "In cases where toxic communication has made things go awry, couples can work on healthy communication skills through couples therapy... and then make a daily practice of using the positive skills learned."
But in cases where neither you nor your partner were able to get to that point of practicing healthy communication or, even worse, couldn't communicate at all, then you know it was right to break up. Without healthy, productive communication, a relationship can't exist. It's like robbing a house of its foundation and hoping it will still stand.
5. You Would Have To Give Up Too Much To Make It Work
Although every relationship requires compromise, there's only so much compromise someone can give before realizing they're depleting themselves in the process. As the saying goes, "you shouldn't have to set yourself on fire to keep others warm." So don't.
"You realized you would have compromised too much to make the relationship work," Chlipala says. "While in the relationship, you would have done anything to make your partner happy and make the relationship work, including conceding on things that are important to you, [then that's a sign]... for example, you're looking for someone financially stable, yet continue to date someone who has thousands of dollars of debt."
6. Your Partner Was Unwilling To Change
Sometimes having a partner who doesn't change can be a good thing. But in other scenarios, not so much. While people are supposed to evolve and grow, it doesn't always mean that that evolution is going in a positive and healthy direction.
"Sometimes we have a partner who's willing, but not able to change," Winter says. "Other times we have a partner who's able, but unwilling to change. Either way, you're stuck with an unworkable situation. Whether it was anger issues, substance issues, or emotional issues, your partner could not (or would not) address the work that had to be done to correct their behavior."
Relationships aren't just about working together for the sake of the relationship, but working on each other individually for the sake of the relationship too.
7. You Realize You Were Together For The Wrong Reasons
People stay in relationships for many reasons and some of those reasons are the wrong reasons.
A sign your breakup was the right choice is realizing "that your fear of being alone kept you in the relationship, not because of your partner's qualities," Chlipala says. "Fear of being alone and not finding anyone else is valid, but not a reason to stay in a relationship."
If you can look back and see that you stuck around for unhealthy reasons, then pat yourself on the back. You did good by leaving.
Not every relationship is able to or even meant to stand the test of time. And that's OK. You just want to get to a point where you can realize that, instead of feeling bad about your decision.