Blindsided By A Sudden Breakup?
Let's face it: breakups, separations and the "I need space" talk happens. No one likes it but it's something that can occur in relationships. It sucks, it's never fun, but it does happen. If it didn't at least occasionally happen, then you probably wouldn't be reading this article. And, I probably wouldn't be writing it.
Everyone always points out what to do immediately following a breakup but hardly anyone ever comes from the perspective angle of what not to do. In this article we'll be covering both.
Even in some of the best relationships it isn't all that uncommon for women to experience a sudden shock when their partner decides that they want to end the relationship. Sometimes we have an indication that the breakup is imminent, but sometimes it knocks us off our foundations like a wrecking ball.
It's important to note the differences between merely needing some personal space or some alone time for reflection, and an actual permanent split, although in the heat of the moment it can sometimes be indistinguishable . While autonomy is vital and we all sometimes want some me time here and there, a full-on breakup is a different animal. While your head is spinning and your stomach is in knots, it's difficult to think clearly when you're in shock. This opens a door for us to engage in responses we may regret in the future. The way we respond following a breakup lays the foundation for what will be the beginning of your future together when you do reconcile.
While (hopefully) your relationship is breakup-proof and you'll never be blindsided by a sudden breakup, arming yourself with the knowledge of how to respond including what not to do immediately following the breakup bomb or seemingly random radio silence, you'll have the proverbial tools-in-hand to best handle the situation.
YOUR IMMEDIATE, IN-THE-MOMENT RESPONSE WILL LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR YOUR FUTURE RECONCILIATION
Don't Press Your Internal Panic Button: When your entire world is suddenly shattered with what feels like a nuclear hit, it's important to give yourself a minute to process the breakup - especially when the dust hasn't settled yet.
It's ingrained in us as humans to want to protect what we view as valuable and this rings true for the relationships we hold dear to us. However, in the heat of the moment emotions are running high and let's be honest, our mind is still spinning. This can lead to things best left unsaid and future regret for confrontational behaviors, accusations and blame.
What To Do Instead: I totally get it; your mind is spinning on nitro and your flushed with fury and slapped with painful disappointment. You've nurtured your relationship - possibly even for decades - investing your love, energy and even your time into your future together. While you probably really, really want to scream, blurting-out all of is faults and all the times you've dutifully remained quiet about them, save it for when you're alone to have that catharsis (or at least wait until you make it to your car!)
I'm not saying that you shouldn't have emotions, you absolutely do have them and your feelings are perfectly justified and valid. I'm saying in the heat of the moment, it's too easy to allow our in-the-minute emotions to take over. That said, keep your cool like Fonzie - or at least do your best.
Don't Let Your Super Sleuth take Over: The human instinct has an urge factor that makes us want to vent our feelings in order to receive validation while simultaneously spying on your partner's social media. This is especially true in today's electronically connected world where we can scroll through images of Kim Kardashian's latest fawn shaded catsuits whilst simultaneously listening to the latest news podcast and engage in multiple conversations about both, all at the same time.
The pull to connect isn't one with a feather's touch.
We can't help it, we're emotional creatures who crave to be in the know, especially when it comes to our partners and relationships. We sometimes have to fight the desire to become an armchair detective. It's an enormous internal pull we are sometimes faced with when we want to be in the loop with regard to our burning questions, particularly in relation to our partner, and especially immediately after a breakup. This is especially true when a breakup occurs as an unexpected ambush. However, it's highly advised to fight these notions with the might of a thousand armies. When hurt feelings are fresh and we're in a vulnerable spot, it's easier than ever to lose our filter. We may end up saying or posting something we may later regret.
What To Do Instead: Give yourself some time away from the internet. While it's important to remain connected with close friends, family and work for reasons of safety and courtesy if not necessity, it's important to get a handle on your focus. Immediately following a breakup of any type it's vital to give yourself a moment to recoup and clear your head so you can gather your thoughts.
Jumping on the internet right after a breakup can have devastating consequences. One of my clients found herself explaining away mean spirited posts she'd made right after her split with her boyfriend months after the fact during their reconciliation date. Another shared that while she was dating her husband, she nearly had an accident on the way home following one of their heated breakups because she was scrolling his social media "likes" in hopes of pinning down a possible reason for their sudden split. While it's tempting to peek in on your partner's feed, doing so during a time we're feeling confused and vulnerable can lead to misconstruing what we see on social media.
It can also open an ugly door for an emotionally fueled, online catharsis. Remember, what you do (and say) right now becomes an aspect of the foundation you're constructing for your future reconciliation. That said, rather than suddenly becoming a cyber sleuth or emoting for general consumption, it's helpful to allow yourself some time away from the screen.
Don't Beg: Don't beg, it's a bad idea. Your partner just hit you with a wrecking ball of a breakup. Your head is spinning and your stomach is in knots. The absolute worst thing you can do right now is to reach back out to your partner to beg their forgiveness or to explain yourself. The thing is, and this is especially true when a split first happens, your partner will be "in love with" their own feelings. Arrogant, yes. But will you be able to convince them to return to your embrace? Not when the breakup is fresh in their mind, you won't.
Even though you really want to convince them to return to you, they've made up their mind. Their feelings are "set in stone" (at least for right now, they are.) That said, attempting to convince your partner that the breakup is a bad idea is tantamount to telling them that they're wrong. When we tell someone that they're wrong, especially when they've made the bold move to act on their idea to break up - which only goes to prove that they are in love with their ideas and feelings about the breakup - enough to put those feelings into action through breaking up with you, it's going to insult them. Do I get the prize for the longest run-on sentence? Probably. But it's true, if you try to convince your partner to get back together, regardless of how great your case may be, chances are it won't work. Even if it does work, it may only be for a short time until the issues of your relationship causing discord rears their ugly heads again.
What To Do Instead: Agree with the breakup. After all, they're in love with their opinions. I know you're probably thinking, "but if I agree, then they'll think I agree and then we'll never get back together again." Understandable perspective, but not necessarily so. You see, when you begin to agree with your partner's negative feelings, you're validating to them that they're right. This is important, as again, they're attached to and in love with the idea of the breakup, right? So agree. Agree, sound sincere, and shut up. The more talking you do, the more you're needling at their negative emotions. The more those emotions get poked and prodded, the more they'll come to the surface. The more they come to the surface, the more your partner will spend time dwelling on them.
Remember, the objective here is to have your partner missing you after a breakup. What you don't want them to do is lament about how annoying it was to break up with you, thus bringing up only negative thoughts and feelings surrounding the breakup - and you. That explained, agreeing with the breakup and making the counterintuitive move of making yourself scarce will help dispel their immediate negative thoughts and feelings surrounding you and the reason why you broke up.
While it's painful and can be really hard to steel yourself and try to at least look like you're moving forward, it's the best thing to do. Communication immediately following a breakup can be hard. Men tend to pull away several times before major commitment. They also tend to pull away several weeks, and even months before a real breakup. Remember, men think differently
versus their female counterparts. When it comes to getting back together, it's all about counterintuitive strategy.