Why is it difficult to decide to break up?

Overall, everything is bad. Your relationship doesn’t make you happy, your status in social networks has been set to “it’s complicated” for a long time. If you weigh good vs bad the latter will definitely prevail, but… you are still together. 

Despite that, as soon as you think about breaking up you feel cold inside. And once again, you close your eyes on all the evidence and convince yourself that it is just a phase. You just need to have more patience – change your strategy, approach things differently, take a vacation, have a child, etc. Why?

Any breakup is a painful emotional experience. You can’t prepare yourself for it. The thing is that you are not just losing a specific person, but also a great chunk of your dreams, plans, hopes, and illusions – and this is very painful! Saying goodbye to all of this is even more difficult than to your significant other. 

It is in human nature to seek stability. Just like a child asks Mom to read the same fairy tale, again and again, dutifully correcting her “mistakes”, for us, for adults, it is important to have something constant, unchanging, and stable in our worldview. And very often we choose our relationships to be this “stable” zone.

It is important for both: for those whose childhood environment was kind and supportive (they want to bring back that cozy feeling) and for those who’ve never had this feeling of safety and security (they strive to gain this stability that they’ve never had).

And even if we put aside these subconscious needs, people still have a lot of reasons that make breaking up difficult.

  • Believing in fairy tales. Even when everything is bad, we are extremely skillful at convincing ourselves that “things will change”. It is just that phase of the moon, Mercury in retrograde, unlucky year, or scheming relatives. And even though your rose-colored glasses may break into your eyes, while they are intact and firmly planted on your nose you can continue believing that “everything will work out”.
  • “What if I never meet anyone?” Oh, how stubborn this myth is! The fear that only one person is written into the book of your life can literally paralyze and force you to live in “I bear my cross” regime for many years. How can you break up if, in your head, the alternative is loneliness with cats?
  • Another story is about “nobody will love me LIKE THAT” or “I will never love again”. This one will give you a strong argument to continue resuscitating a long-dead horse. 

Your relationship may be ending. Or you understood that it doesn’t fulfill your needs. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is important to remind yourself that you need to let go of things that stopped being alive, so that something new could take their place. This something new needs space and a warm invitation.

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