For whatever reason, things just aren’t like they used to be between you and your partner. You feel like the love in your relationship is gone, but what do you do now? Break up? Stay together? Here are a few things you should start to do in order to help you cope with the situation at hand before you make any life-altering decisions.
- Talk to someone. Talk to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, family member, or professional therapist. You don’t have to tell them every detail about your personal life, but it does help sometimes to talk it through with someone you feel won’t judge you (and can maybe give you some good advice). Even better if it’s someone you know has been through a similar situation. Find someone who will listen and let you vent and then let them know that you really appreciate it.
- Write it down. Take this time to write all your feelings down in a journal or even on the notepad app on your phone. Just putting your feelings down on paper can help you get the mental clarity you need. You’ll be better able to express how you feel after you do this, and that’s especially important when you’re making a big decision like whether or not to end a relationship.
- Get your life sorted out. What I mean by this is to get all those little things that you would need to do if you guys split sorted out. Gather your important paperwork, crunch the numbers of your shared rent, and see if you can afford the apartment alone. Open a bank account that’s not joined with his if you have one. Call your cell phone carrier to see how much it will be to have your lines separated and get your own plan. Make yourself a budget. Plan out how things are going to go if you guys decide not to stay together. It’ll make it easier when the time comes.
- Allow yourself to grieve. The relationship you used to have, for whatever reason, is gone. Your only choice now is to move forward. You can do that on your own or you can try to work things out. If you go with the latter, it will likely evolve into a new relationship moving forward. You guys will come out the other side of this either better and stronger or worse than ever before. Before you make the big decision, allow yourself to grieve your old relationship. Go ahead and listen to your song on repeat, read his old love letters (or texts), and have yourself a good cry. Wallowing in those feelings for a short period of time won’t hurt you. In fact, it will allow you to heal faster if you let yourself feel and process those emotions.
- Have the hard talk. It’s time. You need to talk about it. Pick a date and time that you won’t have any distractions. Put your phones away, sit down at the kitchen table (don’t lay in bed or chill on couch), and have a serious discussion. Tell him what you’ve noticed about your relationship and let him know you aren’t comfortable continuing the way things are. If you’re set on breaking up, do it kindly but swiftly and don’t give room for interpretation. If you aren’t, offer options: couples counseling, a week away together to bring the romance back, regular date nights, etc. What is it you feel you’ll need in order to bring the love back? Don’t forget to see his side, too. Ask him questions. Find out how he feels and what he needs and then evaluate honestly whether you can give him that.
- Repeat steps 1-4. After you’ve had that conversation, things may or may not change how you feel. You may need to start back on steps 1-4 with this new information in order to really process how you feel and what your options are.
- Make a decision. There’s not much to be said about this other than what it is. You’re going to have to decide if you want to stay together and work it out or not. It’s as simple as that.
- Think carefully about that decision before proceeding. You don’t want to make a decision you’ll regret, nor do you want to make that decision when your emotions are running high and you’re not thinking clearly. Think about how the decision you believe you want to make will change your life and if you’re OK with that, you know it’s the right one.
- Take action. If you’ve decided to break up, now’s where all your work in step 3 comes into play. Put all those letters in a box and stash it under your bed. Change your Netflix password. Unfollow him on social media. Plan a night with your friends and sign up for a cooking class. It’s time to start your new life. If you’ve decided to work through things, then you’ve got another set of things to accomplish. Time to book an appointment with a couples counselor, start journaling your feelings, or have several more difficult conversations over the coming weeks.