By Damona Hoffman and Andee Tagle

Breaking up is tough, no matter how certain your decision. My radio interview with Damona Hoffman from NPR’s LifeKit details the 5 steps you need to take (to make the break): #breakups #NPR

The producer’s write, “The life cycle of a relationship is different for everyone, but most of us can relate to the feeling that a relationship has stalled.

Whether it’s due to the intensity of the pandemic, deeply cut emotional wounds, or simply the feeling that you’re growing apart, it’s helpful to have a roadmap for how to break up in a way that is compassionate and clear to the other person.

If you’re considering a breakup, these are the five major steps that you are likely to encounter as you move through the process.

Clarify your feelings about the relationship

Ultimately, you can’t move forward with a breakup that will stick until you have absolute clarity from one or both partners that your relationship cannot be salvaged.

It’s difficult to reach this conclusion on your own. A counselor can help you unpack your feelings and help you get clear on the needs you have in the relationship and how to communicate them to your partner. People often come to relationship expert Susan Winter when they are considering a breakup. She has seen clients go back and forth on the decision for months or cry wolf and threaten a breakup as a tactic to get the relationship back on track. She recommends journaling to think through your feelings. “Figure out what you need and what you want, and be able to identify in clear language to communicate with your partner or with your couples counselor what it is that you need and want that you’re not getting.”

Once you have articulated what you need to feel safe and loved in a relationship — and done your best to meet your partner’s needs, if you still can’t shift the relationship dynamic it could be time to move on.

Determine how and when to have “The Talk”

Always awkward but very necessary, you need to decide when and where to have the talk. Different people have different approaches, and you need to decide what’s best based on your relationship. Think about how your partner might take the news and whether this will come out of left field, or if they could be expecting it and thinking it too. Psychotherapist Jack A. Daniels believes in having the conversation in a public space so you both can walk away and process separately — while Susan Winter believes you should speak in private.”

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