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How to End a Relationship while Protecting your Mental Health


Ashley -> Health Educator
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Hi WhatToSay,

I am sorry to hear how you have been feeling. It sounds like you are in a very tough spot. You know you want to leave but you feel powerless because of the fear and sadness you are experiencing. You may want to consider individual or group counselling around the past trauma you have experienced. Counselling is incredibly helpful; especially if you are feeling stuck. I also highly recommend working on the programs here. The programs for Anxiety and Depression are based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and give excellent information and tools. I will be referring to the program in this response, but I cannot provide in-depth information in a few paragraphs, so please consider working on the program.

While reading what you wrote, the first thing I noticed was your fear of being homeless. This could be a very debilitating fear! A big part of CBT is examining our thoughts and fears. Use the questions in the highlighted link to challenge your fears: https://evolutionhealth.care/session?pageId=107&sessionId=12. My question to you is, Is it true? Could you actually be homeless? If so, how can you problem solve that? Do you think he will be willing to leave your current home? Do you need to look for a new place before talking to your partner about breaking up? Can you stay with a friend or family member temporarily? Once you have a plan in place you may feel more confident in moving forward with the separation. You are not powerless now. You can make a plan that works for you - the first step is to know your options.

Guilt is a very powerful and sometimes useless emotion. It shows me you are a very caring person but you deserve the same kind of care you give other people. Do not blame yourself. Relationships end all the time. Just because you started a relationship with this man does not mean you owe him your life. I think it is an act of kindness to be honest about your feelings and end a relationship if you do not feel it is working. He deserves to be with someone who is happy with him. You deserve to be with some you feel you are compatible and connect with. You can give him as little or as much detail as you want. How would you want him to break up with you if the situation was reversed? Consider writing down your thoughts before speaking to him. Once you have your thoughts written down in a way you feel comfortable sharing, you may be able to let go of some of the anxiety and guilt.

Avoidance is a often unhelpful coping strategy people use when they are feeling anxious. Try not to avoid addressing this as it is just prolonging the pain. He likely senses something is up. He may even be relieved to finally know what is going on in the relationship. In addition to using the program, consider using healthy coping skills to help; mindfulness, journaling, speaking with friends, exercise, and deep abdominal breathing are just a few suggestions off the top of my head.

If you are concerned about your physical symptoms consider speaking with your doctor.

So, that was a lot of things to think about, where do you think you are going to start?

Hope to hear more from you soon,

Ashley




WhatToSay
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a month ago (Edited a month ago) +1 WhatToSay 1 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo

Hi. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I am currently struggling with how to end my relationship. We've been living together a few months, I thought we would connect more and I wanted to make him happy. He's not necessarily a bad guy, but I just don't think we're compatible. I don't love him the way either of us deserves. I care for him and feel a need to take care of him for whatever reason, but I'm so unhappy continuing on. I've been feeling so much guilt having these thoughts of ending the relationship. It's manifesting itself physically in the form of nausea, chest pain, heart burn, the feeling of choking, shivers, loss of appetite and other physical responses. Anytime he asks "what's wrong" or "are you ok" I just freeze up. I'm afraid I'll get to the point where I'll break down and not handle the situation or deliver the message the best way. I don't want to end up homeless or stuck in an awful living situation. I'm constantly worrying about how to do it and fear the worst. I know a great deal of this comes from a past relationship where there was abuse. I felt powerless. Despite any awareness I have of all these things, I cannot seem to overcome the physical response and panic when faced with carrying out the action. The rest of the time, I feel like I'm in a void. Nothing that used to make me happy interests me anymore. I just constantly feel sad.

Any support, tools or advice is appreciated.


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