Coping when a relationship ends


Thoughts on Endings

The time just before and after a relationship ends can be especially painful times for many of us. Perhaps we are the “ender” – the ending is our choice. Perhaps we are the “endee” and we are shocked, devastated, and in deep emotional pain at the other person’s decision. Or, best case scenario, perhaps two wise and mature people have come to realize that the differences between them are so deep that they have no future together despite a loving past. Wherever we may be on the continuum of relationship endings, the end is rarely without pain of some sort. There are almost always “what if’s?”

More and more frequently I have found that people who seek me out as their coach have relationship issues. That may not be their initially stated reason, but eventually it surfaces. Some time ago I was corresponding with a client on this topic, and some words came to me. As I re-read them today it occurred to me that these words, plus additions that I made later, might be helpful to others today, even though they were originally written some years back. Naturally I have changed them to hide identities, and to make them more generally applicable.

My thoughts

Remember that you had good times in your life before you met this special person. This proves that you do not need that person in your life in order to enjoy yourself. Whatever happened, you have learned and grown while you have been in that special relationship, and that perhaps that growth was, in the grand scheme of your life, what was important.

Know that what will be, will be, and that sometimes we find the most peace by going with the flow. Perhaps the two of you will find that you can continue in a friendship, perhaps not. It could be that the two of you will find a way around the difficulties that seem to be driving you apart. On the other hand, perhaps it is time for your paths to diverge. Whichever way it goes, you cannot impose your will on someone else. It takes two to tango, and it takes two loving people who are willing to work hard at it to make a healthy and happy relationship.

Unfortunately, though, it takes more than love alone. Whatever the two hold most valuable must be compatible. They do not have to agree, but what makes one happy must not be what would make the other unhappy. If that compatibility cannot be achieved, then what is most important is that you continue to live your own life. More, that you life it in a way that is rich, fulfilling, and that furthers the growth that you have seen seeking, with or without the loved one.

Doors open, doors shut, doors open. It is the same with windows. Every ending is just one side of the coin – the other side is a beginning, for no active phase of our lives can end without another phase beginning.

You can do this!

Know that what matters most is that you be true to who you truly are, at your innermost core. To go into, or to stay in, a relationship that denies a part of who you are is to kill off a part of yourself. If a way can be found for you to be accepted fully, then that would be wonderful. However, always remember that you as your whole self are more valuable than any relationship can ever be. When you are not whole you cannot be wholly in a relationship, and that relationship therefore cannot be all that it needs to be for either of you.

Another view is that if you are not whole, then your partner is not partnered by a whole person, which is something that all of us deserve. Equally, you deserve to be a whole person, and not to deny yourself to suit somebody else.

An ending will hurt. That is inevitable. Yet it is the end of something. It is not the end of everything. You existed before, you laughed and were happy before. You can laugh and be happy again. Give it time.


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