“Congratulations,” everyone says when you tell them you’ve got a new job. You get cards and presents, a leaving party to say well done and thank you for the work you’ve done, and good luck in your new role. You might have loved the previous job, been good at it and appreciated, certainly not been unhappy – you had just given it all you had and learned and developed from it as much as you could. Time for the next challenge.

So why can’t we see relationships in the same way? Why does a relationship need to last a lifetime to be seen as a success?

break up cake

Too many couples can stay together miserable and sexless to avoid the shame of divorce; because they don’t want their children to come from a “broken home”; because it’s too complicated financially; or they’re scared they’ll never find someone new. Are these couples really more of a success than the ones who recognise that they’re no longer compatible and split up amicably?

What if we could instead recognise when we’ve got all we can from a relationship and that it’s time to move on? What if we could look back on our past relationships for their successes rather than their failures? Even the ones that ended badly will have taught us something. Others might have been short but incredibly fun and adventurous. Another might have helped us develop and grow and learn new things that changed us so much that we were no longer a good fit for each other.

Having been with my husband since I was 18, I am fortunate not to have had too much personal experience of break ups. However, I have used my coaching skills to help many people come out of the other side of a break up feeling more positive and hopeful about their new future. Break ups are HARD. You are going through withdrawal symptoms as you would overcoming any addiction; moving through the stages of grief (except the person is still there, which is possibly even harder); and dealing with completely re-evaluating who you are as at least part of your identity was based on being their partner, even more generally being part of a couple. Even if the relationship was only in its early days or months, it’s still incredibly hard, and perhaps even harder because it usually happens more suddenly; you haven’t yet shown each other all of your bad habits and vulnerabilities or got bored; and friends and family may show less sympathy and understanding. Break ups aren’t much easier on the dumper than the dumpee either, as they will also be grieving what might have been, feeling guilty for hurting someone, and not receiving as much sympathy as they might need.

If you would like some support dealing with a break up, or even if you’re trying to decide whether you should break up with someone, please get in touch and I’d be happy to help you through this difficult time and to start to imagine and create your new future.