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16 Ways To Prepare For A Breakup (Mentally, Emotionally, Practically)

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You’ve already decided your relationship has come to an end, but what happens now? What do you do to prepare yourself for actually breaking up with someone?

A breakup isn’t easy to go through, even when you’re the one making the decision. Being the one to end your relationship can bring with it a whole number of emotions to process and make peace with.

But it’s not just about preparing yourself mentally, a breakup comes with a lot of practical life changes too, and it’s important to give thought to all of these elements before you go through with ending your relationship.

You need to make sure you’re ending your relationship for the right reasons. Breaking up is supposed to be final, so make sure you don’t make such a life-changing decision on a whim.

Your breakup might be motivated by personal reasons, but it’s not just about you. By breaking up with your partner, you’re going to affect their life and those around you, and the seriousness of what that means emotionally and practically shouldn’t be ignored.

Preparing yourself before you break up means that you’ll be ready for the practical implications of your separation. Hopefully this will help you process the emotional impact in a healthier way, all while being respectful of your partner and anyone else this decision affects.

Here are some steps to consider when preparing yourself for a breakup.

Speak to a certified relationship counselor about this issue. Why? Because they have the training and experience to help you prepare as much as possible for the breakup. You may want to try speaking to someone via for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances.

1. Make sure you’ve thought the decision through.

Making the decision to break up shouldn’t be done lightly. It will be difficult, emotional, and a huge adjustment to your life. Even when you’re the one ending the relationship, it doesn’t mean it’s any easier to go through.

Make sure you really know if your relationship is over before you walk away. Breakups can happen because an argument gets out of hand, or when a misunderstanding or miscommunication drives you apart. Some arguments might feel impossible to solve at the time, but with perseverance, both you and your partner can overcome them.

If you are thinking about breaking up, don’t make the decision without considering how it will affect not just you but your partner too. Seeking the help of a relationship therapist, or making sure you can confidently say that you did everything you could to make your relationship work, can help you feel more at peace with its ending.

Even if it’s something you want, a breakup isn’t comfortable or easy, and if you’re going to put yourself and your partner through a tough time, then you need to be certain it’s the right thing for you.

2. Have somewhere else to stay.

Breakups can be that much harder when you and your partner live together. Not only do you have to emotionally separate, but you must think about how to physically separate your lives too.

If you live with your partner, then you need to start thinking about how you’re going to split the financial responsibility of the property you’re in, whether it’s handling a mortgage or making sure the rent is covered.

If living together was a joint choice, then you need to treat it as a joint responsibility. You can’t expect them to pay for everything on their own if you choose to abruptly move out. Neither should you be left to pay all the bills if they decide to go. In the short term, at least, you will need to both contribute your share until other arrangements can be made.

Even the most amicable of breakups aren’t comfortable to go through. Being stuck in the same home together for a time—because you don’t know where to go or financially aren’t able to move out—can make the whole process much harder to cope with.

Think about friends or family that can help you get the space you need from your ex and start considering how to separate your lives with as little pain and disruption as possible.

3. Make sure you’re financially independent.

Some couples choose to share everything including their finances, and it can be difficult to extract what’s yours from the joint account.

Making sudden financial changes before talking to your partner can look suspicious and make them anxious of what’s about to happen.

You can’t have your money controlled by your partner if you want to break up with them, and it’s best to have some funds that you can easily access to help you when you initially need to find somewhere to live or refurnish. 

Becoming financially independent should make the whole breakup process easier to handle. It will enable you to distance yourself quickly, hopefully with as few disagreements as possible.

4. Think about who your breakup will affect.

It’s not just you and your partner that will be affected by this breakup. Usually, when you’ve been together for some time, there are friends and family members you’re both close to that will find the breakup hard too.

Particularly when you share the same friendship group as your soon-to-be ex, it can change the whole dynamic of your relationships within the group and will take time for your friends to process and get used to.

It’s not fair to try to pull them in opposite directions or question their loyalty to either you or your partner, and you need to be prepared to give them time to adjust if that’s what they need. If both of you remain in the same social circles, you should prepare yourself for having to see your ex regularly, even when the breakup is still raw.

It could take time for your friends and family to get over your relationship, so try to be sympathetic to this and give them the space and patience they need too.

5. Think about what you’ll miss.

Sometimes, it’s a while after your breakup happens that you are finally able to process what you’ve lost. While working through the emotions and logistics of a breakup, it might not be until you’re finally away from your ex that you realize how much you miss them.

It’s at this point that the breakup can hit you hardest, and you might even question whether it was the right decision for you at all.

Putting yourself in the position of “future you” before your breakup is a good way to know if this really is the right decision for you. If you’re thinking about ending your relationship, don’t just focus on everything you think you’ll gain by not being with your partner or let anger cloud your judgment toward them. Think about everything you’ll miss about them too.

Think about how it will feel to bring an end to all the good times you shared. Consider how your life will change when your partner is no longer around. You want to be absolutely sure that breaking up with them is the right decision before it’s too late.

6. Get a therapist.

A breakup isn’t something you have to do on your own. There will be a lot of thoughts and feelings to unpack, and you won’t always know how to deal with them.

The emotion of a breakup—especially when ending a long-term relationship—can take you by surprise, and you don’t want to start developing unhealthy habits because you don’t know how to react to what you’re feeling.

Having a therapist to help you talk through everything you’re experiencing can be a useful way to fully process the event in a safe space—and they won’t offer their opinions like friends and family.

A therapist will be able to help you work through the emotions you’re experiencing so you can make peace and move on from the relationship.

They can be that neutral, stable presence you need as a rock during an emotionally turbulent time; someone you can rely on to be there to listen without judgment.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

7. Grieve for the future you won’t have with your ex.

Sometimes the hardest thing about a breakup isn’t letting go of what you’ve had, it’s letting go of the future you imagined yourself having.

There might have been points in your relationship where you thought you would share a home, maybe get married, explore new places, or even have a family with your ex, all of which are dreams you now need to let go of.

You know your ex isn’t the right person for you, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t still want that same future, just with someone else. It can be daunting to step into the unknown and be single again.

You don’t know if you’ll find someone else to share those experiences with and that can make it harder to let go of the relationship you already know and have.

But if you don’t want the same things, or you know that your current partner isn’t the right person to share those experiences with, then you’re going to need to be resolute in your decision.

Try to remember that even though you may not know what your future looks like, it’s going to be better than staying in the relationship you currently have.

8. Surround yourself with support.

Breakups aren’t easy, and you’re going to need a strong support network to help you get through it.

You should be able to rely on those close to you when you need to talk, and they can also help you navigate your new single life.

A solid support system is important to help you feel less lonely or for those times you begin to question the decision you’ve made to end your relationship. Your friends and family can help fill the gap that ending your relationship has caused in your life. You can make new memories together, and they can encourage you to start meeting new people.

If you don’t have that support system, or they don’t agree with the decisions you’re making, it can make the breakup that much harder to cope with and move on from as you navigate it on your own.

Losing one relationship will make the other relationships in your life even more important, so make sure you have the right people around you to help you get through any difficulties you might face.

9. Consider carefully who you tell beforehand.

Choosing to break up with a partner is a personal decision to make, but you might find that you need to talk it through with someone before you make the final decision. 

It can feel overwhelming to keep your thoughts to yourself if you’re deciding about ending your relationship. But telling too many people can invite lots of different opinions into the situation, making it even harder for you to know if you’re making the right decision or not. It can become unfair to your partner when others know about the breakup before they do.

If you need to talk it through with someone, then pick carefully. Choose someone who will be there for you but offer a balanced view. Most importantly, they must understand that their role is to listen rather than influence. Again, a relationship counselor might be the best option for you.

10. Choose your timing carefully.

There’s never a good time for a breakup, and if you start overthinking it, there will always be a reason why now isn’t the time to do it. But, as difficult as it is to pick the right moment, you can always be respectful about how you initiate the breakup and when you do.

Choosing to break up with a partner when you’re forced to be somewhere together like a holiday or gathering with friends can not only be embarrassing, it doesn’t give either of you the opportunity to have the space you need to process it.

Being sensitive to what your partner has going on in their life—perhaps an exam coming up or a big project deadline—is important if you want to be respectful of their feelings too. As much as you might feel ready for this breakup, you don’t know how they will feel and you have to think about how it will affect their life and everything currently going on in it.

You don’t want to be that person who breaks up with someone on their birthday or another significant day, as it will only make the end of the relationship harder to move on from as you become the villain for being thoughtless about how you did it.

There isn’t an easy time or a set answer to how to plan your breakup, but taking into consideration some of these factors at least shows thought and respect for your partner who will be going through an emotional time too.

11. Plan some things to look forward to.

A breakup isn’t an easy time, and navigating a new life on your own, even when you know it’s the right thing for you, can still be difficult. You might have moments where you feel low or even regret your decision as you find it hard to adjust.

Making plans to look forward to can not only help you get through those first few months of navigating single life, but they can help you rediscover what makes you happy.

Making goals can give you something to work toward, giving you a focus in times when you start feeling lonely. Formulating plans not only helps you to start making new memories but it encourages you to put yourself first and embrace the opportunity to shape your life in the way you want it, rather than living it for anyone else.

12. Don’t expect too much of yourself.

Just because it was your decision to break up doesn’t mean that you won’t find it hard too. It takes time to disentangle yourself from a partner and find your own direction in life without them. Even when you know that’s what you want, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be easy to do.

You can break up with someone and still be scared of not finding anyone else. Breaking up doesn’t mean you don’t want a relationship at all, and you could be just as upset that things didn’t work out with your partner as they are.

Don’t try to expect too much of yourself, especially in the first few months. You don’t have to put on a brave face just because you initiated the split, and you don’t have to hide it if you’re hurting as well.

You deserve as much time to get over your ex as you need. Take each day as it comes and slowly work through your emotions to move on from your relationship fully rather than hiding how you really feel because you think you should be coping better.

It’s okay to still feel sad or struggle at times to move on. Just because you initiated the split doesn’t mean you care any less.

13. Don’t expect new love instantly.

Part of what can motivate a breakup is the idea that you can find someone else out there better for you.

You are probably wondering if you will find someone better than your ex if you end your current relationship, and the answer is: yes. But that shouldn’t be the reason you’re doing it. You should be moving on from a relationship because it doesn’t bring the best out in you and you’re not at your happiest.

Don’t rely on other people to make you happy. Spend time getting to know who you are and what you want out of life before you go looking for someone else to share it with.

You may never find the right person for you after you’ve broken up with your partner, but that shouldn’t change your decision about ending your relationship.

The pain of a breakup might be eased by the distraction of someone new, but it doesn’t heal it entirely. Taking time to focus on getting to know who you are better first, before trying to meet anyone else, is the best way to start this new chapter in your life.

14. Create distance between you and your ex.

You might be used to seeing and talking to each other every day, but if you really want to give both yourself and your soon to be ex a chance to move on, then you must create some distance and boundaries between you.

You may feel compelled to check up on your ex and see how they are doing after the breakup, or you may want to check out their latest social media posts. But doing either can prevent you and them from moving on.

Distance can be hard to achieve when you share a home, children, or a friendship group, and your ex might not understand why you want to take a step back from them after you’ve broken up.

But you know that space and time are the best healers, and even if your partner can’t see why you’re creating space between you, in the long run, they’ll be thankful to you for allowing them to get on with their lives without being constantly reminded of you.

15. Be clear about what you want to say.

Breaking up with someone isn’t easy when there are so many emotions running through your head, and it can be hard to find the right words to say.

When it comes to actually breaking up with your partner, there might be a few specific things you want to get across to them and you need to be poised and clear so your partner fully understands your reasons for doing what you’re doing.

Preparing for this moment, either by thinking carefully about what you want to say, or even writing it down so you can read it out loud, can ensure you articulate everything the way you would like to. Taking the time to organize your thoughts can help you feel more satisfied with the ending you’re giving your relationship.

By not preparing, you can make an already difficult situation worse by accidentally saying hurtful things, being drawn into an argument, or even by just not being clear about what it is you want and why breaking up is the right thing for you.

Prepare yourself for an uncomfortable conversation, and do what you can to make sure you can trust your own reactions in an emotionally charged situation.

16. Be prepared for their reaction.

You can plan as much as you like for what you want to say to your partner, but you can never quite know exactly how they are going to react.

You’re not the only one going through this breakup; it involves two people moving apart. You may think you know what your ex will say or do to you, but when people become emotional, they also become unpredictable, and it can take you by surprise no matter how well you know them.

Although you won’t know exactly how they’re going to feel until you’re in the moment, try to run through every scenario. Practice being understanding and thoughtful of their emotions at this tense time.

The important thing is to refrain from saying or doing anything that would make an already difficult situation worse. If your partner can’t help their reaction, at least try to be the calmer person and let your ex say what they need to say without provoking a negative response from you.

Breaking up with someone isn’t just about you. You’re holding someone else’s life in your hands and you should try to be conscious of that. The impact of your relationship will be felt by your partner, family, and friends.

Being in the strongest position possible to move on, with as little complication and as much forethought as you can manage, will benefit not just you but everyone else too.

It’s hard to think of everything when a breakup is already so emotional and exhausting for all involved. There will always be elements that take you by surprise—perhaps the way your partner reacts or how you feel when you physically separate from each other and start out on your own.

Making sure you have a solid support group around you, placing yourself in the best position possible to start life on your own, and adopting a positive mindset will help you get ahead for what could be the best chapter of your life yet.

It is a good idea to seek professional help from one of the certified relationship coaches at Relationship Hero as individual counseling can be highly effective in helping people prepare for and get through a breakup.