Are you completely flummoxed about why it’s hard to break up someone, even if you don’t love them?
Do you think that it should be easy? I mean, you don’t love them and you want to find someone you do love, so breaking up should be easy, right?
Over my years of coaching clients in this exact position, I have come to learn that there are 5 clear reasons why it’s hard to break up with someone even if you don’t love them. Knowing and understanding them might help you be able to take the step and break up with them so that you can both move on.
#1 – The idea of hurting them feels bad.
This is a huge reason why people struggle to break up with someone they don’t love and the one that frustrates me the most because it’s not a good reason!
I have a friend who attracts girls like bees. It’s really amazing. And, almost without exception, especially if they sleep with him, he rarely is interested in a second date. And, almost without exception, those girls want a second date.
And do you know what he does? He doesn’t tell them he isn’t interested. He continues to interact with them but not as enthusiastically as he did before the date. They get clingy and insecure and he just pulls away further. Ultimately, he leaves them more devastated than he might have if he was just honest with them from the start.
Why does he do this? Because he is ‘afraid to hurt them.’
Let me tell you, as I tell him every time, that not being direct with someone, instead giving them less and less until you gradually disappear, is way more hurtful than being told the truth. Pulling away from someone only damages their self-esteem every time you are vague and non-committal and removed.
So, if you are worried about hurting someone, don’t be. Be honest with them. It might hurt in the moment but they will get over it.
#2 – You don’t want to mess up your friend group.
I know that it seems weird but for many people who find it hard to break up with someone it’s because of the effect that it will have on their friend group.
I actually have two clients who both know that they aren’t right for each other but they are worried what will happen to their softball team if they break up. Will they both continue to be able to play? Will the drinks out afterwards be uncomfortable?
I have a client who is married and considering a divorce. She is worried about who will get the friends if they divorce. Will they have to take turns hanging out with people? Will it get awkward? Would it make her feel bad if she wasn’t included in something?
I totally get it that people are worried that if they break up with someone it might impact their social lives but, unfortunately, basing your decision on your social life is not a good idea. Yes, beers out after softball or not taking part in a dinner party might not feel good in the moment, but they are just passing feelings, feelings that will change as time goes on.
Furthermore, I am guessing that, if you are considering breaking up, you guys aren’t too much fun as a couple so your social group might be happy if you two go your separate ways!
So, if you are finding it hard to break up with someone you don’t love because of your friends, don’t. Move on. It might be tough in the short term but, in the long term, it’s the right thing to do – for both of your future happiness!
#3 – You are hoping things will change.
This is a really hard to accept reason why you can’t break up with someone – that doing so will mean that you have accept that things might never change, that as much as you hope they will go back to the way things were or improve in the future, they won’t.
One of my clients met the person she thought was the love of her life. And then she realized that he wasn’t. But, she was so focused on getting married and starting a family that she just couldn’t let go of her relationship. Because she wanted what she wanted in her life, she just couldn’t let go of the fact that if she broke up with her guy, her dreams would be even further away. So, she hung on longer than she should have, putting off finding the guy of her dreams as a result.
So, if you still hope that your relationship will change, I respect that. But I encourage you to give it a good hard look and see if your hope is based on the quality of your relationship or based on what you want for your life. If it’s the first, keep fighting. If it’s the second, it’s time to move on.
#4 – You believe that you will never love, or be loved, again.
This might one of the primary reasons that you are finding it hard to break up with someone you don’t love.
I don’t think there is a single client who I have worked with who hasn’t been concerned about being alone forever if they break up with their person. I, personally, remember thinking, in high school, that if my guy broke up with me I might never love again.
I can tell you, with 100% certainty, that if you break up with someone who isn’t making you happy, and you are willing to put yourself out there again, you will find someone else to love you. You are amazing and your person is out there waiting.
Furthermore, if you can’t break up with someone then you will be forever doomed to be unhappy because, if you are stuck in this relationship, you won’t be able to find someone else.
So, if you are finding it hard to break up with someone even if you don’t love them, know that, if you do, if you can find the strength to do so, you will be way more likely to find the person of your dreams.
#5 – You are worried that you are making a mistake.
I have a client who has been in a relationship with a man since the start of Covid, March 2020.
Within months she knew that this was not the guy for her. He wasn’t employed, his politics were way off, she always had to pay for things, he would gaslight her horribly and pitifully apologize for what he had said. She was miserable and wanted out in a big way. But she couldn’t break up with him.
Why? Because she was worried that she was making a mistake. From the outside looking in, I knew that she wasn’t making a mistake but there was nothing I could do to convince her – she was just too close to it all to see clearly.
My client had been told by her parents over and over that she made stupid decisions. No matter what the choice she made they second guessed her. As a result, she really struggles with the wisdom of her decision to break up with him, even if she no longer loves him.
To deal with this, I encouraged her to look at past relationships, ones that she ultimately ended. Did it take her awhile to take action but she is glad that she did? And the answer was definitely yes. She managed to leave her husband after being unhappy for years. And, as a result, she was much happier. Recognizing this has helped her see that she can trust her own instincts, for her own happiness.
So, if you are finding it hard to break up with someone even if you don’t love them, it might be because you are worried that you are making a mistake. If this is you, push back on those fears. Look at past relationships that you managed to get out of and see if, ultimately, you made a mistake.
I am guessing probably not!
Finding it hard to break up with someone even if you don’t love them is not unusual.
I mean, you have all of this time invested in the relationship and you don’t like to give up on anything.
But you can do it! Knowing the signs will help.
If you are worried about hurting them and you don’t want to mess up your friend group, if you are hoping for change and worried that you are making a mistake or, worst of all, if you are worried that you will never love or be loved again, these are all reasons why breaking up is so difficult.
But you can do it. If you can accept that there will be some pain and uncomfortableness around a break up, if you can believe that you will be loved again, if you can have confidence that you aren’t making a mistake, then you will be able to break up with the person you don’t love and find a relationship that will make you happy!