It may sound strange, but you do not have to find fault with your romantic partner in order to leave the relationship. This goes against the popular storyline in romantic movies that you need to find fault with your partner in order to justify the breakup.
This type of blame game is not only destructive and hurtful, it also blocks a cordial relationship in the future. What if you could go your separate ways without the blaming and shaming? What if you could part company amicably? Do you think that is possible?
Let’s take a look at what leads to a couple turning against each other, and then see if we can reconstruct that breakup in such a way as to end it civilly without all the animosity that usually engenders separation.
It is almost always our expectations of each other that result in hurt feelings and disappointment. We build the person up to be the ideal romantic partner who will be understanding at all times and never let us down—just like in romance novels. It should come as no surprise that such thoughts lend themselves to disillusionment and conflict once reality sets in.
When we have expectations about someone, we are searching for certain traits, behaviors, and characteristics. Of course, the things we are looking for will satisfy our own emotional desires, not theirs, such as the need to feel validated, loved, nurtured, secure, etc.
These are not negative desires, but they can become problematic when we place the responsibility to meet them squarely on the shoulders of another person as a condition to staying in the relationship.
The catch is that we rarely actually tell our partners our expectations in words. We expect them to figure it out on their own, and then blame them for not understanding. Do any of these sound familiar? “Well, if you don’t know why I’m upset, I’m not going to tell you.” Or, “If you really loved me, you would know.” Or, “I shouldn’t have to explain myself.”
There is a better way. Instead of having all these expectations, it is better to view someone objectively, without requiring anything from that person. That may sound impossible. How do you look at someone objectively when you are in love?
Try this: Imagine that you are an observer, not an analyzer. Pretend you are seeing that person for the first time. Try your best to forget, at least for the moment, all that you already know about the person. Let your mind be open to whatever your senses detect. Then just see the reality of what is there. Do not wish for what is not there. Face reality with eyes wide open.
Perhaps you have been on the receiving end of criticism. I’ll bet it was because your partner had unmet expectations about you. Realize those expectations were the cause of the anger, not you. Unless you violated someone’s basic human rights or committed some heinous crime, you didn’t deserve the criticism.
When situations like this arise in a relationship, it is time for both of you to examine your expectations of one another without judgment. Typically judgments spring up when you compare yourself to other people to determine who is right and who is wrong. When you let go of these judgments, it is easier to go through the breakup without all the bitterness. Harboring resentment in your heart hurts you, not the other person.
Today’s Loving Suggestion: Whether you are thinking about breaking up, in the middle of separating, or getting over a relationship, you need to let go of past hurts before you can be fully mindful of the joy in the present moment.
Ask yourself how much of your hurt is the result of your expectations. Forgive yourself first, then your present/former partner. No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection. When you let go of that expectation, you will feel better immediately.
If you have followed any of the suggestions in the Sir Rennity feature, I would love to hear your stories. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will keep your letters private unless you request that they be published.
The Sir Rennity feature is intended to provide gentle guidance for your life. These articles hold no intrinsic meaning. You give meaning to them based on the value you place on them, so the words here are meaningless unless you put them into practice.