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MyTherapist New York | Relationship Counseling Blog

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Why Put Off A Breakup?

It’s time. The relationship is not what you want anymore and you know that a break up is inevitable. But for some reason, you stay in the relationship despite your feelings. There could be many reasons at play here. Are you avoiding confrontation or hurting your partner? Are you staying to avoid feeling alone?  Whatever the reason, by putting off a breakup, you put yourself at a disadvantage. It seems like you are controlling the situation, when in reality, you end up losing control by investing a lot of emotional time and effort keeping up appearances. It is almost never a good idea to put off a breakup. This can prolong unrealistic expectations for each partner- the idea that it might get better or that there is a right time to break up.

A common reason for staying in a relationship is people’s fear of being alone and unloved. Being with someone, no matter how dysfunctional, gives a sense of security and togetherness. Sometimes we think our relationship is the best we are going to get- we convince ourselves that it will be fine. We get so used to our current reality that we rationalize behaviors that we wouldn’t normally put up with. You and your partner are different people and sometimes those differences don’t make for a good relationship. This breakup needs to happen and therapy can help you live your best life despite this not-so-pleasant upcoming experience.

Is it confrontation that is holding you back? Some people are so uncomfortable with confrontation, their conscious and subconscious will do anything to avoid it. Typically, this trait goes hand in hand with wanting to please others, which, for those people, elicits calmness and balance. Sometimes, it’s easier to put up with a tough situation you are familiar with, than plunge yourself into the discomfort and unknowns of confrontation. Taking a risk can be more freeing than you think.

Not wanting to hurt your partner is a very normal aspect of love and partnership, even when considering a break up. This is, after all, a person you connected with at some point- it’s okay to not want to hurt them. However, when this propensity becomes a fear and ends up taking priority over your own wants and needs, is when there is a potential problem.

Sometimes, we think that if we wait long enough, our partner will eventually get the hint and do the dirty work him/herself. Waiting for your partner to break up with you is an expectation that fuels the core of an irrational thought: that we can control someone else’s behavior. We cannot. When we think we can, we put ourselves in a position that requires manipulation, negative behavior and even aggression. This requires so much more time and effort than it takes to break up with someone and move on. Avoiding the discomfort of a break up takes much longer than actually breaking up. Therapy can help you identify why you are staying in a relationship you no longer want. You learn to realize what you have control over and the actions you can take. Be daring and have the conversation. Be empathic, direct and clear- your future self will thank you for it.