Was Breaking Up A Good Idea? 5 Signs Your Split Was The Right Choice For You
You recently ended things with your partner, and now you're starting to doubt your decision. You ask yourself, was breaking up a good idea? What if you regret your choice someday? These are common questions, but the truth is, there are some clear signs that your split was the right thing to do for you. I spoke to couples therapist and relationship expert Tracy K. Ross, LCSW, about five signs that ending your relationship was absolutely the right decision.
"It's totally normal to dwell on the positives and have some self doubt about your decision," says Ross. "If the other person did not want the breakup and is very upset, this makes it even more difficult." She says that it's important to remember that there were reasons why you were in the relationship in the first place, as well as reasons you ultimately decided it to end it.
"After an ending, it is very common for the positive aspects of the person to re-emerge, either in your thinking or in how they behave," says Ross. "Additionally, you may have grown attached to the person's friends or family — so you are mourning the loss of those people as well, which can add to the feelings of regret or doubt." With that advice in mind, here are five indicators that you made the right call.
1. You feel a sense of relief after the breakup.
Your routine may feel disrupted in the initial days or weeks after the breakup, which might make you question whether you made the right choice. "The rhythm of your daily life shifts, so there are many reminders of the change," says Ross. In the aftermath of the breakup, she suggests reviewing your reasons for ending the relationship.
"Remind yourself that you can't be in a relationship with someone's potential," she says. "If the person wasn't making you feel good, you weren't having fun or feeling joy, you didn't feel respected ... or didn't see any future, you made the right decision. If this isn't a person you wanted to share things with, you couldn't be yourself, you couldn't open up, and the physical, intimate, [or] sexual side of things was problematic and you couldn’t communicate about it, you made the right choice."
2. You realize you had to make excuses for your ex.
Ross explains that it's a good idea to consider what's generally important to you in a relationship, outside of your specific relationship with your ex. Then, ask yourself whether they actually met your criteria, or if you were trying to convince yourself that it was a healthy relationship and that the deficits didn't really matter.
Other questions to think about include whether you could communicate and resolve issues with them in a productive way, or if you felt there was no solution when you were upset. "Did you get stonewalled or was the blame turned around on you?" says Ross. "Did they make you a better version of yourself? Did you feel you could grow together, explore new things together? Did they keep you separate from their friends and family or did you feel the need to do so? Did their level of drinking or partying bother you? Were there trust issues?"
If some of your answers to the above fall on the wrong side, you can rest assured it was the right decision, according to Ross.
3. You enjoy special occasions just as much (or more so) without them.
When it came to your birthday, a holiday work party, or a family event, this person should have been the one you wanted to celebrate with. If they didn't include your friends or family in celebrations, though, or they focused on their ideas about how you should mark the occasion rather than what would actually make you happy, you likely made the right choice in ending the relationship.
If you can enjoy yourself without this person by your side, or you're even more comfortable without them causing issues, Ross says that's a sure sign you're better off.
And when it came to stressful events or personal struggles, if you didn't receive the kind of support you needed from your partner or you felt the need to keep certain things from them, that's another red flag that this wasn't the right relationship for you.
4. You have more energy and are more productive since the breakup.
The situations mentioned above are the kinds of things that can wear down a relationship in the long term, according to Ross.
"Ask yourself if the relationship was a drain on you in any way," she says. "If so, it is very likely there was some aspect that wasn't healthy and you definitely made the right decision. Your relationship should be energizing, not draining. That doesn’t mean you don't work on issues, but the work should be productive — you should feel like you are getting somewhere."
5. You're optimistic about the future.
"Decisions you make in your 20s do have longer term ramifications," says Ross. "If you stay in an unhealthy relationship you are potentially passing up on opportunities to meet someone who would be better for you. You are not growing and developing in all the ways you could be."
Maybe your relationship had a ton of drama that kept you from putting your all into your career, or maybe you were avoiding looking at why you settled for a relationship that didn't really make you happy. Whatever the reason, if you're more optimistic about your future now that you're single, whether it's career-wise or in the love department, that's a strong sign you were ready to move on.
"The idea that staying in a bad or mediocre relationship is OK because you can wait until a better one comes along is mostly a fallacy," says Ross. "People tend to repeat their patterns and oftentimes choose a similar type of partner. The best way to make better choices is to get out of the relationship, do some reflecting, and work on yourself to figure out what you want and how to choose a better relationship next time."
Like Ross says, the relationships you have in your 20s are building blocks for ones later in your life. If a partner wasn't making you happy and you decided to break up with them, chances are you won't regret your decision in the long run.
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