A break up between two women is certainly one of the biggest sources of emotional pain for most lesbian women, certainly for the one that’s left behind as well as the one initiating the break up.
Whether you have left your partner, or she has left you, surviving a lesbian break-up is hard. Sometimes it may feel like you may never recover from the break-up. But you will. These tips might make recovering from a break-up easier.
Tips on how to survive when your partner has left you:
- Recognize what has happened.
The first thing you might be feeling is, “I can’t believe this is happening!” Shock and denial are normal in the early stages of recovery from a break-up. You keep thinking you’ll wake up from the bad dream or that your lover will return. This is the first step in the grieving process. Once you begin to believe that it’s really over, you’re ready to move on to the next step of healing from a break-up.
- Next you might feel anger toward your partner.
Good, this is the second step of grieving. At this time, it is a good idea to get away from your partner. If you live together, move out or go stay with some friends. Too many lesbian couples continue to live together after they break up. If you can’t afford to move out, go stay with a friend for a while. You need to separate to get a clear head. Don’t drive by her house or ask friends about her new girlfriend, you’ll only torture yourself.
- Get support.
Call on your friends. Your friends, not your mutual friends. At this time you need someone who is going to take your side. You don’t need a reasonable voice at this time. You need a friend who will nod in agreement at every horrible thing your ex has done. She’ll tell you how wonderful you are and how much better off you are without her. There’s plenty of time to be reasonable in the future. Right now you need to vent.
- Mourn, but don’t wallow.
Feeling sad is normal. Yes, it’s okay to cry, scream and feel pity for yourself. But don’t allow the situation to turn you into a bitter human being. Give yourself up to a year to grieve. If after that time you’re still welling up with tears at the thought of her, it’s time to see a therapist. Something else is probably going on to cause your sadness.
- Get Closure.
Say the things to her that you need to and leave it at that. If she won’t see you face to face, send her a letter. Beware of e-mail, where you can write something regrettable and impulsively hit send. If you choose to communicate by e-mail, be sure to wait 24 hours before sending off your letter.
- No Rebounds.
It sure can be tempting to enter into a new relationship to help you forget the old one. But if you don’t give yourself time to heal and reflect on what happened with the last one, you’re bound to repeat the same patterns.
- Let it all out.
Get your feelings out in healthy ways. Write them down, make a painting, write a fantastic break-up song, listen to great break-up songs, go for a run. Let it out in what ever way feels best to you. Avoid turning to drugs or alcohol. They will only make the situation worse.
- Look at yourself.
What went wrong with the relationship to cause it to end? Every relationship is a two-person dynamic. Try to identify what part she played and what part you played. If you take ownership of your role, you’ll be less likely to repeat the same mistakes in your next relationship. Beware playing the blame game. Getting angry at yourself for your mistakes will not help. You just want to recognize what you did so the next time you’re aware of your dynamic.
- “That which does not destroy us will make us stronger.”
Remember this. This is a hard time and you WILL get through it. Look at this as an opportunity for growth and to test your strength as a human being. When it feels like too much, be sure to call on those support systems.
- “Let go and let God.”
You can’t control what another person does, but you can control how you react. Pray, meditate, read inspirational stories, whatever will get you through. Remember others have been through this and came out on the other side and you will too. Breathe in and out. It will get better.
How to break up nicely:
- First, make sure you’re certain. There’s nothing worse than a wishy-washy break up. You don’t want to give her false hope. That will only hurt more in the long run.
- Know your intent. Do you want to stay friends? Never see her again? Be free so you can start dating someone else? You don’t have to state your intent, but make sure you know what you want before you go into it. This will help especially if she gets emotional and tries to get you to change your mind.
- Be kind. Your goal in a break-up should be to keep your integrity and honor hers. Before you open your mouth, imagine how you want it to go. Picture the best case scenario and try to keep that in your mind when you approach her.
- Be clear. Have an idea of what you’re going to say before you say it. Write some things down. Try to avoid the cliches like “It’s not you, it’s me,” or tell her you just want to be free, if you intend on dating someone else right away.
- Practice. Call up your best friend and have a run through. When you feel confident you know what you’re going to say, set a time for the “talk.”
- Be direct. Start out by saying something like, “I want to talk to you about our relationship, because it’s not really working out for me.” Don’t beat around the bush. Let her know that what you’re doing is breaking up with her.
- Don’t blame. Try to talk in “I” statements. No matter how much she frustrates you or drives you crazy, keep the emphasis on yourself. Say, “I’m not happy,” or “I feel it’s time for me to move on from this relationship.”
- Be sincere. If you still love her, you can say that, but let her know that it’s just your dynamic is not working or has become unhealthy.
- Be clear. She should know when you leave that what has just happened is a break-up. You may have to spell it out for her. “I feel it’s best if we break-up now.”
- No guilt. It’s okay to be sad, upset, angry, relieved and uncomfortable, but please don’t feel guilty. You have a right to set your own path in life and it doesn’t have to include her.
- Do not break up over the phone, instant message, text message, I.M. or voice mail. Unless your entire relationship has been online, do it in person.
- Pick a private place to do it. Creating a scene in a restaurant or bar is just tacky.
- Remember, no matter how nice you are, if she has strong feelings for you, it’s going to hurt. You can’t protect her from her feelings. Let her have them and don’t let them sway you back into something you don’t want. http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbiandating/ht/HowtoBreakUp.htm
- ANGER MANAGEMENT
- BREAK UPS
- COMING IN
- COMING OUT
- COMMUNICATION SKILLS
- FAMILIES AND PARENTING
- INTERNALIZED HOMOPHOBIA
- INTIMATE PARTNER ABUSE/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
- MYTHS OF LESBIAN DOMESTIC AND INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
- ARE YOU BEING ABUSED?
- MEDITATION, CREATIVITY AND SPIRITUALITY (MINDFULNESS)
- PROBLEM SOLVING
- RAPE/HATE CRIMES
- REPEATED RELATIONAL PATTERNS
- SELF CARE
- SUBSTANCE USE, ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE