Ending Unhealthy Relationships

You deserve to be in a healthy and loving relationship.  You may already know that your relationship isn’t as healthy as it could be.  Maybe you even want to break up with your partner, but this can sometimes be a lot harder than it looks.  From the good people at loveisrespect.org, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re thinking of ending an unhealthy relationship:
 

  • The person you’re dating has probably become a huge part of your life. You may have lost touch with friends and family because of the relationship. Being scared about feeling lonely after the break up is normal. Talking to friends or finding activities to fill the new time you have can make this easier.
  • You will miss your boyfriend/girlfriend after you break up. Perhaps you will miss them a lot or only on occasion. Even if they’ve been abusive and controlling, this is normal. Try writing down the reasons you want to end your relationship now and keep the list as a reminder for later on.
  • If your boyfriend/girlfriend is controlling and jealous, they may make a lot of decisions for you. It can take time to adjust to making your own decisions again.
  • You may be scared to end the relationship. If you are, take that fear seriously. Ending a relationship with an abusive or controlling person is not the same as ending a healthy relationship.
     

How to leave an unhealthy relationship

  • If you don’t feel safe, don’t break up with them in person.
  • If you feel you need to break up in person, do it in a public place.  Bring your cell phone or have a friend or family member near by for safety.
  • You don’t need to explain your reason for breaking up more than once.  Your partner may not be able to take it, but you don’t need to over-explain yourself.
  • Let your friends and family know that you plan on ending the relationship.  Then they will be able to help you if things get hard.
  • Don’t go to the door, if your ex comes to your house when you’re alone.
  • Trust your gut.  If you feel afraid then it’s not a good thing.

Ask for help.  There are people in Milwaukee who are here to help. 
 

How to help a friend

If you are close to a person in an unhealthy or abusive relationship you may see clearly that the relationship is unhealthy, but your friend or family member in the relationship might not see it that way yet.  In the end, it’s up to them to end the relationship.  Offering support and letting your friend or family member know how you feel without judging them can help them realize the reality of things.


You can support them by using these tips 
  • Listen first to what they have to say.
  • Talk to them in private and keep what they say confidential.
  • Let your friend know why you are concerned. Be specific. Refer to incidents you have personally witnessed instead of what you have heard from others.
  • Offer to get your friend information.
  • Mention other people your friend might talk to – a counselor, a teacher, or another adult they trust.
  • Let them know you are available to talk more if they need.
  • Direct them to helpful websites or hotlines
  • Loveisrespect.org – A teen dating abuse informational website.
  • National Teen Dating Violence hotline: 1-866-331-9474  or call 1-866-331-8453 (TTY)

Don’t do these things
  • Be judgmental.
  • Make them feel stupid or ashamed.
  • Ask lots of yes or no questions.  Instead, give your friend a chance to talk freely.
  • Force your friend to make a decision or give ultimatums. They have to decide when they are ready to get help or end their relationship. You can’t do it for them.

Copyright © 2007-2010 Love is respect – National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline



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