Steps for a Healthy Breakup
Here are a few steps you can take to keep yourself safe before, during, and after a break-up.
Build a safety network.
Let your trusted friend(s) and a trusted adult know that you plan to break up with your partner. It is important to remember the 3P’s when planning a breakup. You should reach out to at least 2 of the 3 P’s: Parents (or a trusted adult), Peers, Professionals.
Plan where you're going to have the conversation.
Always break up in a public space and arrange your own transportation (bring friends/family and have them hangout nearby). After the breakup, try not to be alone with that partner again. Also, while you might feel pressure to break-up in person, if you feel like your safety could be even the slightest bit at risk, you can and should break-up over the phone. Sometimes the safest way to break up is by phone or social media, even if it feels impersonal or mean. You don't owe it to anyone to break-up face-to-face if you're worried how they will react.
Setting boundaries after the relationship is just as important as during it!
Make sure you and your partner on the same page in terms of communication and more. Consider taking a break from social media. Update your passwords and privacy settings. Reflect on how you are feeling and decide if you should mute or delete your former partner.
Focus on yourself.
Breakups are not easy. Use your newfound time to focus on things that build your confidence and help you regain emotional balance. Pick up old hobbies or reconnect with old friends. Many times, in an abusive relationship, someone has been isolated from friends and family, so it’s good to reconnect with them.
It’s normal to miss your partner.
It is normal to miss your partner after a breakup, even if they have been abusive. These feelings may cause a voice in your head to say “oh no I miss them and I love them so that must mean I’ve made a huge mistake!” This little voice can be a part of the process – hold strong in knowing that you can both miss/love someone, and also know that they aren’t the right person or relationship for you. Hold strong that you trusted your gut and that this is what is best. Write down your reasons for ending the relationship, and keep them as a reminder for later on. Give a copy to a trusted friend who you have identified to be part of your support system.
Certain factors can make some abusive relationships more dangerous than others.
Things like the presence of a gun, past strangulation, and if someone has threatened to kill you or themselves in the past are just a few lethality indicators. In fact, if your partner strangled you in the past, your risk of being killed by them is 7x higher. While physical abuse is never okay, any of these factors are particularly high indicators of lethality in the future. For a full list of Lethality Indicators, visit the Education Center Resource Library at joinonelove.org/education-center.