Did you know that the holiday season is a prime time for relationships to end? Join Courtney Weaver as she provides some tips and tricks on surviving the end of a relationship. For more resources, visit: well.wvu.edu.


Welcome everyone to Wellbeing Wednesdays. My name is Courtney Weaver. I am your host. I am also the director over at Well WVU at West Virginia University. Today my guest is absolutely no one. You're just stuck with me today. I'm afraid. So I'm going to be chatting for about the next 10 minutes or so.

And our topic today is actually about healthy breakups. Now you might wonder why are we talking about that? Well, here's the thing. The holiday season is now in full swing and there are actually 14 different holidays between November and January. What this means is that it's also prime breakup season. So it's also known as the great Turkey drop, which is not to be confused with the act of a comedy show in Cincinnati.

Um, but rather according to urban dictionary, This happens when a dating couple try the long distance relationship thing when they go off to college in September. And typically when Thanksgiving rolls around and everyone goes home for the holiday, someone gets dumped and the Turkey drop also occurs in adult life.

So if you're not in a great romantic situation at Thanksgiving, then you better get out of it at that time. Uh, now we just had Thanksgiving break. Um, but let's talk about how to break up in a healthy way. Both if you're doing the breaking up yourself or if you're the one being broken up with, because this is a really odd thing to think about, actually.

So there really only two outcomes of any relationship either you'll stay together for the rest of your lives or you'll break up. Which when I think about it kind of blows my mind. So now both of these roles, whether you're the dumper or the dumpy, both of them hurt. So, cause it's never easy to end a relationship with someone or to hear that someone does not want to continue to be in a relationship with you.

So we're going to give you some tips for both the dumper and the dumpy, which are also just terrible words. If you think about it, um, now. For the person who is doing the actual breaking up, there was a great article from psychology today and they give 14 ways to break up better. So we're going to talk about those right now.

So here's what you may want to do. You may want to end the relationship as soon as you know, it can't go on. You should never stay in a relationship after you know that you no longer want to be in it. You should never feel obligated to stay in the relationship. As soon as you realize, you know, what. Me and this person it's not meant to be.

You need to end it then. Um, will you also want to do, is you want to break up in person? There is nothing, I think more callous than breaking up over text or as that one episode of sex in the city where someone breaks up with Carrie over a post-it note, um, do it in person, give the other person that courtesy to be there physically.

The third thing you want to do is be honest about your feelings. I mean, let's think about it. There's going to be a reason that you actually want to break up with this person. And if you don't acknowledge those real issues that are involved, it's going to hurt your partner more. So please be honest. Now the fourth thing that we should do is you want to be clear and certain about your reasons for breaking up your partner deserves more than vagueness.

So you want to show your partner that respect, um, that's inherent in that closure. The fifth thing is we want to take responsibility for our decision acknowledge that it's what you want, rather than blaming it on circumstances or blaming it on your partner. Like we're breaking up because of, you know, that's, that's not a nice way to do it.

All right. Um, the sixth thing is you want to listen to the other person without defending, uh, yourself. So you want to hear your partner out, um, and you want to answer any questions that they have as honestly as you can, but you don't want to go on the defensive because that will just lead to further arguments and further negative feelings.

Uh, and then the seventh thing is that you want to break the relationship off. Cleanly. Um, so basically you want to cut off contact for some time after the breakup, you cannot shift from, you know, being in a romantic relationship to being friends. Uh, that's not going to work because you need both of, you will need some distance.

So that's showing respect for your partner's feelings. Um, and it also indicates that things have permanently changed. No, that's not to say that somewhere down the road, you know, months or years down the road, that you can't be friends with your previous partners because you totally can, but doing it right after the breakup actually is not a good move.

It's not good for you. And it's not good for your previous partner. So those are all the things that you should do. So now psychology today talks about what not to do. So let's go over those. And there's seven of those as well. So the first one is, do not break up in public. So what we mean by that is it shouldn't be happening like in a restaurant or in a park, because one thing that you want to make sure that you're offering your partner is the opportunity for them to honestly express their feelings and to have that emotional reaction and privacy is going to help with that.

Um, and then most likely there's going to be a further discussion about the reasons for breaking up. And it's going to be easier for your partner to ask these questions. Um, if the event occurs in like, Safe and at least a semi-private location and chances are you're going to feel more comfortable answering those questions also in that private location.

But the second thing is that you, you don't want to break up in your own home if possible, you want to do so in the home of your partners. Because that way, when the conversation is over, you'll be the one to pick up and leave. Um, and it's going to be easier for your partner not to have to travel home when they're experiencing such raw feelings.

So the third thing that you don't want to do is that you don't want to offer false hope. So what this could look like in a real life situation would be like, Hey, you know what? I feel like this isn't working. Let's take a break because if you say. Um, break that really leaves the relationship open-ended.

And if you're certain that you need to break up, it's better to not do that. Just make that clean break. And now the fourth thing that you don't want to do, we've already kind of mentioned. So we don't want to try to downshift the romance into a friendship. Now we may think, Oh, that'll help soften the blow.

But what it does do is it causes uncertainty with your partner and it runs the risk of generating more hurt feelings. Um, And so what we really want at the end of the day is you want your partner to look back on the relationship as a good thing and not to change it. And it's just something that is less well-defined.

So the fifth thing that we don't want to do is we don't want to devalue the other person. Now, chances are the relationship has been important to both of you. Um, and so you want to show appreciation for that, for that person, um, for their good qualities. Now the sixth thing that we don't want to do is that we don't want to try to make the other person feel better.

Even as you're breaking up with them. That's really difficult because if you see someone that you care about hurting, you automatically want to make them feel better, but here's the thing that you can't really be a part of your ex's support network after the relationship is over. Um, because that's not your role anymore.

The final piece of advice or of what not to do from psychology today is don't have breakup sex because that's just going to confuse the issue for everyone involved. Oh, okay. So that was a lot of information for those who are going to be the ones who are breaking up with someone, but let's talk about the folks who have gotten broken up with and what are some things that they can do to help cope with that loss.

So the first thing is that we actually want to avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms, so that can include, you know, heavy substance use, whether that's alcohol or other drugs. Um, self-harm. Or like maybe throwing yourself into projects at work and overworking yourself. There are better ways to cope. And we're going to talk about a few of them here, but I want you to know if you find yourself going down that path, um, and you're not, you know, maybe able to control it, then it may be necessary for you to seek more professional help.

Like our friends here at the career center. All right. So here's some of the things that we can do if we're broken up with, um, the first one is that know that heartbreak actually causes physiological and neurochemical changes. Um, that means it can actually physically hurt, especially if this is someone who you've experienced your first love with, um, it.

It, those neuro-transmitters are powerful little things, so just know that it can hurt no, that those changes are normal, unexpected, um, and that acknowledgement can actually help you feel a little bit less alone. Now something else that you can do to help is unfollow your ex on social media. And I mean, all of social media.

Okay. It's not to say, well, I'm following them on Instagram, but I'll still follow him on, you know, Snapchat or ticktack no, just unfollow all of it. So it could, because you may be tempted to follow their movements. So just make sure that you have got a clean break. Uh, the thing we can do is grieve. So if you need to cry, cry, if you need to get rid of the momentos that you've kept of your ex, do it, you know, feel your feelings don't suppress them.

Nothing good ever came of someone suppressing their feelings. I mean, the entire movie of frozen happened because Elsa. Was taught, conceal don't feel, which is the worst advice ever. Um, so feel your feelings, don't be afraid of that. Uh, another thing is try not to personalize the loss. It's really easy to place blame on yourself, but in actuality, the relationship likely ended because of, um, incompatibilities that are really no one's fault.

You just weren't compatible and that's okay. Um, another thing you can do is surround yourself with supportive people. So whether that's your friendship network, whether that's family members, maybe you're really close with some of your coworkers, you know, hang out with them more, ask them to help you get out of the house, meet them for coffee or for a walk.

Um, I mean, it's a little bit more difficult now with the pandemic, but, um, You can do really anything. So make sure it's physically distance if we're still in the pandemic. Uh, and then also with the support network, talking to other people about their breakups may also help because it gives you some outside perspective.

Another thing you might want to do is do things that you enjoy. So. You know, do your favorite movement, it's exercise, or you go to a fitness class, play with your pet practice, self-care that could include finding a therapist. Cause I'm a big fan of everyone getting professional, mental help when they need it.

Um, maybe you want to learn to cook. Maybe you like to bake. I love to bake, uh, learn a new hobby. All these things are now things you can try. Uh, another important thing. And I wrote this in all capital letters with a period between each of the words is don't contact your ex um, you need to start living your life without them.

So don't contact them until you feel that you're emotionally ready to take that step. And. With that, just know that there's no set timeframe for that. So that could take months, years. We don't know, but just don't contact them until you feel emotionally ready. And that helps you. One of the things that does that also helps you let go of any hope that you'll get back together.

An important thing to remember is that, um, you'll feel better in time. And I know that seems kind of an empty sentiment, but it's just kind of true. Uh, and so you try not to lose faith in people or relationships just because you're having a hard time right now. Uh, and then finally, when you're ready, you know, you can start dating again.

Um, but it's important that before you do that, that you learn what you can from your previous relationship. Uh, don't start too soon. Um, making sure that you are ready and just know that dating can help you see that there are lots of different people out there that you can potentially connect with. And, you know, dating is really great for some people and it's not so great for others.

So just know that. You got to do what's best for you. Uh, and so finally, these tips are not one size fits all. It's obviously not an exhaustive list. There are so many different ways that you can take care of yourself after breaking up. Um, but you just need to figure out what works for you. So that about wraps up our tips and tricks for a healthy breakup on both sides.

Uh, and we always like to end our show with a wellbeing snapshot of our topic that we're talking about in a present day context. Now, this really is a timely topic because we are in the midst of the holiday season. So there are some folks out there who may be experiencing a breakup right now on one or the other side of the aisle.

Uh, and so I guess just my piece of advice is take care of yourselves. Uh, there's help out there for you, and if you need it, don't be afraid to reach out. But thank you all for listening today. We'll have one more episode before the end of the semester. So thank you again, and we'll catch you next time on Wellbeing, Wednesdays.