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What Is A Traditional Breakup?

In this class: Find out what a traditional or 'normal' breakup is. Recognise the differences between one and a relationship that requires No Contact.

Often when I speak with people about breaking up and contemplating the possibility of having to cut contact, the subject of a 'traditional breakup' comes up and it's amazing how when you've been in an unhealthy relationship, or have never been able to make a clean break, how the concept of a traditional breakup is often completely foreign to them or deemed impossible. Really it's not though...

Two people in a relationship, one or both of you realise that it's not working out, depending on how long you've been together and the nature of the issue, you raise your concerns if you at that point think it's potentially fixable (or you know it's not, but you feel like you want to give it a shot anyway), you continue on, one of you is likely more reluctant than the other to let it go, but eventually, you realise it's not working and break up.

Maybe you say you're going to be friends, but you know that you either don't really mean it, or that you're not ready yet. You might talk about friendship and may even rehash your relationship in the days and few weeks that follow and then contact dissipates. This happens out of recognition of 1) how one or both of you are hurting and 2) acceptance and respect of why you have broken up in the first place.

If it wasn't mutual, 'the dumper' realises that much as they would like to be friends, it's not the right time for it and they don't want to lead you on and cause you more pain.

The dumpee, even though they're hurting, will keep their distance out of pride. Maybe they try to talk a while later and it becomes clear that they're really not getting back together, and it triggers major grieving but they both accept the relationship is over.

It is highly likely in the first month or so after a break up of a relationship that went on for at least a few months that there will be contact between both parties, upset, and yes, possibly even sex.

This is one of the reasons why I caution people about getting involved with someone who is fresh out of a breakup. The longer the relationship, the more that this period of disruption is likely to go on for at least 3 months, possibly more depending on what is involved with breaking up.

In a 'traditional breakup' where both parties are accepting and respecting their decision, even though you may struggle with it, feel nostalgic and miss one another from your lives, the amount of contact, upset etc should gradually dissipate and eventually move into neutral territory.

Gradually you both start to get on with your lives and move forward. You might at a much later date become friends, but unless you were together for a very long time in a healthy relationship, you fade into each others respective pasts - it is this right here that you are likely to struggle with if you don't know how to make clean breaks and struggle with NC.

Traditional breakups are really the way it's supposed to happen and truth be told, they were actually more likely to happen before there was all this texting, Facebook, instant messenger, dating sites and other malarkey which are not only distracting, but play havoc with our ego's and cause us to have a window into our ex's lives and a sustained connection.

Signs of a traditional breakup:

  • Emotional maturity - both hurting, both have ego's, but not under illusions or denying your feelings.
  • Focusing on the issues at hand - unlikely to be rolling out your whole past.
  • Empathy and compassion - there may be friction and hurt, but by and large you try to treat each other with care, trust, and respect.
  • Acceptance that it is healthy for two parties to have space after the relationship has ended
  • One or both of you having the integrity, strength, and courage to do what's right instead of being selfish
  • Discussions happening in the run up to the breakup so one or both of you are clear
  • No blindsiding with 'out of the blue' break up's or disappearing as a means of breaking up.
  • Putting your libido's on the back burner.
  • No pursuing if dating has started elsewhere.
  • No major announcement about not being in touch and minimal game playing.

Traditional breakups tend to happen off the back of even moderately healthy relationships or where at least one party is fairly emotionally mature and knows what's on the other side of a breakup - moving onto something more befitting and not dragging someone's heart and emotions around by sitting on the fence and passing time until the relationship implodes.

Make sure you do the Uncover Your Beliefs About Breakups and No Contact Self Sheets.