No one asked for a helping of breakup guilt post-split, but it's a very real consequence of ending a relationship.
Even if you're not the one sobbing on the couch, a pint of ice cream at hand and breakup songs on repeat, the thought of putting someone else through grief feels torturous. How can you possibly embrace that main character energy and feel hopeful about your next steps when your former flame is nursing a broken heart?
Ladies, we're here to tell you that it's time to toss the remorse—for your own good.
"While putting your own needs first might feel like a selfish option, it is better for your own mental health to be honest about your feelings rather than continuing the relationship out of convenience," says Maria Sullivan, a dating expert and the vice president of Dating.com.
If you are thinking about taking your love life in a new direction, allow the experts to help walk you through a healthy split, minus the lingering guilt that comes with moving on.
Maria Sullivan is a dating expert and the vice president of Dating.com.
How to get rid of breakup guilt, according to the pros
The breakup process is never easy and likely to be painful—for both parties—but you don't have to blame yourself for wanting to move on. Allow these tips to give you a helping hand.
1. Consider your wellbeing
Yes, it's okay to be a little selfish. If you're not honest with yourself and your partner about your needs, how can you possibly be expected to carry out an authentic relationship?
"Remind yourself that your own feelings and emotions are important, too," Maria suggests.
Relationships are not one-sided folks, and your wants are just as valid as your partner's.
2. Keep kindness in mind
While there may be an urge to lash out or blame your partner for the problems that arose in your relationship, take a step back and come from a place of compassion.
"If communicating the breakup is done in a healthy and respectful way, the grieving process will be easier for both of you," Maria insists.
3. Aim for closure
If your partner is curious about what went wrong or how you've reached the decision to move on, be honest—but not hurtful.
"Allow them to ask questions so that they can have some understanding and closure," dating coach Rikki Dymond. "Be respectful and allow both of you time to grieve and heal."
Rikki Dymond is a dating coach and Flirtini dating expert. Her mission is to "help women reconnect with themselves and use their natural feminine energy to bring forward mature and lasting love."
4. Do a communication detox
While it can be possible to stay friends with an ex, initially, you're going to want to give them a little breather. Calls, texts and Instagram DMs should probably be put on hold for the time being.
"Breaking the habit of constant communication is one of the hardest parts of a breakup, and the sooner you can get used to not consistently being in touch, the easier time you will have adapting to life without them," Maria tells us.
5. Think of the bigger picture
"Remember that you’re giving this person an opportunity to find a relationship or a person that is better suited to fulfilling their needs and this should help to alleviate some of the guilty feelings that inevitably arise," says Eva Gallagher, a resident dating expert at Plenty of Fish.
Eva Gallagher is a dating expert at Plenty of Fish, a Match Group dating app with personalized connection options that help "create the same magic online that you would IRL."
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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