Should you feel guilty when you break up with someone? Not unless you did something wrong. These tips will help you replace guilt with self-forgiveness – and make amends for the wrong you did.
On my article about healing from an addictive relationship, a reader says she feels so guilty about breaking up with her boyfriend of four years. She can’t be with him anymore – but she can’t quite let him go, either.
It’s painful, but life is too short to spend in a relationship that isn’t right for you.
“This is all you have,” says radio therapist Laura Schlessinger. “This is not a dry run. This is your life. If you want to fritter it away with your fears, then you will fritter it away, but you won’t get it back later.”
Are you frittering away your time and energy, feeling guilty because you broke up with someone? Stop it!
I know it’s easier said than done – which is why books like The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags: Relationship Warning Signs You Totally Spotted… But Chose to Ignore are incredibly helpful.
And here are a few tips on overcoming guilty feelings after a breakup…
How to Stop Feeling Guilty After Breaking Up With Someone
Identify appropriate guilt
You should feel guilty about the breakup if you did something wrong, such as using your boyfriend for his money or professional contacts and then breaking up with him. “Real” guilt is an appropriate and healthy response for wrongdoing. If you weren’t your best self in your relationship, then you need to make amends.
This doesn’t necessarily mean getting back together with your boyfriend or girlfriend, but it could mean apologizing for whatever you did wrong. But even if you didn’t act well or make the best choices in your relationship with your boyfriend, you still need to forgive yourself and move on.
Identify inappropriate guilt (you’re being manipulated)
Do you feel guilty because your ex-boyfriend is manipulating your emotions with apologies, pleas, or promises for the future? Do you feel guilty because your parents or friends wish you were back together with your boyfriend?
If your ex is threatening suicide, read What to Do When Your Boyfriend Says He’ll Kill Himself If You Leave.
Remember what you did right in your relationship
To stop feeling guilty after breaking up with someone, focus on the things you did well! Remind yourself of the times you were loving, attentive, generous, kind, and compassionate in your relationship. Even if you initiated the breakup, you didn’t ruin the relationship.
The relationship was already ruined…you just decided to end it for good and move on. That is not something to feel guilty about.
Remember that the relationship breakup happened for a reason
You had your reasons for breaking up with your ex-boyfriend. Even if your friends, family, coworkers, or ex-boyfriend don’t understand those reasons doesn’t mean the breakup less valid. To stop feeling guilty after breaking up with someone, you need to trust that you made the right decision. Listen to your gut.
There was a reason you had to let go of the relationship. Though it’s painful now, it’s the right decision in the long run.
Figure out who is making you feel guilty about the breakup – and why
Does your best friend wish you and your ex-boyfriend didn’t break up because she has a crush on his brother or best friend? Is your mother crushed that you broke up with your ex because she wants grandchildren? Is your ex making you feel guilty because you made his life sweet and easy, he walked all over you, and he misses you underneath him?
One of the best tips on how to stop feeling guilty after breaking up with someone is to figure out who is behind your emotions. Then, you need to stand up to or stay away from that person.
“When you dare to follow your dreams, dare to suffer through the pain, sacrifice, self-doubts, and friction from the world, you will impress yourself,” says Dr Laura.
Impressing yourself is more important than impressing all the ex’s, parents, friends and coworkers in the world!
Sometimes people feel guilty because of codependency issues. Read Co Dependency in Love – How to Untangle a Codependent Relationship.
If you know in your heart it's time to move on, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
Do you feel guilty for breaking up with someone, even though you know it’s better to be apart than together? Comments welcome below…