“Ghosting” has become the new buzzword to describe ending a relationship by giving or getting the silent treatment. Even The New York Times covered this phenomenon recently, citing Charlize Theron as one who used this "technique" to break off a romance with Sean Penn.
Choosing to tune out your ex, or to have no means of communication with them whatsoever is a personal choice, but before it comes to that, how about considering a mindful way to end your relationship? At least that way if you happen to run into each other at some point, you can be civil, and maybe even smile warmly (or slightly) at one another for the good times you had, and the love you once shared.
Here are 10 ways to break up mindfully:
1. Acknowledge that your relationship is over.
That seems obvious, but in the age of ghosting, perhaps this first step is often overlooked. When doing so, try and speak to one another from a place of love. If you're feeling hurt or angry, and feel taken over by your emotions, tell your partner you need some time to process what you're feeling before you speak to them. Don't rush into the conversation.
2. Ask your partner to respect your privacy and alone time.
From there, state your boundaries directly but compassionately. You may begin by expressing that “if" or “when" you’re ready to speak to them, you’ll let them know.
3. If your partner is the one asking for certain boundaries, honor their feelings.
Even if you may feel bruised. Don’t violate what they prefer; you would want the same kind of treatment.
4. If you’re ready to speak to your partner again, try to stay in present time awareness.
This is especially important, as it's easy to slingshot back into the past, say, to an incident in which they may have upset or hurt you. But try to stay away from making generalizations, and using the past as ammunition for a present feeling. Be in the “now" and in a mind space of clarity-seeking and resolution.
5. If your partner's done something to you that you feel was wrong, tell them how it made you feel.
Ask them why they did it, and how they would feel if you had done it to them.
6. Consider seeking out the help of a therapist or life coach.
Especially if you feel you’re unable to get through to one another because your narratives are too different, or your resentment is too strong or dominant. Sometimes it’s better to let a third party who’s objective and professional help you process ending your relationship, and mediate each of you getting a fair chance to express how you feel.
7. Ask your partner what they need from you to help make the break-up more comfortable for them.
And recognize that it's a two-way street, so also tell them what would make it more comfortable for you.
8. Put pride on the back-burner.
If you feel there is anything you did in the relationship that warrants or deserves an apology from you to your partner, try and swallow your pride and do so. Admitting that you’re genuinely sorry can soothe and ameliorate any hurt you may have caused your partner, and might make moving on less painful for them, which they deserve.
9. Be patient in the process of forgiveness.
It might be too soon to forgive your partner if they’ve hurt you, and if they ask for your forgiveness, and you’re not ready to grant it, tell your partner you need time to consider forgiving them, and are open to the possibility of it.
10. Express gratitude, even if it feels like pulling teeth.
There can be a tendency when we’ve been hurt to shut someone out, and even retaliate or punish them with our absence and silence. But when you are ready to go your separate ways, wish each other well with sincerity, and say thank you — even if you hurt each other. That’s taking your experience higher.
Mindfulness will always help you stay in the present moment with love and non-judgment, and if you're able to choose it over hate, resentment or judgment, you can experience a greater level of healing and closure, and keep your heart open for another relationship in the future that you can aspire to do better in.