Tag Archives: breakup

37920142 - breakup of a couple with a sad man in the background and the girlfriend leaving him in the foreground

I received a question from a reader:

Dear Anita,

I’m in a 5-month relationship with my boyfriend. Things were great in the beginning but it’s been rocky the last couple of months. We’ve been arguing more and I don’t hear from him as often as I used to. I thought he was “The One” but now I’m not so sure. How do I know when to give up? Should I break up with him?

Dating is about taking the time to figure out if the person that you’re with is a good fit for you. Sometimes we believe so strongly that we have met our future partner – in the beginning of a relationship. But as time goes on, we can be plagued with doubts.

It takes time for patterns to develop, and at 5 months you’re around the point in your relationship where some of the infatuation fades and you can see your partner more realistically.

I commonly find that my clients stay in relationships longer than they should. A few questions you can answer to determine if you should stay or go:

1. Are you compromising your non-negotiables?

Do you find yourself rationalizing or justifying your boyfriend’s behaviors – or your own – that go against your non-negotiables? These can be things such as he wants to live in the suburbs but you don’t, or he doesn’t want to raise his children with a certain religion but you do. Whatever they are, if you find that you’re talking yourself out of your non-negotiables to keep your relationship, it’s not a good sign.

2. Are your needs being met?

If you’re considering breaking up, you’re unhappy to some degree. It’s difficult to feel fulfilled if your needs aren’t getting met. Think of what you find yourself complaining about or what brings you disappointment in your relationship – this can help you pinpoint your needs. For example, you want more communication but you’re not getting it – is this an important need for you?

3. Have you spoken up for what you want/need?

Some people think their partner should “just know” what they want. In the beginning of a relationship, you’re still learning about each other. It takes time to be so attuned to your partner that you can anticipate his needs, and 5 months may not be long enough for either of you to know what the other person wants. It’s better to speak up for what’s essential to you in a relationship.

4. Is there effort?

Relationships take work. They require conscious effort to not only consider your own needs, but also that of your partner’s. If your boyfriend isn’t demonstrating effort – or even if you find yourself without motivation – to make your relationship better, things probably won’t improve the longer you stay together.

5. Are you able to negotiate your differences?

Differences are inevitable. Are you and your boyfriend able to find win-win solutions to the things that you disagree on? Can you live with the differences if you can’t find mutually agreeable solutions? If not, you may have to find someone who is more naturally compatible with you.

Although there are no “one size fits all” answers, these questions can help guide you in making your decision of whether there is long-term success with your boyfriend.

Couple After Breaking Up and Being Dumped


Facing the aftermath of being dumped by surprise can be one of the worst feelings. You can’t seem to focus at work or school, you become obsessed with memories of your ex, you lose your appetite.

And when my clients come to me in these kinds of situations, I find that specific actions are extremely helpful.

Here are a few tips to get you started after you’ve been dumped:

  • Date. I know it’s sometimes the last thing people want to do after a breakup, but there are so many men out there for you to go out and have fun with without the expectation of a serious relationship. Just be upfront about your intentions. You can tell your potential dates that you’re casually dating or wanting to explore the city, but aren’t looking for anything serious. Those who have similar intentions will stay in the game.

  • Fill your time. If you used to make dinner with your ex every Sunday night, plan an activity that you’ll look forward to until the pain of Sunday nights subsides. Get together with your friends, volunteer, take a class, or catch up on your favorite shows. Fill that time that you used to spend with him doing something fun or productive and stop the anxiety. Some of my clients know when they’ll have idle time so they ask their friends to hang out – and promise not to bring up the ex!

  • Plan for weak moments. You’ll have your weak moments when you may want to contact your ex. Have a go-to plan in place – exercise, call a friend, distract yourself with work, pick up a book, etc. And whatever you do, don’t cyber-stalk! You’ll be upset if you see something you don’t like or can’t explain – “Who is that girl in that photo with him?” Even better, unfriend him on Facebook if you haven’t already done so and if necessary, block him so you won’t sneak a peek. Also, allow your friends to take your phone away at times of weakness.

  • Keep count. If you’re an “out of sight, out of mind” person this won’t work. But if you’re not, use a calendar to keep track of the days you’ve gone without contact. Having a visual reminder can also keep you from reaching out.

  • Remember why you broke up. Visual reminders can be extremely helpful. Keep a list or use sticky notes with the reasons why you broke up in the first place. Leave them in your purse, put them on your nightstand or hang them on your fridge. Were there any red flags that you missed? Write those down and look at them often. If you had friends who disliked your ex, this would be a good time for them to remind you how much they disliked him.

  • Avoid your relationship haunts.It’s ok to avoid your usual hangouts until you feel better. It doesn’t mean your ex has power over you, it means you’re paying attention to your emotions and doing what’s best for you in the moment.

  • Get out of routine. Getting out of routine can elevate mood. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, trying different restaurants, or taking a trip to a place you’ve never been, these little and big ways can make you feel happier, which can also give you hope that you can happily move on.

Although time can heal all wounds, it’s what you do with that time that can be a key difference to you healing more quickly.

If only it was as simple as putting “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” on your list to Santa. How cool would it be if he or she actually came wrapped in a red bow? From commercials to songs to couples walking hand in hand seemingly everywhere you look, ‘tis the season for romance. But what if you don’t have a significant other? You can still make it the most wonderful time of the year.


Embrace it. If you’re sad about being single during the holidays or dealing with a breakup, it’s ok. You can’t always push away feelings so don’t fight them. Sometimes giving more energy to the fight makes things worse. Set aside time to be sad, even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes a day, and don’t criticize yourself for feeling down.


Say yes! Novelty and variety can cheer you up, so even just meeting someone new or doing something different can put you in a better mood. You might prefer to stay in and lounge on your couch, but say yes to invitations that come your way – or take the initiative and see what’s going on around town! There’s no excuse with so many opportunities this season: office and ugly sweater parties, citywide events, zoo lights, holiday concerts, etc. And you already have built-in conversation starters: What are you doing for the holidays? Do you have any traditions? What is your favorite holiday memory?


Spread holiday cheer. Sometimes the best gift you can give is yourself. Volunteer for a cause that you believe in, or go caroling around your neighborhood or nursing home. Visit a family member or friend who is going through a tough time. Selfless activities can boost your self-esteem, so giving of yourself is a win-win.


Take advantage. When you’re out and about, take advantage of meeting new people! Maybe there’s someone who catches your eye while you’re shopping for presents or at a holiday concert. Make eye contact and smile! Again, the opportunities for conversation starters are endless: ask their opinion about the gift you’re thinking of buying, or ask them their favorite holiday song. Nervous? That can be a good thing – even just doing something that gets your heart pumping can elevate your mood.


Do your own thing. Have you ever said, “I’ll do X once I meet someone?” Don’t wait! Do what you love now. Start a tradition that you can do solo or when you’re in a relationship. Throw a dinner party with your fabulous friends or take a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to go. Whether big or small, carpe diem!


Be your own Santa. If you’re like my clients, you probably take care of others before yourself. Take the holidays for some self-care or treat yourself to a meaningful gift or experience. It’s a great reminder to be aware of your own needs, what’s been missing in your life, and that it’s ok to put yourself first sometimes.


Celebrate you. What’s amazing about you? What have you overcome? Think of all of your accomplishments this past year. Write out all that you have done and completed in the past 12 months and then celebrate. Appreciate what you have achieved. It’s important to recognize your worth whether you’re single or in a relationship.


And if all else fails, just carry around some mistletoe.