Because patriarchy makes women feel unworthy or unlovable especially if we are single, many women who are in bad relationships end up staying with partners who don’t deserve them. We may blame ourselves for the ways in which our relationships are failing. We can come to rely on the relationship for our self-esteem or even our identity. We can fall in love with the romantic idea of being in love, even if it doesn’t correspond to reality. All of this makes it even harder for us to leave. In this guide, we explore the steps it will take to end a bad relationship and move on.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, this article is for you.
- Do your interactions often leave you feeling angry, hurt, or upset? Unfulfilled, disrespected, or unloved?
- Do you regularly have arguments, the underlying issues of which are left unresolved?
- Does your partner display the same behavior patterns over and over without making any lasting effort to change?
STEP 1: CUTTING COMMUNICATION
This is the first step to freedom! It is absolutely crucial to give yourself, and them, the time and space needed to think about and make good decisions for your happiness and your future. If you feel that they deserve the courtesy (meaning, if they have shown a similar type of courtesy to you), you can let them know that you need space.
We understand that cutting communication will be quite difficult, especially in this age of mobile phones, Facebook, and IMs. But it is very important, as talking to them will definitely keep you from making up your own mind about how best to move on. If you end up talking to them, ask them to respect your space and your decision, and not to contact you again.
There are many things you may be thinking about and wanting to say. Get it out, just not to them! Trusted friends are good people to talk to in this case. Alternatively, you can write down the things you want to tell them in a journal or notebook. Don’t type it, as it makes it too easy to email!
Use any combination of the below to help you maintain a safe distance.
- Incoming – Par List If someone tries to par the Sistas of Resistance, they get put on a Par List. A par is an extremely rude breach of social standard. People who par you deserve to be ignored.
Make a note as their name on your phone (e.g. DON’T ANSWER) to remind you not to pick up when they call.
If they try to chat with you online, do not respond. In extreme cases, Sistas of Resistance have blocked people. Don’t think we won’t.
- Outgoing – Don’t Contact Them! (by text/email/call/FB/chat)
If you are finding it hard to stop yourself from calling them, you need to delete their number. This is not as drastic as it seems. More than likely they will call you back, so you will have their number again. If necessary, before deleting, write the last few digits down and keep in a place you remember. That way, if they call again, you won’t accidentally answer because you don’t know who it is.
NOTE: If they don’t call you back, take that as a sign that you have split up and they were never willing to make even a small amount of effort. You are much better off without them.
Delete all their messages and emails. Use search functions to help you do this quickly and without rereading it all. You may wish to keep some of your favourite messages as memories – but the sentimental value is worth less than your sanity. Delete them. Now.
Make the Cut
Cutting communication is one of the most difficult but most important parts of splitting up. Often a bad partner will have extensive experience at manipulating people. So the best and only way to avoid being emotionally manipulated by them is to not allow them to speak to you. Do not meet up with them and do not answer their calls. Remember that when they say “I just want to talk,” it means “I want to persuade you.”(See Translations for more). A thoughtless partner who only cares about their own feelings will ignore your attempts to split up, will not listen, and willl fail to accept that you are splitting up with them. No matter what trick (crying, faking injury, etc) or line they use to try to guilt you into getting back with them, stay strong. Don’t believe their pleas. Lines like: “You don’t care about me, I can’t believe you’re leaving me / throwing this away,” are attempts at emotional manipulation. There is only way to respond — cut communication.
Next: Part 2 – SPLITTING UP