lessons from a transformative breakup: how to find new ways be in each other’s lives and not split the communities we love or the movements we support*

Try every single thing you can to make it work, and articulate the effort you are making to each other. Even things you aren’t sure will work – try EVERYthing. this will matter later.

Love yourself.

Don’t let fear make you settle for something you know isn’t working.

Be honest. The harder things are to say, the more necessary they are to say.

Commit to being in each other’s lives, and doing whatever is needed to ensure that in the long term.

…this may include being far away from each other (physically, and in social media, and in all communications) in the short term.

Set boundaries around communication and stick to them. This includes how often to communicate, what is ok to talk about, who it’s ok to talk to about the process, and permission to express feelings. You can identify a new boundary while in communication as you go along if something hurts or doesn’t feel right.

Don’t tell anyone else until you are ready.

Be intentional about who you tell, what you say, and letting people know what is and isn’t ok to talk or ask about. Write a letter to your community if need be. That way your true story trumps gossip and bullshit.

Feel your feelings.
Feel your feelings!
Feel your feelings.

Gather trusted support around you and lean on them as much as necessary.

Together, tell the story of your relationship to a trusted friend. What happened, what was great, what did you learn? Be as honest as possible, and take the time to tell the whole thing.

Don’t judge each other’s choices, feelings or processes. You can’t actually know what is going on for them. Take responsibility for your own feelings and act accordingly.

When you feel ready, dream together about the new relationship you want to have with each other.

As you come into new, post-breakup relationship with each other, watch for your patterns, and take it slow.

Celebrate your maturity and growth and ability to be present and do this.

Invite others to celebrate and applaud the efforts.

When you feel ready, enjoy the friendship you made possible together.

* please note: all of this is in the case of a generally awesome, healthy relationship that doesn’t quite work. not an abusive one that you may need to actually completely leave quickly.)