At Everyday Feminism, I wrote about ending relationships:
The hardest breakups I’ve gone through have been the ones I’ve had to initiate myself.
Like most women, I’ve been socialized not to trust my own gut feelings, and the days or weeks (or, in a few sad cases, months) leading up to those breakups were full of second-guessing and invalidating myself.
Did I really have to leave such a nice person? Were things really that bad?
As embarrassing as it is to admit how long it sometimes took me to do what needed to be done, I’m not exactly surprised – my brain couldn’t stop debating itself long enough to say the words.
Most resources for dealing with breakups are aimed at the person who’s getting dumped. That makes sense – having someone break up with you is often really painful, and it’s often a more sharp and surprising sort of pain than what I’m going to talk about here.
But being the one who realizes a relationship needs to end and takes action to end it can also be really hard.
My intention isn’t to compare these two experiences – most of us have gone through both and might have very different perspectives on which is relatively easier or harder. Point is, they both suck.
Since there’s less out there on doing the actual breaking up, I want to use this space to affirm those of you who are struggling with it.
Breaking up is hard to do – but these affirmations can help.
1. You Don’t Owe Romantic or Sexual Interest to Anyone
Many people, especially women, are socialized to feel like the mere fact that someone likes them means they have to try to like them back. If someone likes us, we see it as a favor – and it’s only polite to return favors.
This can cause a lot of us to end up in relationships we never really wanted to be in. It can also make it really difficult to end relationships that we no longer want to be in.
Just because you’re a feminist, that doesn’t mean you’re completely finished unlearning the many ways in which you’ve been taught to prioritize others before yourself – I know I’m not.
If you’re having a hard time ending a relationship you know you don’t want anymore, it might be because some part of you still feels like owe your partner that relationship.
In those moments, it can be helpful to remind yourself that you don’t owe any sort of intimacy to anyone, ever, no matter how much they want it.
Read the rest here.