Couples: What to do if you feel guilty for ending a relationship?
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Are you struggling with feelings of guilt for ending a relationship?
That’s okay because it is a very normal thing to feel. Let’s look at why that relationship ended, did you feel that you were not being appreciated, is your spouse not giving you the effort that you need, were your needs being met?
These are all questions to ask yourself when struggling with feelings of guilt after ending a relationship. Most people think “I could have given it another chance” or “Maybe I ended it to soon”, whatever the case, it is important to look at how that relationship was making your or your partner feel.
Dealing with these feelings of guilt or even regret after a breakup takes time so do not rush yourself or be too hard on yourself.
Going through a breakup is not easy no matter if you’ve been together a few months, 3 years or even 30 years. Going through the process of a breakup takes time, patience, self-forgiveness, and acceptance of the loss of that relationship. At the end of the day you or someone you loved or really cared about got hurt and those are hard feelings to deal with.
Let’s look at some ways to cope with feelings of guilt after a breakup
Face and accept your guilty feelings
If you feel like you did something to hurt the other person, that can be hard to cope and accept. If the breakup was due to cheating, ghosting, lying, or even falling out of love. Feeling guilty for any of these is a healthy response to doing something that we seem as bad to someone we loved. Understanding and facing those feelings head on is important when forgiving yourself or making amends with your old partner.
Remind yourself of the good things
One way to cope with feelings of guilt is to look at a more positive aspect, what did you do good in the relationship? Were you loving, compassionate, a good listener, a team player during your relationship? Being able to remind yourself that there are good aspects during the relationship and that you were not a bad partner the whole time will allow you to work through those feelings of guilt. Just because you ended the relationship does not mean that you have to feel guilty about it, you decided that it was not working and wanted to give each other a better shot at love. This is not something that you should feel guilty about, it’s a normal experience. Breakups suck, plain and simple but, you must listen to that voice in your head that is saying “Hey, this isn’t working”. Now you can focus on moving on.
Remind yourself why you broke up
Reminding yourself why you broke up and that it happened for a reason can be crucial when accepting and forgiving yourself for the breakup. At some point in the relationship you felt that it was not working. That it was not something you could fix and felt that it would be better to give you both a chance at healthy and happy love to end things and move on. Not everyone is for everyone. We vibe or don’t vibe with others and sometimes we just aren’t meant to be with certain people and that is okay. Even though the breakup is painful now, in the long run you will be able to make sense of the breakup and it will not be as bad when thinking about it. You might even get to a point where you come to find yourself grateful for that breakup.
Be able to identify what is making you feel guilty
Is it the fact that you hurt someone you love? Did you cheat or lie? Are your families upset about the breakup? Is your ex making you feel guilty for ending things or hurting them? Being able to identify those feelings and why you are feeling that way is a great way to pinpoint those emotions. Once you can pinpoint what or who is making you feel guilty you can then focus on setting those boundaries with who is making you feel guilty or removing what is making you feel guilty from your life.
Learn from it
The best tip is learning from your past experiences. This breakup allows you to realize what you might want or do not want in a relationship. Noticing what is important to you and what you feel you need to work on in order to not repeat old habits.
Remember that you are human. Humans are allowed to make mistakes but, it is what we make of those mistakes that matter the most. What we learn from our past experiences allow us to grow and become a better version of ourselves. Give yourself time, you got this.
Our clinicians are here to speak with you and help you with these thoughts.
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PO Box 142
Bonne Terre, MO 63628
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