Not everybody looks forward to Valentine’s Day. That may read so negative, but the fact is, to some people, the occasion brings additional pressure to do or feel what is expected, especially after a break-up.
“Hala, nag-break na kayo? Wala kang dyowa? Bakit kayo nag-break?” the most serious questions to hear from those who think they deserve an explanation on why your relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend suddenly fell apart.
Worse, they’d think that the break-up is even your fault because your relationship standards are too high to meet.
According to Hayalee Joy Vicente-Estoya, a local mental health practitioner, there are several factors why relationships come to an end. It could be about trust issues, different expectations, differences in priorities, moving through life at different speeds, incompatibility, communication issues, narcissism, relational aggression, life habit issues, growing apart, and money issues.
“Isa sa factors na puwede natin tingnan ay ang trust issue, kapag medyo matagal na sa relationship or nagkaroon ng isang incident na medyo na-astray sa relationship ang isang party then, nabi-break yong trust. Medyo difficult na siya i-build again so pupuwede siyang trigger factor na unti-unti na nawawala ‘yong trust sa relationship kaya nag-i-end,” she said.
Estoya said some of the contributing factors why a couple’s relationship fails are frustration due to unmet expectations, the feeling of being neglected because priorities are not the same, and the feeling of being outgrown because your growth phases are not similar.
The different ways couples deal with their issues is also a triggering factor in why their relationships will fail. The most serious is experiencing relational abuse, she said, such as physical, emotional and psychological that affect the partner’s self-esteem.
Even life habit abuses, such as addiction to mobile games, alcohols, and gambling instead of investing time for relationship growth, can also result in break-ups.
Estoya said romantic relationships can also grow apart because of the monotony of the activities that couples do and when their financial capabilities are incompatible.
“Communication issue rin — puwede na ang other party is very vocal with her/his feelings at saka yong mga gusto niya mangyari sa relationship pero yong communication style ng other party ay hindi niya kapareho. Puwedeng may breakdown in communication, meaning yong message na gusto iparating ng other party ay hindi nakararating ng tama or nami-misinterpret,” she said.
Estoya said that the bottom line of all factors is having insecurities within the relationship.
She said that based on her point of view, it will still depend on how the person views the break-up. However, she explained that break-ups are most painful for those who have invested a lot in their relationships but do not recognize their potential ending.
“Yong mga tao talaga na nag-invest sa relationship tapos hindi nila na-recognize sa ganoon yong relationship or in denial sila, puwedeng mas makaramdam sila ng pain, kasi na-off guard sila, hindi nila napaghandaan,” she said.
“To those who were left hanging or who have no idea how relationships can come to an end, the break-up could be painful to them as they did not foresee the telltale signs,” Estoya added.
However, she said that some break-ups could have less pain if it is a mutual decision or if it will be a liberating experience for someone who will leave the relationship.
“For example yong isang party, kaya siya umalis sa relationship kasi hindi na healthy sa kanya, may mga valid reason kaya siya umalis. Pwedeng nag-break up sila pero yong emotional pain, ay hindi as intense as the other party, pwede yong pagbi-break nila ay liberating experience, nakawala siya,” she said.
Is there really ghosting?
Ghosting means you can date someone for a specific period of time and then disappear from the relationship without any explanation whatsoever. According to Dictionary.com’s explanation, it’s “the practice of suddenly ending all contact with the person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship”.
Estoya explained that based on her perspective, this type of ending the romantic relationship can cause so much pain to someone who was “ghosted” or left hanging as he/she did not expect that their love would suddenly come to an end.
However, she said that it still depends on how the parties involved see the relationship.
“In my perspective, kasi hindi nakapag-prepare yong person, hindi niya in-expect kasi puwede naman na walang signs talaga, okay naman sila pero sa other party, ang perception kasi ay kung paano niya tiningnan yong relationship. Puwede doon sa isang party ay hindi yong ghosting, nagbi-break down na yong relationship, hindi na siya healthy, may mga sign na. Pero sa isa, ghosting yon kasi wala tayong problema,” she said.
She said that there are always two versions of the story. It could be that the ghosting experience of the other party is not the intention of the other one. It would also depend on how the situation will be interpreted.
How to deal with the pain
In psychology, Estoya said that there is a theory called “Stages of Grief” by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. When someone loses something, it is said that a person undergoes the normal stages of losing someone before he/she accepts the situation.
First, a person in pain undergoes the “in denial stage”, a common defense mechanism that the person denies the situation which can result in anger, or being mad towards the other party, whether the person was cheated on or made to hope for nothing.
It follows with bargaining with the chance to do everything just to save what is lost. If bargaining does not work, a person could feel depressed or extreme sadness, but not the clinical type of depression in acknowledging the loss whatever you do. The last stage is acceptance.
“Once na natanggap mo na wala na talaga yong relationship, that is the only time makaka-enact ka ng mga pagmo-move on. Yong coping process natin, moving away, moving away from the situation,” she said.
“Puwede ka magpabalik-balik, kaya mapapansin na may mga tao na una galit, tapos parang accepted na nila yong sitwasyon pero eventually makikita mo na naghahabol na naman siya, bargaining na naman siya kasi hindi siya parang hagdan na dadaanan mo nang sunod-sunod. Depende kung paano mo pinoproseso yong experience,” she said.
Healthy ways to deal with a break-up
Estoya said the first way to deal and cope with the pain is regaining self-love. Every individual has different ways of processing the pain and coping with the sad situation. There are persons with strong coping mechanisms and there are also those who are very vulnerable because they do not know how to get past the situation.
She advised persons experiencing pain to find a friend they could rely on, those who would listen and would not be angry with them.
“Huwag ka maghanap ng toxic na kaibigan na nagagalit kapag nagsha-share ka kasi usually yon ang nakakalungkot, yong si-sermunan ka pa, sasabihin na kasalanan mo pa. Kapag wala kang mapagsabihan, isulat mo sa paper lahat,” she said.
It would also be best to get busy so not so much time will be spent thinking about hurt feelings. It would be healthy also to prioritize self-love, identify what improvements could be done for the self and not putting the blame on yourself.
Take care of hygiene because once a person gets stuck on his/her bed and forgets to wash or take a bath, that’s when the body feels at its lowest.
“Isa na pwede tingnan kapag medyo okay na siya ay to step back and reevaluate, atras siya. Kasi ang tendency kasi ng mga bagong break up lang ay balikan nila kung saan sila nagkamali, try nila umatras sa sitwasyon at reevaluate. What did I do to improve the relationship, what can I do para ang next relationship ko ay maging better,” she said.
Best ways for friends to help
Friends must also remind the person in pain that they are not a failure and should help them realize what they have learned and gained in the relationship. Making them feel they are the ones who did wrong would further victimize them and not help them cope with the situation, Estoya said.
“Wag na natin sila i-over victimize, na kawawa ka naman, grabe yong ginawa sayo ng jowa mo. Yong pinapatronize pa natin sila at lalo pa natin pinaparamdam na nakakaawa yong sitwasyon nila dahil sa ginawa sa kanila ng partner nila,” she said.
She also advised friends not to overemphasize the silver lining. As a friend, it is best to be present instead of overstating that the break-up is better and giving lines such as “Okay lang, at least naghiwalay kayo”. Sometimes, persons in pain do not want to hear anything, they just want a friend to listen.
They must also encourage their friend to have quality time to spend alone and offer practical help by asking them what help do they need from a friend. Hear their frustrations but do not ignite the blame on the partner. Help on checking them and offer to help them reinvent themselves.
Friends should not blame themselves if they feel like they have done all things to help and nothing made the person feel better. It must be remembered that at the end of the day, they are not responsible to fix their friendship.
She advised that still the best thing to take from a break up is the learnings and giving a fresh eye to the next relationship.