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Relationship
5 Minutes

Relationship Breakdown: Components & Coping

Understand the process of relationship breakdown, explore different types of relationships, learn the key components of healthy connections, and find effective coping strategies to heal and move forward.
vector of a relationship breakdown
Written by
Bloom Clinical Care Counselling and Therapy Services
Published
April 1, 2023

What is Relationship Breakdown

 

A relationship breakdown is a termination of an existing relationship, most commonly a romantic relationship but can also include relationships involving friends, family, co-workers, etc. 

Most commonly accepted, there are five steps leading to the breakdown of a relationship

  • Dissatisfaction with the existing relationship
  • Exposure of the problems in the relationship
  • Negotiating solutions to fix the problems
  • Applying the results of the negotiation
  • The proposed solution fails to rectify the issue, leading to terminating the relationship

 

Type of Relationships

 

Platonic

A platonic relationship is a close bond with someone you trust and respect, but with no romance or intimacy. You can share platonic relationships with friends, co-workers, or neighbors. Platonic relationships can involve varying levels of closeness, but usually, it imbues a sense of comfort and ease.

 

Romantic

Romantic feelings primarily involve attraction and subsequently, love for a person. Romantic relationships involve intimacy, the level of which can vary depending on your comfort. Initially, romances are filled with chemistry and passion, but over time, they become rooted in respect and mutual understanding. Books, TV shows, and movies try to explore love from every angle, but real life isn’t always like the movies, as I am sure you may know! Each couple tends to have different understandings and expectations of love, and you should rely on your instinct and emotion to guide you in those situations.

 

Codependent

An imbalanced, almost dysfunctional relationship where partners depend on each other for emotional and mental well-being. It often involves one person being the caretaker and the other being the recipient of that constant care. Codependency exists outside romantic relationships, between parents and children or friends too.

 

Casual

Casual relationships also involve intimacy but without the expectation of commitment and monogamy. Heavily popularized by contemporary media, they may seem very detached and sexual, but that is not always the case. You can set your boundaries based on what makes you comfortable. Young adults may seek casual relationships because they aren’t ready for commitment. They can be fun and positive in many ways, but communications and comfort are key.

 

Open

A non-monogamous relationship where one or both partners have sexual relationships with other people. Again, open relationships are based on mutual consent, and each couple can set their own limits. 

 

 

Components of healthy relationships

Respect 

Possibly the most important aspect that sets a healthy relationship apart is mutual respect. This means that you admire your partner and hold their character in high regard. It also means you acknowledge their career and life choices in a positive light. Several times relationships with heaps of love end in turbulence because the foundation of respect and regard was inadequate.

 

Trust 

The second key aspect is trust. Trust is the easiest thing to break and the hardest to rebuild. Often likened to a shattered mirror, even if broken trust is repaired you always see the cracks. The way to avoid that is to be open and honest with your partner, even when it is uncomfortable. It also means that if you have reservations or hear rumors, you trust them and give them the benefit of the doubt. 

 

Good conflict resolution and communication

The most important aspects of any relationship are - trust, respect, and communication. Being vulnerable and open with your emotions can be challenging, but it can cement success in a relationship. Remember that no one can read your mind. Communicating your needs and expectations in a healthy, non-confrontational manner makes it easier for everyone involved. Additionally, try to resolve conflict with your partner without involving third parties. While they can help sometimes, it often adds confusion and deters from the most important aspect – your partner's feelings.

 

Security and independence 

While it may sound contradictory, to be independent in a relationship, maturity comes from being secure with yourself before entering a relationship. A good relationship should bring out the best in you by providing a safe and nurturing environment, but it should not take away from who you are as an individual.

 

Love and affection 

In healthy relationships, affection is abundant. Each couple might have their love language, from physical touch to sweet gestures. But both of them should feel loved and cared for. Seeking affection constantly is a sign that you aren’t getting what you want out of the relationship. 

 

Coping with Relationship breakdown

 

Do not fight feelings

A breakup can cause a cascade of strong feelings which may be overwhelming. You may be driven to being stoic, strong, and moving on. But truly moving on requires that you face the intense feelings and not avoid them. The extreme hurt, betrayal, and loss may seem endless, but time heals everything. Suppressing these emotions may provide temporary respite, but often, they catch up to you. 

 

Prioritize self-care

There is no better time than post-break-up to pamper yourself a little. Prioritize the spa day, expensive restaurant, night out, or game night you had been putting off. Allow yourself to let off some steam and just have a good time with friends and family. People have different coping mechanisms, and the idea is to put yourself first for a while. If exercise makes you feel good, increase your gym time, or join a dance class, if it's shopping, splurge a little. Lean on people who support you and bring out the best in you.

 

Make a list of things you learned about yourself from the relationship.

While a breakup can feel like a tremendous loss, there are things to learn from each relationship that shapes you as a person. In the face of that grief, it is easy to lose sight of your personal growth throughout the relationship. Journaling or writing down things you learned about yourself, your priorities and principles, and your ideas of a healthy relationship bring a lot of clarity. Try not to lose faith in the idea of love, because chances are your relationship did not end because of the lack of love. 

 

Start Dating again

Deciding when to get back into the dating pool is confusing and hard. You don’t want to jump in too soon, but you also don’t want to wait forever. You might even get conflicting advice from your loved ones. At the end of the day, the decision is yours. Some people prefer to heal on their own, before putting themselves out there, and others find solace in new connections. There is no right formula, all you can do is be upfront with your intentions and true to your needs. If you feel like you want to start with a more casual relationship, communicate that with potential partners to avoid future conflict.

 

Rachel Wolchin said, “If life can remove someone you never dreamed of losing, it can replace them with someone you never dreamt of having.”

 

Are you struggling with your relationship? We may be able to help. 

At Bloom Clinical Care Counselling and Therapy Services, we have a team of Psychotherapists and Social Workers who are experienced and qualified to help you with your relationship. Our therapists can help with a wide range of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, grief, couples therapy, child therapy, anger management, workplace stress, and stress management, to name a few. 

We currently have two locations, in Scarborough and Mississauga, to serve our clients and families across the Greater Toronto Area. All therapists on our team also provide virtual therapy across Ontario via phone and secure video calls. Our collective goal as a team is to help you flourish in life, guide you to your important milestone, and provide unwavering support. 

Scarborough Location

Our Scarborough Therapists are located at Third floor, 1200 Markham Rd suite 306 c, Scarborough, ON M1H 3C3 for in-person and virtual psychotherapy appointments.

Mississauga Location

Our Mississauga Therapist are located at 3024 Hurontario St #206, Mississauga, ON L5B 4M4 for in-person and virtual psychotherapy appointments. Similar to our Scarborough Psychotherapy clinic, the new Mississauga location also supports individuals, families, couples, and children seeking help with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, grief, couples therapy, relationship counselling, stress management, and child and youth counselling.

Struggling with you mental health? We may be able to help. Book a free consultation today.
Disclaimer: This article is solely intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as professional advice. The content of this article should not be used as a substitution to therapy, counselling, medical attention, or any kind of professional help. The author and Bloom Clinical Care Counseling and Therapy services strongly encourages readers to seek guidance from appropriate professionals if they are in need of assistance.