advice for a friend going through a break-up

Dear Jenn,

I have a friend who is currently going through a breakup. Although she seems to have her mind made up, lately she tells me the guy is saying things to get her to change her mind.

So about my friend and her relationship, from the inside looking in, he is very disrespectful to my friend and has even shown out in a group setting. He may love her but he truly doesn't have respect for her. They have been together for almost three years.

With all that being said, what should I tell my friend to do in order for him to back off and just be okay with the breakup. Did I mention they live together (lease is up in 4 months)?



Dear Cara,

Thanks for your really great question. It sounds like you really care about your friend and want the best for her.

It can be particularly difficult to watch someone you really care about go on a journey when you don’t feel it is the right course of action for her. The best thing you can do for your friend is to hold space for her to go through whatever she needs to go through and to make whatever decisions she decides to make. All you can do is support and love her unconditionally, without judgment and with compassion.

Truth be told, we have no idea what is the right or wrong experience for another person. What we think is right for another person may not be. There are only choices, consequences and lots of learning. This is the perfect relationship for your friend at this time (because she’s currently in it). Accepting what is allows for life to unfold in its own unique way. There is always a gift in every situation whether it’s painful or not.

I learned my lesson years ago when a good friend of mine entered into a relationship that I felt was the wrong relationship for her. I remember judging her so harshly. I didn’t think it was a good fit. Now 10 years later, she is happily married to the same guy, has two beautiful children and a meaningful relationship. What I learned was that I really do not know what is right or wrong for anyone - I know nothing. We all need to work out our own kinks, we all have our relationship challenges and we’re all human and have our own shadows. And even if my friends relationship ended in disaster, it still would have been the right relationship for her at that time because those were the lessons she needed to learn.

Whenever I find myself wanting to fix or control a friend's life, a person or a situation and I feel triggered by it (an emotional charge in my body) I know there is something that needs some attention within myself. It’s time for me to step back and reflect on my own inner workings. I look at it as a great opportunity to take back my projections and reassess the way I’m looking at things. The situation always calls for more compassion and acceptance.

You might want to look at how this is mirroring your own tendencies in your own life. For example, how might you be disrespecting yourself or others or perhaps, someone is disrespecting you? Look deep and see how your friend's behaviour or her partner's behaviour is mirroring your own tendencies or a situation you've found yourself in in your life. 

Once we own this behaviour in ourselves. It sets us free. It loses it’s charge. You can then choose to look at your friend through eyes of compassion. "I can see how she can get caught up in this, I could see myself getting caught up in something like this too. My mind can easily be swayed when I’m in relationship as well. I’ve been disrespected or I’ve disrespected too, perhaps, I’ve not been ok with break-ups in the past either." These are just some examples. You’ll have to look deeply to find what's happening to set off your trigger.

Simply being with your friend on her journey is the most loving thing you can do for her. Walk with her without judging, trying to fix her situation or change an outcome no matter what she chooses to do. Open your heart, offer compassion and unconditional support and let go of your judgments and any control of the situation you may want to have. Trust that whatever outcome arises is in your friends best interest and for the evolution of her soul. She will be okay as will you. 

When she's talking to you about her relationship, try stating the facts instead of opinion, "I hear you're in a lot of pain about this and I'm here for you no matter what." If she asks what you think she should do you could say, "You need to make a decision that feels right for you and I'll support you whatever that decision may be." Or you could encourage her to sit with things and look really deep for her answers.

This can be difficult work especially when we've been conditioned to think that "saving someone" is the most loving thing we can do. This is simply not true and we can feel this when we recall how it felt when someone else tried to save us. Not good. "Saving" is ego. A way to make ourselves feel important. 

Give yourself permission to try this new way. It may be bumpy to start and that's okay! As you practice it will get easier and you will notice incredible shifts in your life and the lives of your friends.