5 Effective Things to Do Instead of Contacting that Person You Know Isn’t Good for You
Congratulations! You made the difficult and courageous choice to end a relationship that isn’t healthy for you. You probably also set a rule for yourself to not contact them since it’s easy to fall back into the same old painful routine with this person.
Getting to this point probably was filled with a lot of pain and anger. You also most likely tried telling this person about your feelings and needs. If you had to end the relationship, ultimately they weren’t invested enough or healthy enough to make the changes you needed though.
So again – congratulations for taking this brave step towards self-love, self-respect, and a life filled with healthy relationships.
However, after taking this step, it’s common for loneliness and self-doubt to start creeping back in. If you are feeling lonely, it’s normal to start thinking things like, “Was it really that bad?” or “Maybe I didn’t give them enough of a chance?” or “I need to be more understanding about where they are coming from at this time.” Compassion is a beautiful thing but it’s important that we don’t neglect our own need for compassion.
When we start feeling this way, we start considering breaking our own no-contact rule. We start believing the fantasy it will be better this time for some reason.
You Made This Choice for Valid Reasons
Despite your second-guessing, I want to remind you: You made the difficult choice to end contact with this person for valid reasons. You probably even gave this person numerous chances to meet your needs or treat you better and they still weren’t capable of changing.
That’s ok – they’re not a bad person necessarily but as you already know – they aren’t a healthy person for you.
It’s so common to want to bargain with reality and wonder if we try different things if we will get a different result.
One thing I know to be true though is this: Unhealthy or incompatible people (for us) exist and that no amount of trying to change this truth gives us a different outcome. The only thing we can do is accept this painful truth with grace. Or, we can delay our suffering and spend more time (years?) with someone who isn’t right for us.
You have two choices: Feel the grief now or continue to suffer in this relationship and feel the grief later.
You Can’t Change the Truth
I say this from hard-earned personal experience. Most of my adulthood (so far) I spent with men in on-again/off-again relationships who weren’t willing or able to meet my needs. I spent 26 combined years (!) believing I could change the reality that these men were unhealthy for me. The truth in my gut was that they weren’t right for me, but I was desperate to prove my worth to them so I held on for so many painful years.
I don’t want you to have to spend so much time in this cycle. Instead, I hope for you self-protection, self-love and self-respect starting now.
Please save this article and the next time you start bargaining with reality and want to contact that person try these things instead.
5 Effective Things to Do Instead of Contacting that Person who isn’t Healthy for You
1. Journal about why you ended this relationship. You are not creating a “burn book” here – you’re simply honoring the truth. List everything you can think of that highlights why this person wasn’t right or healthy for you. For example, “She didn’t want to ever call me her girlfriend/boyfriend.” Or, “He made fun of my goals and told me that they’re too hard for me.” Or, “She’s going through a divorce and explicitly told me that she doesn’t want anything serious. When I am truthful, I really do want a committed relationship.” Or, “Despite telling me that I’m important to him, he usually excluded me from his plans on the weekends/holiday.” Or, “They only call for emotional support and when I try to talk about myself/my problems, they cut me off and have other things they have to do.” Think about the big picture and what you truly want in your life. Journal about your ideal, healthy-relationship now.
2. Paint your nails. It’s seriously incredibly hard to use your phone/tablet/laptop to contact this person when you are focused on painting your nails. And, if you’re anything like me, it takes Herculean effort and focus to paint your nails rather than your fingers! If you’re a man, this tip is still for you! And, no matter what, you don’t have to commit to your new look – that’s why there’s nail polish remover – you are simply distracting yourself long enough to not disrespect yourself by breaking your own boundary.
3. List all the pros/cons that you can think of regarding this person. Seeing the long list of cons always helped validate for me why I was ending a relationship. Although, truthfully, I didn’t respect myself enough to honor my boundaries for years (you don’t need to take so long!). If you are having a hard time identifying the “cons,” try this simple visualization: Imagine that you are wearing rose colored glasses when you think of this person. Now, imagine that you can remove these glasses. Take a deep breath. Now, imagine replacing these rose colored glasses with glasses that have clear lens – the clear part is important – and try writing this pros/cons list again.
4. KonMari your closet: Basically, take out every item of clothes in your closet and lay them out on your bed. Next, ask yourself if the item “sparks joy.” This may sound strange at first but, just ask yourself if the item makes you happy. Consciously, we don’t often think about it but a lot of our clothes carry memories. You may find that some of your clothes don’t spark joy – rather, they make you miss the other person by reminding you of the “good times.” Get rid of this item (unless it’s genuinely functional like a rain jacket and you need it) because it’s not worth the reminders of this person! You can donate these items, or if they are in very good condition, you can sell them to a secondhand place like ThredUp. Bonus Points: You are both respecting yourself and helping the planet by giving your clothes a second life.
5. Get away from your devices. Take a mindfulness break: Go on a walk (if you feel safe without your phone), Go outside – to your apartment’s common area, your backyard, your patio – and literally count things i.e. how many trees or flowers you see, how many bees are pollinating a flowered bush, or how many different colors you can see around you for example, Take a shower and feel the sensations of the water and smell the products you use, Pet or play with your dog/cat….anything to put you back in the present moment. Deep breathing helps too!
I Believe in You
I know that learning to honor your own boundaries, rather than giving into the fantasy of another person takes hard work, but I promise you – you are so capable of this. It’s also so worth the effort of distracting yourself and finding other ways to cope when you want to break your boundaries. I promise you will get to the other side of this and by doing so, you will find your right, healthy, and compatible partner sooner rather than later!