Tag Archives: relationship

Energy

Today, I decide to spend the whole day chilling out at home. I have a lie-in, I meditate, I eat breakfast.

I reply to a few text messages. I attempt to get cheap car insurance. I have lunch. I read emails. I watch Whip It for the second time.

By four pm, I’m agitated. What to do next? I could watch another movie. What a privilege to have the time and space to do so. I could read.

But I’m starting to feel uncomfortable. I’d probably feel better if I went for a walk. It’s sunny outside. I’d feel less guilty if it was raining.

I could follow a yoga class on YouTube. But I just don’t want to.

In the past, when I suffered spells of depression, I spent long periods in my room. I stayed in bed. I binged on junk food and mind-numbing box sets.

As a result, I became even more depressed and self-hating. Then, I definitely didn’t want to face the world because I felt so ugly and useless. Now, a part of me is scared that something similar could happen again.

For the past while, I’ve made sure to exercise every day. I get out of the house. I’m sociable. I’m busy. I work. I write blogs.

What I’ve learned from Chinese Medicine is that, when we don’t move enough, our energy becomes stagnant and we experience pain and fatigue. When enough energy doesn’t go to the head, we can feel depressed. That’s why it’s important to move our bodies and to receive energy treatments such as acupuncture.

However, I’d been moving my body to such an extent that I’d injured myself several times and I was exhausted. Following an acupuncturist’s advice, I haven’t exercised in four days.

Last night, I met a friend who’s home from abroad. She told me that I’m looking really well. I wanted to work out immediately. But I didn’t. Instead, I noted this reaction and I was okay with it.

For a change this Saturday, I haven’t arranged any coffee dates. I haven’t driven to the gym. I haven’t walked or yoga’d or even ventured outside the house. Instead, I drink hot beverages in bed, bite my fingers and click on Facebook for something to do.

The energy is rising. I usually shake it off or stuff it down. I’m not used to doing nothing. I don’t think I can do nothing.

I want to pump iron and dance and make love with aggression. I want to race through the countryside and bomb into the ocean. I want to laugh and cry and scream with abandon. I want to explode all this energy into my writing. I want to squeeze all my blackheads and peel off my skin. I even consider rejoining Tinder.

But I don’t do any of these things. I stay in my room, turn my phone on silent and sit on my meditation cushion. I bounce a little and rock back and forth. I start composing this blog post.

Then, I realise that there’s something about this energy that makes me want to burn it off. It doesn’t matter how. It just has to be released.

Suddenly, images of yogis and monks come to mind. People who have trained themselves to sit with this energy and allow it to build.

Humans who have managed to transcend these egoic and bodily urges to sex and spend, do and distract. They harness this energy and use it to connect with something bigger than all of this. To be present to all that is rather than losing themselves in all that they wish they were.

There’s nothing wrong with making the most of this creative energy. Artists splash it across canvasses to form beautiful masterpieces. Musicians and singers unleash it with passion. Champions triumph. New lives enter the planet.

And the rest of us mere mortals make sure to stay just ahead of it so we don’t have to think or feel too much. We move forward, we move forward, we move forward. We don’t want to get caught.

Most of the time, when I write an article, I’ve reached some sort of conclusion. I’ve come up with a positive slant. I’ve learned something. I’ve let go of something else. I’ve made myself feel better.

Today, I don’t transcend body, mind or ego. I sit on that meditation cushion for 10 minutes before moving the cushion in front of the laptop and vomiting all over WordPress. I feel a little bit better. I guess I’m still ahead.

life coach kildare

Images: favim.com

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The Inner Family

I’m currently rereading Anodea Judith’s excellent book Eastern Body, Western MindThis morning, I completed an exercise on the Inner Family that I’m going to share with you.

Anodea Judith suggests making a list of the various parts of yourself. You might include the inner child, the clown, the achiever, the lover, the critic, and so on. In my case, I listed the lost child, the inner child, the lover, the romantic, the fearful one, and the warrior.

Next to each name on the list, write a few words describing how you perceive this part of yourself.

For example, I could describe the inner child as playful, curious or innocent. The lost child might be scared and alone. The lover is open, present and sensual. The romantic believes in love. The fearful one anticipates that bad things will happen. And the warrior is stunning, strong and skilled.

Now, write down what you think each part wants. My inner child wants to experience. The lost child wants to be loved. The lover wants to make love. The romantic wants to connect. The fearful one wants peace. And the warrior wants to live.

Ask yourself how often these parts succeed in getting what they want. How realistic are their desires? And what can be done to bring them into wholeness?

In order to bring the various parts of myself into wholeness, I can connect with people, including myself. I can be open to relationship and to love. I can meditate, rest and be still. I can be in nature, surround myself with beauty, and go on adventures. Using all of my senses, I can make love with life every single day. I can be present, really live, relax, allow and enjoy.

The final part of this exercise is to look at who relates to whom. For instance, does the critic inhibit the artist? Or does the clown entertain the sad inner child?

I realise that the parts of myself that I listed seem to go in pairs. The loving, playful inner child is the lost child’s reassuring companion. The confident lover and the dreamy romantic are in perfect partnership. And the warrior protects the fearful one and makes her feel safe.

This is an interesting exercise. Try it and let me know how you get on.

weheartit.com

weheartit.com

An Erasmus Engagement

Today, I read a mail from a dear friend who just got engaged to a lovely man she met almost four years ago while we were on Erasmus in Munich. I was a mature student and it was my first proper experience of what college life should be like. I hardly attended any lectures and drank lots of beer. The fun I had that semester!

I had earned the nickname Party Frau and because I was the one who organised all the nights out, My Dear Friend contacted me about the plan for that evening. She was young and Parisian. She didn’t speak much English and I’d forgotten most of my secondary school French but we made do with our broken German. We bonded over boys. She started seeing her now fiancé at the exact same time as I started seeing his friend. She got engaged and I got some short-term fun with a hot Norwegian. Moving along…

My Dear Friend and I became inseparable. I gave her jaunts on my cheap market-bought bicycle. We swam in lakes and smoked Marlboro Lights out my 17th-floor window. We made silly videos together (one hilarious one was of our ridiculous attempt at Unterwasserradfahren: underwater cycling). We travelled to Vienna and Prague and Paris. Her laugh alone made me laugh. We wore our matching Dirndls any chance we got. My Dear Friend wowed me with her cool, laid-back, affectionate, effortlessly beautiful self. We told each other everything. And when she returned to France and I was left alone in Munich for a fortnight, she made sure to have breakfast with me every morning via Skype. We’ve only seen each other three times since then. Once for Oktoberfest, and twice in Ireland. I owe her a visit.

Congratulations, Liebe! I am so happy and excited for you both. I love and miss you. Bisous.

In our Dirndls right before one of our many accidents...

Unconditional love: unwrapping the greatest gift of all

Let me ask you a question. Do you think it is okay to be angry and impatient with a baby for just lying around all day? For not learning to walk or talk quick enough? She doesn’t offer the world anything of value. She isn’t the director of a successful company or the top student in her class. She isn’t a world-class athlete, a wonderful cook, a loving parent, or a talented professional. She chews on things, gurgles and cries. She observes life with awe. She just is. Why shouldn’t I be angry and impatient with her? She hasn’t done anything to deserve my love!

You probably think that’s crazy talk. Of course you should love a baby! Just because! Now, how about turning some of that unconditional love towards yourself? You are okay. You are magic and magnificence. You are okay even when you do nothing. When you just are. Like an infant, who is perfect in the simplicity of their presence. However, from the moment you learned to do, you’ve been expected to continue doing, and you will keep on doing until you leave your body through death. What a relief!

We are led to believe that our bodies, our actions, and our achievements are more important than our souls. It is more acceptable to constantly work and push ourselves, to endlessly strive for perfection, for more and for better, than to accept ourselves exactly as we are. We have fallen into the trap of believing that we are our work, our relationships, our abilities. However, if any of these self-constructed identities are whipped from us, if we become sick or unmotivated or depressed, if we suffer a loss or a bereavement, and we are no longer strong enough to live up to our self-imposed potential, we feel worthless. We are nothing.

But let me tell you something. It takes a much, much stronger person to be able to do nothing and to still love and accept themselves. To think enough of themselves to value their own health, happiness, and sanity, and to allow themselves to rest, to heal, and to nurture their injured spirits.

I am writing this blog because it’s helping me to make sense of all of this. It’s enabling my own growth and development. And, ideally, some of what I’m writing will register with you too. But though I grasp these insights and spill them onto this page, it’s very easy to lose sight of them. It’s like trying to bottle a cloud or a warm summer breeze. I know it’s there and what it looks and feels like, but I have to experience it again and again before it can become part of me.

I am not what others think of me. This is something I still struggle with. I catch myself when I glow with pride at a compliment or shrink with shame when I’ve been criticised. I am also beginning to understand that the writing that I so love and enjoy is not my worth. Otherwise, it will no longer come from the heart. It will become just another distraction, another addiction to that drug of approval. A number of hits on my page or a handful of praise from friends and colleagues does not make me who I am. My ability to write is not why anybody should love me, and it’s certainly not why I should love myself. It is not why I deserve my space on this planet. The fact that I am here is reason enough.

I have had these realisations before but, like the morning dew on the petal of a flower, they evaporate all too quickly. So, this morning, when I really sat still with them and didn’t run from them, I thought my world was crashing around my ears. I am okay, exactly as I am. I felt totally lost in the forest of my confusion. Where does that leave me? What do I do? How can I just be? I don’t think I can love myself just because… I made eye contact with this panicked stranger in the mirror and cried like the child I had never allowed myself to be.

“Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.” Marianne Williamson

You are okay just as you are. You are not your appearance or your talents or your work. You are not your role as mother or teacher or husband or healer. You are simply you. Unique and beautiful and miraculous. But none of this will mean anything until you’re strong enough to love yourself unconditionally. And when you reach that point, the power and light within you will be glorious.

“You’re making me feel bad”: true or false?

Do you have (at least) one person in your life who constantly makes you feel bad? He/she passes hurtful remarks, criticises, or makes fun of you. I’m interrupting this transmission of self-pity to bring you a very important newsflash: The other person is not the one making you feel bad. You are doing an excellent job of that all on your own.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Everything you sense has to go through a filter system in your mind before it can have any effect on you whatsoever. You control this. Therefore, you are the one who allows yourself to feel bad. If an insulting remark is something that you already believe about yourself, then you’re more inclined to be sensitive about it and it’s more likely to hurt you. If, on the other hand, your friend tells you that you look like a luminous yellow dinosaur, it won’t rattle your confidence because you know for a fact that you don’t resemble an extinct vertebrate wearing a hi-vis vest. That’s ridiculous, you snigger. What is ridiculous is when you internalise other equally silly comments.

People can only make you feel bad when you’re already feeling bad. Or when your good feelings are based on something so shallow and transient that they are all too easily snatched away. Having said that, there are some people who are more skilled than others at resurrecting those negative emotions that you’d prayed were long-buried.

Let me tell you about a childhood friend of mine. Simone and I met in play school. She was imaginative and hilarious and fun. Even though I moved town a couple of years later, we continued to have regular sleep overs. We phoned and wrote letters and emails,  sharing all our teenage and early adult experiences. I thought she’d be a friend for life. In my mid-twenties, however, I began to realise that she was making me feel bad.

She sulked and gave me the silent treatment any time I couldn’t hang out with her. Her brilliant sense of humour was often at my expense. She insulted me with witty remarks and gave me back-handed compliments. She once told me I laughed like The Whirligig Witch in Fortycoats and, when I pouted, she told me I should be happy ‘coz the Whirligig Witch had magic powers. Then she snorted: “You kinda look like her too…” When we holidayed together before college, she announced that I’d lost “soooo much weight”, like I’d been previously obese. She complimented me on my new hair style, adding that she’d hated it after the last hair cut. She regularly told me how “awfully tired” I was looking. And consistently poked fun at my “dumb blonde” tendencies. She’d often say things like: “Why do you and I put on weight so easily?” or “How come we never have boyfriends?” (I didn’t even bother pointing out that I was two sizes smaller than her and I had been MARRIED.) She called me a “swot” for studying and “boring” or “Little Miss Perfect” when I wouldn’t indulge in food, cigarettes and alcohol as vigorously as she did. She frequently bitched about my other close friends and even my family members. And any time I landed myself a fella or started making a success of my life, she totally withdrew from me.

It’s scary that it took me so long to realise how bad I was feeling whenever I was around Simone. And I’m not blaming it all on her. I’m sure that some of the things I took to be insults were benign comments or jokes. I had always been super-sensitive and I clearly cared what she thought, otherwise it wouldn’t have bothered me. Some people just aren’t as tapped in to others’ feelings and they blurt things out before they have time to censor them. Or they honestly believe they’re being helpful when they inform you that you look like you haven’t slept a wink in days. But, oftentimes, when someone puts you down, it’s because they’re feeling so miserable about their own lives that lashing out at someone else makes them feel marginally better.

Simone’s father had a habit of “affectionately” calling Simone, “my little fattie”. Her three older brothers teased her incessantly. A particular favourite taunt was: “No fear of you ever getting pregnant! If you look ‘contraceptive’ up in the dictionary, there’s a picture of your face!” And much later, I found out that Simone’s mother had tried to commit suicide when Simone was only nine years old. Simone and I have since drifted apart. I don’t know if she’s grown into a happier woman. I hope she still laughs as much as she used to (preferably not at anyone else’s expense).

If you have a multitude of Simones in your circle of friends, here’s what to do:

1) Speak up!

Confront the person about their behaviour. They may be perfectly unaware of how they’ve been acting. However, blaming them for how upset you’ve been will only get their backs up, so, instead of snarling: “You did this!”, try: “I felt hurt when…” This will help them to see things from your perspective without making them feel as if they’re under attack. This mature approach may even gain you some respect. And when someone respects you, they’re unlikely to mistreat you.

2) Second chances

Everyone deserves a do-over. Perhaps your friend or loved one has been going through something difficult recently, which would explain their hurtful behaviour. If you’ve had the talk and they’ve apologised, the ball is now in your court to give them an opportunity to get back onside.

3) From a distance

The trick to all of this is not to allow anybody to affect you negatively. Unfortunately, with certain people, this can be extremely difficult. Especially if it’s a parent or lover. In delicate cases like these, the only remedy is distance. You are not strong enough yet to come out of an altercation with this person uninjured. You don’t need to put yourself through that right now. Just be gentle with yourself and work on your confidence, so then, if you decide to go back for round two, you’ll be well able for whatever they throw your way.

4) Cut your losses

If, like me, you’re no saint, there’s only so much you’re going to be able to take before you snap. And this may not be a bad thing. You’re not doing them any favours by accepting that kind of behaviour. Maybe losing you as a friend will be enough of a wake-up call to prevent them from sacrificing any more relationships. And if you’ve had to distance yourself from most of your so-called friends, don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit lonely. You will now have more time and space to meet like-minded people. People who will enrich your life and appreciate your friendship.

5) Build yourself up

Once you start believing in yourself, and recognising that you’re wonderful, you’ll probably notice that people won’t get at you as much. They will sense your strength and won’t even consider trying to annoy you. After all, bullies only pick on those they deem to be weak.

6) Observe

When you remove yourself from a situation emotionally, it can have no negative power over you. Instead of getting hurt or angry, observe the person with interest. Contemplate why they might be behaving this way. If they’re sulking, let them. Like a spoiled kid, they want to get their own way. So, treat them like the child they’re imitating and ignore them. Don’t let their tantrums dampen your spirits or poison your enjoyment. Detach from their negativity and recognise that their mood is not yours.

7) Have fun

Once you reclaim your power, you may even begin to get a kick out of observing others’ silly behaviour and letting them know that you know what they’re playing at. I know a farmer, who’s fascinated by human behaviour. He always manages to show people what they’re really like. It’s almost like he carries around a magnifying mirror and whips it out when the person least expects it. He walked into a room once, where a cranky, old lady squinted sourly at her visitors. She only ever had time for gentry. She looked down her nose at this country man and sneered, “Who might you be?” Without missing a beat, he answered, “I’m an alien from outer space.” This rendered the woman speechless. Instead of passing her usual judgemental remarks, she had to really think about what had just happened.

8. Understand

In Chinese medicine, when someone is feeling angry, resentful or frustrated, their liver is said to be “in excess”. When they lash out at somebody else, this releases some of the excess, making them feel better.

If you find that your loved ones are trying to put you down regularly, it is saying a lot more about them than it is about you. Perhaps, recently, you’ve started to put yourself first, you’re learning to say “no”, and you’re becoming more self-assured. Your loved ones may fear that you’re going to outgrow them completely. They’re terrified of losing you. If they keep you in your box, like a pet rat, you’re not going to go anywhere. So, if your husband tells you your bum definitely does look big in that, or scoffs at your decision to go back to college; instead of vowing to only consume celery and lemon juice for the next month, or beating yourself up for being so stupid as to even consider giving education another shot, recognise that he is simply threatened by your new-found confidence. He’s probably scared that you’ll go off with another man in your new skinny jeans and FMBs, or he may be positive that, once you hit the library with your smart, sexy lecturer, you’ll suddenly realise how dull and uneducated he is.

When you find yourself feeling bad because of what other people say or do, you need to take a long, hard look at why. Do you still care what others think of you? When someone puts you down, think of it as a test. You are being examined on how much you really believe in yourself. If one snotty remark can fling you into a spiral of self-doubt, your self-esteem is weak and in need of a work-out.

If a compliment makes your day, an insult will crush you. Stop giving all of your power away. Don’t wait for others to validate you as a worthwhile human being. Believe in yourself, your strength, your talents, and the miraculous beauty of your body and spirit. Nobody can make you feel bad. Nobody can make you feel good either. The power is, and always has been, in your hands. Do with it what you will.

10 metre jump into the sea!

Crushes: writing your name next to his surname is normal, right?

Once upon a time, Boyzone’s Ronan Keating was my ideal man. I loved his wonky teeth, his cheeky smile, his friendly, generous nature, and the way he said “God bless you” on repeat. And, oh, how he warbled! I recorded his every interview and music video off the telly and watched them over and over, sighing in frustration because I needed to be with him.

Cut to six years later when my crush waltzed in to the bakery where I was working. His posters no longer wallpapered my bedroom and I couldn’t even tell you where I’d stored those self-made videos. And he was married. And he had a child. And he was a lot shorter than I’d thought. And he’d had his teeth done. My crush had dissipated.

Still, for old times’ sake…

And then, not too long ago, these familiar feelings resurfaced. This time, for a guy in a class I was taking. He was cool and interesting and creative. His smile would light up a room, and his eyes twinkled with indescribable colours. He took my breath away. Literally. Like I was so winded I couldn’t even string a sentence together. I discussed him with friends, who enjoyed convincing me that he fancied me. I analysed his every move. My, he’s standing very close to me. He must want me. But though he had my number and my email and he knew where I worked and lived and socialised, he never asked me out. And when, one day, I heard that he was with someone else, I burst into tears. Irrational, I know. There was nothing between us. We’d never even had any one-on-one time together. Now, I look back and make fun of that tongue-tied, loved-up fool. I realise that this guy wasn’t all smiles and flirtations. He was just a person, with insecurities and imperfections. And maybe if I’d been real with him, and actually spoken to him as a human being, things would have been different.

It’s not called a “crush” without good reason. Thefreedictionary.com defines “crush” as: to press between opposing bodies so as to break or injure; to break, pound, or grind into small fragments or powder; to put down; to overwhelm or oppress severely; to crumple. Sound familiar?

A crush lights up your day. The tiniest sign that he might be interested in you fills you with hope and excitement- the slightest touch, the way he says your name or looks you in the eye. His dimples, his scent, and even his handwriting (girls are weird, I know!) make you classify him as the cutest male to have ever walked this earth. And then, one day, he crushes your crush by rejecting you or by not being all you thought he’d be. He doesn’t put his cups in the dish washer, he can be quite self-centred at times, he’s vainer than you are, his feet smell…

Here’s how to survive a crush (without getting crushed):

1) Snap back to reality

If you’re crushing on Zac Efron or Ryan Reynolds, that’s okay. Just don’t base all your future plans around becoming their blushing bride. It’s pretty normal for a teenager to swoon over images of soap stars in gossip magazines but if you’re still doing it when you’re in your thirties, you need to get out more. Find a hobby, hang out with friends, and spend some time around real live members of the general public. A fantasy won’t keep you warm in bed at night.

2) Test the waters

If you’d rather not spend your entire adult life mooning over a guy who may not even know you exist, why not cut the crap and tell him how you feel? Or you may feel safer engaging in the dipping-your-toes approach before plunging into that ice-cold lake. Mention that you’ll be down the local pub later and see if he shows up. Or give him a compliment. It’s not flirting unless he takes the bait and compliments you back. If he throws in a wink, you’re in there!

3) Learn to see the wood for the trees

You may think he’s staring at you when actually he’s fixating on the giant spider in the corner. You read somewhere that if he crosses his legs towards you or his eyes dilate as you converse, it means he’s into you. But first make sure he’s not eyeing up the hot blonde to your left. You wonder why he keeps showing up at your work place, but if you work in McDonald’s, have you ever considered that he doesn’t want to father your unborn child, and that he just wants an Egg McMuffin? You decide that he must like you because he’s on Facebook chat when you’re on Facebook chat. Has it ever occurred to you that the guy has other friends too? 213 of them! His world doesn’t revolve around you. Yet anyway.

4) Be yourself

If you’re acting all “school girl crush”, you’re probably just gonna annoy and/or freak the dude out. Unless, of course, you’re wearing the uniform. Guys really are suckers for things like that. On a more serious note, if you’re true to yourself and act accordingly, your crush may be attracted to such a genuine, down-to-earth gal. And if he’s not, then he’s simply not the man for you. And who said Princess Charming needed a man anyway?

5) Give your crush a break

Maybe you’re smothering him/her with your stares, your constant compliments on their new profile pictures, your texts that (not so) subtly hint at your single status, and the way you’re just always there. Take a step back and allow him/her to breathe. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Maybe they’ll miss you when you rein in all that attention you’ve been lavishing upon them. I know a couple who have been happily married for almost 30 years. The man had been pursuing the woman for weeks but she was after another dashing young man. However, when the first guy stopped showing an interest in her, it made her think about things and she realised that the man she wanted to be with was her now husband. Bingo!

6) Be careful

If you’re daydreaming about your best friend’s girlfriend, your boss, your teacher, your student, or even your little brother’s wingman, you’re treading on thin ice. It’s not a crime to indulge in the fantasy once in a while but it’s when you act on it that things get complicated and people get hurt. If acting on a crush may lead to a loss of a job or a friendship or a marriage, or if it may even get someone into trouble with the law, then it’s not worth it. You may think you’re in love but, trust me, remove yourself from the situation for a while and, like any craving, it’ll soon diminish or will be replaced by something else. Crisis averted!

7) Be confident

Confidence is sexy. Believe in yourself, your good qualities, and your desirability. If you’re happy with your own company, others will be drawn to you, including your crush.

Dimitri is a stud and he knows it. Check out how confident he is and how he goes after what he wants. Granted, poor Olga probably got his number blocked and possibly toyed with the idea of a restraining order…

Dumping someone: kickin ’em to the kerb, but with less violence

One could argue that it’s the dumpee who needs the help but sometimes it’s hard to be a dumper. The last thing you want is to hurt the other’s feelings, you’d rather not face their tears and/or wrath, and you worry that you might not make it out of there with all your bits intact.

I know it’s hard but, please, don’t employ the “never contact again” approach. It’s just cowardly and unfair. A number of years ago, I met a handsome fellow skier in Austria. We hit it off and went on a couple of dates when we came back to Ireland. And then, nothing. We’d had a great last date, he drove me home, and we kissed. And then, not a dickie bird. I spent the next week checking my phone and wondering. Maybe he dropped his mobile down the loo. Did he get back with an ex? Did my breath smell? I shouldn’t have worn my hair up. He could have been in an accident. Maybe he’s dead. I kinda hope he’s dead.

After a week of theorising, I decided to bite the bullet and text him myself. I asked how he was. He complained about being sick all week. But I knew something wasn’t right. So, I told him that I’d wondered why I hadn’t heard from him. It was only at my courage and prodding that he finally told me he wasn’t interested in having a girl friend. I replied: “That’s ok. Just needed to know.” It wasn’t the response I’d been hoping for but at least now, I knew where I stood. I didn’t have to waste any more time inventing scenarios where his sexy female friends had lured him into an alcohol-induced coma. So, I stopped acting like a crazy person and moved on.

It’s not easy to be the bearer of bad news. Your partner may be oblivious to how you’ve been feeling. Things had been going great. You like them as a person but you no longer want to share your saliva or your plans for the future with them. You’d rather study/work/wash your hair several times in a row than hang out with them. And your partner deserves to know this. Well, not about the washing your hair part but you know what I mean. Your future ex will be unhappy for a bit but it’s better to end it now than have two very unhappy people further down the line.

Here’s how to end a relationship (and come out alive):

1) Be honest

If it comes from the heart, it’ll make sense to your soon-to-be ex and it’ll hurt a lot less too. Tell him/her how you’re feeling and what you want and don’t want. This will allow them to fully understand what’s happening and to air their own feelings. Who knows, you may even wind up being mates.

After a (mostly) wonderful four months of fun and kisses and romantic sunsets together, I decided to end it with a lovely chap from Wicklow. Because, despite the fun and kisses and romantic sunsets, there was just something off. I felt he was trying to be something he wasn’t just so I’d like him more. After a good stint of gentle pleading, flattery, and pulling at the heart-strings, he changed tactics. He told me I was too afraid to commit, that I was gullible, that I lived with my head in the clouds, and that I clearly had issues with my mother. He obviously knew deep down that I wasn’t suitable for him. But he chose to ignore our differences, and instead tried to change himself just so we’d have a chance at working out. And it was only when he knew he’d lost me that he was finally honest. No doubting my decision so!

2) Choose your moment

Don’t dump them on their birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s Day/New Year’s Eve/right before an important exam or job interview/on the anniversary of their mother’s death. This doesn’t leave you with a lot of time. So, do it on a Saturday when they’re not in work. This will give them space to blubber and wail and plot your assassination without having to hide their tears and snotty noses from their co-workers.

3) Choose your medium

Ideally, do it face-to-face. Your partner deserves this. You need to suck it up and deal with their shock, sadness and possible rage. Having said that, it’s not always possible to end it in person. Thanks to modern technology, you can also dump someone via text message, phone call, email, Skype or Facebook chat. DO NOT dump someone on their Facebook wall, even if they did cheat on you with the young wan you used to babysit. It’ll just make you look like an insecure, psychotic, bitter biatch.

4) Know that you’re doing the right thing

This knowledge may make it easier for you. You’ll both be better off in the future. If two people, who are totally unsuited, stay together, they’ll only damage each other with resentment and anger in the long-term. At least, once the pain-staking break up is over, you can move on, and enjoy being single for a while. And as a result, you’ll know a little bit more about what you want (and don’t want) from your next relationship.

5) The beauty of the white lie

If you want to make a clean break, maybe it’s best not to divulge how much you hate the way they chew, and how you sometimes had sexy dreams about their brother. Or that their new hair style makes them look like Susan Boyle. Before the makeover. If you haven’t been together long, the white lie manoeuvre is ideal. Tell them that you’re just not ready for a relationship, or you’re not over your ex, or that they’re just too good for you and you’re too messed up to appreciate that right now.

Alternatively, you could do like Chandler in Friends and tell them that you’re moving to Yemen.