Playlist teacher guide - Breaking up

Playlist information

Playlist summary

This playlist unpacks break ups – how to deal with them respectfully and what to do if your relationship becomes abusive.

Playlist purpose

The content of this playlist supports students to:

  • Identify when a relationship is coming to an end
  • Propose strategies for how to manage break ups respectfully
  • Know what to do if themselves or someone they know is in an abusive or violent relationship.

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Learning objectives

  • Understand how to recognise a range of disrespectful behaviours that can occur in relationships (including coercion, leverage, manipulation).
  • Understand the signs of an abusive relationship and the factors that can lead to a relationship becoming abusive.
  • Know where and how to access support for family, domestic and/or sexual violence for themselves or for others.
  • Be better able to make informed decisions about how to act safely in response to violence in a relationship.

Key messages

  • Relationships aren’t always easy and sometimes go through hard times but respect is still important, even in difficult times.
  • Respect is still required, even if a relationship has ended.
  • Each individual needs to be responsible for their actions in relationships, including taking positive steps to rectify disrespectful behaviour, seeking or providing help or support, or safely ending disrespectful relationships.
  • Relationships can turn abusive when there is loss of respect, trust and power.
  • Violence is never OK and never excusable and perpetrators can take responsibility and seek support to deal with their behaviour.
  • Leaving an abusive relationship isn't always easy – it can be complicated and may involve risks to personal safety.
  • No-one should ever have to put up with abuse – there is always help out there.

Year level(s) appropriate for

Year 10, Year 11, Year 12

Australian curriculum links

Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships.

Plan, rehearse and evaluate options (including CPR and first aid) for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety and wellbeing may be at short or long-term risk.

Media items

Breaking up

Type: Video.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Have you ever been through a break-up? How did you manage your emotions? Breaking up is something that everyone will go through at some stage in their lives. In a respectful relationship both parties need to respect the feelings of the other person.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Have you ever experienced a break-up? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    Breaking up is something that everyone will go through at some stage in their lives. Some break ups are mutual and happen when you both drift apart. However, others are a little more one sided where one person makes the decision to call it all off. In a respectful relationship both parties need to respect the feelings of the other person.

    To explore further, discuss the following questions:

    • Have you ever been through a break up?
    • How was your experience of the big NO?
    • How did you manage your emotions?
    • How did you bounce back and reconnect with others?

We need to talk

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Each relationship that you have will be unique – different person, different connection, different shared goals - and so are the reasons for each break-up. But once the decision is made to end a relationship it is best for everyone’s well-being to just get on with it.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Is what your family wants to see in your perfect partner a more important consideration than what you want when choosing a partner? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    The reasons for breaking up can be complicated. Sometimes it is factors within the relationship – between each of the individuals – that are the cause. However, it can also be factors external to the individuals and the relationship that can lead to a break up, such as family or cultural pressures, work or life changes, friends, or social expectations.

    To explore this further, discuss the following questions:

    • How can your family support or hinder relationships?
    • Is it important to take into consideration the beliefs and attitudes of your family when you start or end a relationship?
    • How can your friends influence your relationship?
    • As a friend, would you try to break up a friend’s relationship if you didn’t think their partner was right for them?
    • How would you try to do this? Are these ways respectful of your friend? Of their partner?

Breaking up – the ultimate NO

Type: Page.

Duration: 4 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Break ups occurs for any number of reasons, but the only one that counts is that one person no longer sees the other person as part of their future. In Field Model terms, a break-up is the ultimate NO. One person no longer sees the other person as part of their future.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Can an ex still be your friend after you break up? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    Life post-break-up is always a bit tricky. Initially emotions will be very raw and it is important to be respectful of each other’s feelings in the months after the break up. Communication is an important part of relationships and is just as important after you break up. You need to be able to negotiate with your ex about how you will manage social occasions where you will both be, how you will talk about the break up with mutual friends, how you will manage telling family and friends about what happened?

    To explore this further, discuss the following questions:

    • What do you need to consider when breaking up with someone if you want to maintain a friendship with your ex?
    • What strategies can you use to ensure that you respect the feelings of your ex after you have broken up?
    • What can you do to manage your emotions, particularly if you see your ex out at social occasions with friends?

Break up commentary

Type: Page.

Duration: 6 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: What can we learn by applying the Field Model to the Break Up scene? Where were the line moves and what were the alternatives?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Are there ways in which Euan could have managed this situation more effectively? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    Obviously Euan is shocked and upset, and especially hurt that it seems like Abby has been seeing someone else, but still: could he have done things better? Even in the “right path” that he takes, could it have been handled differently? Could he have seen where he was pushing too far? Could he have postponed the conversation? But does handling this situation better mean he has no say at all? Does he just have to accept exactly what Abby says and say goodbye? Is there a middle ground?

  2. Question number 2. Are there ways in which Abby could have managed this situation more effectively? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    Similar to the previous question, could Abby have done anything differently here? Probably she followed the Field Model process just fine, but could she have finessed some of the details better? Euan is obliged to manage his emotions, but could Abby have made that easier? Is it better to hold back on upsetting details, or does leaving details to the imagination make things worse?

Scenario: A confusing break up

Type: Page.

Duration: 2 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: Sometimes conflicting life plans can mean the end of a relationship, even if both people involved still have feelings for each other. But if the decision is made to officially break-up and a physical relationship continues, what does that mean?

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Is it possible to continue a physical relationship even though you have broken up with someone? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    3. c.Maybe
    Discussion points:

    If two people are still maintaining a physical relationship even though they have “broken up” it can become tricky, particularly if one partner still has strong feelings for the other. This is another situation where honest and clear communication is so important. Using Stop Ask Listen to find out exactly what the other person wants and expects from the physical relationship and defining clear boundaries around what is not acceptable is important to ensure that both people are on the same page.

    To explore this further, discuss the following questions:

    • Why would two people want to continue a physical relationship even though they have broken up?
    • What sorts of boundaries would need to be negotiated to ensure there were no line moves in this scenario?
    • Was Max’s behaviour in the scenario appropriate and respectful given they were still having sex regularly?
    • Was Lily’s expectations fair in this scenario?
    • If we changed the gender of the characters around so that Lily’s character was male and Max’s character was female, would your impression of the scenario change? Why? Why not?

Ending an unhealthy relationship

Type: Page.

Duration: 2 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: An unhealthy or abusive relationship ignores the fundamental principle of the Relationship Field Model that accepts one person can’t just take what they want from another person or do what they want to them. When attempting to end an abusive relationship, careful planning is required along with the support of family, friends and even outside organisations.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Do you know where you can go for help if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    Some relationships will break down because they have become abusive. In these situations, breaking up can be very dangerous for the victim. It needs to be carefully planned and the support of friends, family and specialist organisations will help make it safer for them.

    To find out more about signs of an abusive relationship and how to leave abusive relationships, check out the following websites:

Domestic and family violence: how to make…

Type: Video.

Duration: 6 minutes.

Source: 1800RESPECT. ()

Summary: Heads up: This resource discusses abusive behaviours, domestic and family violence which may be distressing for some people. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, it’s important to be aware of the steps to take if it has become unsafe to stay.

Survey questions:

  1. Question number 1. Do you know what steps to take if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and it has become unsafe to stay? Answers
    1. a.Yes
    2. b.No
    Discussion points:

    In these types of situations, breaking up and leaving can be very dangerous for the victim. It needs to be carefully planned and the support of friends, family and specialist organisations will help make it safer.

    To find out more about how to leave abusive relationships safely, check out the following websites:

    1800 RESPECT is a national organisation that can support abuse victims to safely leave abusive relationships. Direct students to their website and 1800 number for phone counselling as a starting point. The following webpage provides detailed information about the safety considerations when planning to leave.

    https://www.1800respect.org.au/help-and-support/safety-planning

Breaking up wrap-up

Type: Page.

Duration: 2 minutes.

Source: The Good Society.

Summary: A quick wrap-up of the Breaking up playlist.

Activities and extras

The conversations generated through engaging with this playlist can be built upon and reinforced by exploring the following additional media items:

The brain in love – TED Talk.

Why don’t victims of domestic violence leave? – TED talk.

  • A powerful TED Talk by Leslie Morgan Steiner who tells the story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

Domestic violence and what you can do about it – ReachOut.

  • A helpful fact sheet with practical tips on dealing with abusive and violent relationships.