Breaking up is very hard to do. Even when you’re the one calling things to stop, it’s hard to look someone in the eye and tell them you’re no longer in love. That’s probably why ghosting has become so prevalent: because so many of our relationships come through the screen, it’s easy to break off the pairing without even exchanging text.
But that could be viewed as cowardly. If you’re in a relationship with someone, that means at one point, you loved (or at least liked) that person enough to share your time with them. Face to face conversation is an integral aspect of a dignified breakup. If they don’t see it coming, it might make an awkward exchange.
There’s no such thing as a “perfect breakup,” but if you’re the one with the bad news, there are a variety of steps you can take before and after the dreaded conversation to make the experience as safe as possible for both you and your spouse.
Here’s how to break up with someone in the best way possible.
(1)BEFORE YOU HAVE THE CONVERSATION, ASK YOURSELF WHY YOU’RE NOT SATISFIED:
You certainly haven’t agreed to break up on a whim, so don’t go like you did. Think long and hard about why you do this and what you want to say so that you can engage in a discussion that feels good about your decision.
Ask yourself why you want to put an end to it: is there a lack of romantic feelings, do you have a restricted common ground, just don’t you feel it? The response might be very simple for a short relationship. The explanations will be more complicated for longer relationships. “Talk these out with trusted friends, review both your reasoning and your emotions, and consider talking to a therapist.
(2)DON’T DRAG IT OUT:
And once you have made a decision, just do it. You don’t have to give them ahead, but make arrangements to meet in person, then take the Band-Aid off. Give yourself the same way you would on your first date by making plans with a friend right after that; a definite timetable will save you from feeling like you have to rehash the discussion over and over while your former partner comes to terms with it.
(3)REMEMBER TO BE KIND IN THE MOMENT:
Treat the other person the way you want to be handled. Since breakups involve a lot of feelings, sometimes our emotions can get the best out of us. But if you’re the one who begins the breakup, be a bigger person, and stick to your practiced script.
Avoid dwelling on what you think they’ve done wrong. The breakup talk is more likely to be awkward. You should understand how hard and frightening it’s going to be out loud. Just because you split up with someone doesn’t mean you two can’t share a moment of sorrow together.
If your relationship is over, don’t turn it into a blame game. Instead, make your own logic for yourself. No one can disagree with you about your own interests or feelings; they can argue with you if you are vague or make comments or assumptions about their feelings.
You can be gentle when you’re honest and straightforward about what you want. Kindness and sympathy really go a long way in a tough situation. Only validating the other person’s feelings about the breakup can be soothing. Use sentences that show your interpretation of how a person feels, while also making sure that you articulate yourself clearly. Remember, this is another individual being with emotions, not just an object on the other end of your mobile phone.
(5)SKIP CLICHES LIKE “IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME”:
The aim of a breakup is to let someone down easy and put an end to things without much hurt and anger; not to crush their self-esteem.
A massive no-no during the breakup is several excuses. We all know the clichés of break-up. If you’re not clear about why this is happening, you’re taking a sense of closure from someone; they’re left guessing what went wrong.
To be definitive is just about showing respect for the other person, too. A lot of people think they’re lowering the blow by ‘leaving the door open, making comments like I’m just not in the right position for a relationship right now, or maybe it’s going to work out in the future.’ Don’t do that. “It’s not the facts, and both of you know it, so save them from condescension.”
Don’t play the martyr. Only say, ‘I don’t have romantic feelings for you, and I wanted to let you know as soon as it became obvious to me.'”
Finally, stay free of false promises: that’s what it’s done. But a clean breakup talk doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of regret and a residual feeling for the other person.
We seem to have the intuition to bring an end to things on a good note, to make sure that the other person is positioned in some way. After the talk, make sure you’re not voicing insincere motives, like ‘staying friends’ if you don’t mean it.” Whatever your decision, stand firm in it and make sure you take some space from that person to let things settle down.
However, if you connect after the split, don’t tip around the other guy. That could be super insulting. Just say hello, inquire about their lives, share about yours, but most importantly, act in accordance with your conviction that this is a powerful, resourceful person who may not have been the right fit for you, but is the right fit for someone else.
(6)MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO BREAK UP:
Before you split up with your partner, make sure you really intend to put an end to the relationship. A breakup is something you want to do once you’ve been thinking about it over time.
If you have doubts and questions about your relationship, it’s important to share that with your partner before you break up. People do ‘surprise breakups’ where you think everything is perfect, and then the individual is like I’m leaving today. The shock of a sudden breakup can be “very, very painful, and very difficult to resolve.” It’s much easier to express questions and concerns along the way, and in some situations, the relationship can even be saved by this kind of honesty.
Also, breaking up shouldn’t be a rash decision taken in the middle of an argument or a card you’re playing in an effort to manipulate your partner that the latter strategy is only passive-aggressive and maybe even manipulative.
(7)GIVE THE CONVERSATION FORETHOUGHT:
If you’ve decided that you want to end your relationship, it’s important to give yourself time and space to think about what you want to say before you actually say it. The conversation itself is likely to be overwhelming, and when you’re stressed out, you start to lose access to the reasonable, rational parts of your brain. Writing down precisely what you want to say and practicing it in advance will help anchor your message so that you can express your thoughts effectively at the moment. Planning ahead of time will also help you determine the tone with which you are presenting the message. Try to keep it “neutral, unwarranted, non-blameful, caring, straightforward, and truthful.”
Only put yourself in your partner’s shoes as you intend. Empathy for the partner’s experience of being split up, and the opportunity to convey it, will go a long way to alleviating unavoidable pain. “If you’ve been on the receiving end in the past, you’d probably have a clear understanding of how you feel, and remembering those feelings beforehand will be helpful in handling your post.
(9)ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO CONTROL THEIR REACTION:
There is no assurance that the conversation will be successful since one can only monitor the sent message, not how it is received. That said, there are many variables that can affect how well the message is handled, which is precisely the point of thinking ahead of you about how you want to have a conversation.
(10)DELIVER THE NEWS IN PERSON:
Don’t send email, text, call, or otherwise deliver your break-up on a virtual basis. Breaking someone in person is no doubt painful and frustrating, but it’s the right thing to do. You owe it to your partner to have it face to face. It shows that you take care of them and that you take care of that relationship.
(11)DON’T DELVE INTO THE DETAILS:
Stop listing the Rolodex as to why the partnership is not a good fit for you. There is the stuff that would be hard for the other person to let go of.
If your partner presses you for valid reasons behind the split, you should recognize that you completely understand why they want more specifics and maybe offer a reason or two to frame it from the “I” point of view.
(12)KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE RELATIONSHIP:
Fix breakup as a relationship issue rather than any flaws in your partner. Couples split up for a variety of reasons, but at the end of the day, it’s the relationship that runs its course, and marriages often take two, so accept your part in not working out.
The relationship is this entity that you’ve formed, and that’s not what’s going on. You’re not a bad guy, you’re not a bad person, but it’s the combination of the two of you that makes you less comfortable and less satisfying.
(13)PREPARE TO LISTEN:
While you’re going to be the leader of the discussion, you should also be prepared to listen and listen carefully. Perhaps you don’t like what you hear. Your partner can respond in any number of ways but is likely to want to be heard. Consider what your partners need at the time and be prepared to answer them and respond accordingly.
(14)DON’T LEAVE THINGS OPEN-ENDED:
At the moment, you might feel tempted to soften the blow of a breakup by hinting at the likelihood of a potential reunion, but don’t say that if it isn’t possible; otherwise, you’re giving your partner false hope. If you know that this person isn’t a good life partner for you, and there’s a 99 percent chance that you’re never going to rekindle something, then you just want to say the truth.
(15)SHARE A FEW POSITIVE SENTIMENTS:
Although you’re supposed to concentrate the conversation on the breakup, it’s also good to share some thoughts on what you like about your partner. You want to be honest about why your life is better because that person was part of it. These views could be well-placed as the conversation is about to wrap up. At the end of the conversation, whatever the reaction, thank your partner for all the good times. Show gratitude and disappointment that things didn’t work out.
Understand yourself that there’s nothing wrong with breaking up with someone, and though you may feel terrible right now, the feeling is temporary.
Also, consider the fact that you’ve just been doing something very hard. Even though you were the one who wanted to break up, you’re not sure about feelings. When you work through hard feelings, be very patient with yourself, and practice self-care. Do good things for yourself: go to a movie, take a nap, prepare a nutritious meal.