How to Break Up
Knowing how to break up is one thing, but being able to actually do it is another. Sometimes you just need to tell yourself that it has to be done, and you need to step up, with gentle assertion, and carry it through.
1- At a time when you are feeling emotionally neutral, i.e. not immediately after an argument or not when you haven’t seen your partner for a few days and are starting to miss them, try to objectively evaluate whether the relationship is healthy or not. You need to make a decision when you are feeling emotionally neutral. Write down exactly what you think and feel at this time. Sit on what you wrote for a couple of days, and then revisit it again when you’re in the same state of mind. Do you still feel the same? If so, you now need to act on your decision and stick to it.
2- Be prepared to explain why you want to end the relationship. It may not be something that they want to hear, but for the most part, honesty, within reason, is the best policy. Focus should be slanted more towards what you are finding difficult, rather than on what their problems are. If you feel that something needs addressing for the benefit of their future relationships, deliver this information with sensitivity. Prepare possible questions or things that you think they might say, and make sure that you have a response to them. The other person will sense any un-sureness and so it will be harder for them to get over you, so be prepared to deliver your responses with poise and conviction.
3- Find a suitable time and place. It is far too easy to put off a break-up under the guise that the other person isn’t ready or in a stable position. Although there are exceptions to the rule (don’t break up with someone just after a family bereavement for example), things should be addressed sooner rather than later. Sometimes you have to be harsh to be kind, and having things carry on will only make the relationship harder to get over when it ends. Do not make them come to you to end the relationship. If you don’t live together, break up at their home so that they are in comfort once you leave. If you live together, have everything ready before they come home. Do not break up in the spur of the moment and then start packing as things will get messy and may drag on. You can always have a friend pick up things at a later date.
4- Plan the encounter. How long will it last? These conversations tend to always last longer than expected. Avoid this as otherwise things will start to get sticky. Organise something to take place immediately after so you have a reason to leave.
5- Break up in person. This is the only fair way to do things. If this isn’t possible due to distance, the next best thing would be over skype.
6- Know how you want things to pan out post break up. Will you see each other socially? This should be a point of discussion, but in general, it is nearly impossible to remain being friends, at least for the few months, following the break up.
7- Delivery. Do not beat about the bush, but do not be callous either. Sit your partner down and say that we need to talk. They will immediately fear the worse, so expect this. Be calm and resolved and hopefully they will mirror this. Having planned what you’re going to say, you should not ‘um’ or ‘er’ at all, as this will lead to doubt.
8- Stay calm and collected no matter what their response. They will most likely cry so do not be callous. You can comfort them but only briefly. Should they act aggressively you may have to end the break up sooner that you’d hoped. Do not rise in response as this will suggest passion. Do not be swayed. You were prepared for all manner of responses, both verbal and emotional, so proceed as planned.
9- Stick to your decision. Assume that the outcome is fixed and act accordingly. Accept that it is over. Even if you come to feel that the relationship should not have ended, it will most likely never be the same again now that an end has been suggested. If you’re struggling to let go, perhaps make a list of all the negative things about your relationship or her/him. Think through the situation but do not obsess over it, what can you learn from the experience? What advice would you give a friend if they were experiencing the same thing?
10- See ‘how to get over a break up’.
Do not be pedantic about the little issues that irritated you- these are irrelevant and will only prologue the breakup.
Do not idly threaten to break-up a relationship. This will only ever serve to be destructive.
Never break up following an argument. If the relationship is destroyed already, then the situation will not change when things calm down.