So, you need to break up with your partner.
Whether it was a long-term relationship or a short-term fling, there’s no way around it: you are going to break their heart.
You don’t want to hurt them. Actually, passing a kidney stone sounds better to you right now than dumping your partner. But you can’t avoid the truth any longer. It has to be done.
Things to know
- Don't put it off any longer; if you've decided to break up, have a face-to-face conversation. The exception is if you're in a long distance relationship or if you fear for your safety.
- Avoid approaching the conversation in an accusatory or negative tone. Instead, be honest and take responsibilty for your part in things.
- So things are easier on both of you, make a clean break, give each other space and focus on processing the breakup.
You might have wondered if breaking up can ever be easy. As brutal as breakups can be, there are ways to cushion the impact. Here are eight tips to make the conversation as painless as possible:
- Don’t Delay The Conversation
- Do It In Person
- Set The Tone
- Be Honest
- Take Responsibility For Your Role
- Make A Clean Break
- Give Them Space
- Prioritize Your Needs
8 Tips For A Better Breakup
1. Don’t Delay The Conversation
At the end of every relationship, there comes a time when you know what you have to do. You might resist for a while, but once you admit to yourself that things aren’t working out, it’s time to act.
Initiating a breakup is the last thing anyone wants to do. But the biggest mistake people make is putting it off. Avoiding a difficult conversation might be easier in the short term, but long term, it’s only making you suffer for longer. Delaying the inevitable fills you with dread and guilt.
You feel like you are lying to your partner every time they say, “I love you.” Not only that, but once you finally do end things, they will be even more hurt that you have been planning the breakup for a long time. Don’t drag it out. Bite the bullet and cut the cord as soon as you can.
2. Do It In Person
The rule of thumb is to always part ways in person. Whenever possible, meeting face-to-face is the ideal way to end things. Giving your partner the chance to say goodbye like this is a sign of respect.
If you are in a long-distance relationship and absolutely must break up virtually, give yourself enough time for a long phone call. Make sure they have every opportunity to ask questions and say what they need to say.
When you do meet up, put some thought into picking the right place — location matters. A private space like his room is best for an intimate discussion. You can both wear your hearts on your sleeves without fear of making a scene.
However, if you had a less than healthy relationship, it is safest to meet in a public place with many people around. Domestic violence is a serious matter, and you could be putting yourself at risk if you end the relationship out of the public eye.
3. Set The Tone
Delivering bad news is never easy. Just because you’re the one dealing the blow doesn’t mean you feel good about it. You’re dealing with enough heartbreak of your own as it is.
But if you’re nervous about how the course of the conversation will go, know that you have some influence over a difficult situation. Setting the right tone makes all the difference in the world.
Your soon-to-be ex-partner will match whatever energy you bring to the table. If you come in swinging, they will attack you right back. Resorting to the blame game only creates two losers. Begging or being hysterical isn’t the right way to go about it either. If you seem out of control, they will likely lose their cool, too.
With emotions running high, the worst thing you can do is approach the conversation with an accusatory or negative tone. Try and focus on keeping your voice calm and words gentle. If you don’t, you’re asking for an ugly split that’s a lot harder than it has to be.
4. Be Honest
As much as you feel guilty for hurting your partner, resist the temptation to try and make them feel better. You want to soften the blow and preserve their self-esteem. But using flattery and telling them they are perfect in every way will only create confusion.
It might be hard for them to hear, but there is a reason you want to end the relationship in the first place. Telling them what it is will give them closure and help them in the long run. Your partner deserves to know the truth.
Even though it feels cruel in the moment, you are actually helping them by being honest about where it all went wrong.
Maybe your ex had a bad habit of lying. Or he was a terrible communicator. Whatever the flaw, making them aware of their problematic behavior will lead to personal growth. Their new partner will thank you later for giving them a better relationship.
5. Take Responsibility For Your Role
It takes two people to make a romantic relationship work. It also takes two people to make it fail.
Not a single person on this planet is perfect. But what makes a long-term relationship work is finding two flawed people who are perfect for each other. If you are choosing to end things, then chances are your two wrongs didn’t make a right.
When you break up, be careful not to fall into the trap of playing the blame game. It’s no one’s fault that things didn’t work out in the end.
To avoid a dog fight, try and lead by owning up to your mistakes. Acknowledging your personal part to play in the split will disarm your partner. Admitting fault takes humility, and they will definitely appreciate your mature approach to the conversation.
6. Make A Clean Break
If you’re like a lot of people, you probably want to stay friends with your ex. After all, no one did anything wrong. You don’t hate each other; you just weren’t romantically compatible. No harm, no foul, right?
Not exactly. When you break up with someone, you are telling that person that you do not see a future with them. They have no place in your life. The relationship is over.
Blurring the lines with friendship won’t make the breakup any easier on them. Actually, it will have the reverse effect. Instead of being forced to accept a painful reality, they will be held back by the false hope of getting back together.
As long as you two are friendly and in regular contact, neither of you will move on. You’ll be left desperately wondering why you can’t get over your ex when you should be letting go and living your life. A clean break with no room for interpretation is the kindest thing for both of you.
When enough time has passed, maybe you can revisit the conversation. Just make sure you don’t have any romantic feelings lingering from the past relationship when you do.
7. Give Them Space
When you break up, there’s a chance your ex will want some distance from you. Be prepared for, however, they might react.
Inside, you might feel defensive or hurt by their response to the situation. But on the outside, you must try to accept their feelings. Remember: they might be blindsided by this bad news. A little empathy goes a long way in keeping your cool.
You can show your ex-partner respect by honoring their wishes. If they do ask for space, give it to them. Resist the temptation to contact them and check-in. That means no phone call, no text, no nothing. Keep your business private and stay off social media. Posting subliminal messages that you hope they’ll see on Facebook also counts as contact.
When they’re ready, they’ll reach out to you. For now, give them the chance to process the breakup and heal.
8. Prioritize Your Needs
The same goes for you. Your mental health is just as important as theirs. Since you don't want to get back with your ex, there's no real need for interactions at this stage - you should look after yourself.
Leading up to the conversation, nurture your mental health. Talk to a family member or therapist to process all the conflicting emotions you’re experiencing. Ending a relationship takes a lot of strength.
After the breakup, make sure you take time to heal. Focus on your friendships and personal growth. Avoid rebounding or jumping into a new relationship before you’re ready just to forget about your ex. Instead, wait to date until you feel genuinely excited about a new person.
The ways you take care of yourself in the days surrounding a breakup are just as important as the conversation itself.
Is Breaking Up Ever Easy?
Truth be told, there is no such thing as an easy breakup. No matter what you do, both of you will walk away from the conversation nursing broken hearts. It hurts so much because your love was strong.
After a breakup, can you ever stop loving someone?
You will never truly stop caring about your ex, but that doesn’t mean you will feel this heartbreak forever. It might feel impossible now, but there will come a day when you can look back on your past relationship and smile.
You have a long way to go before you find that peace, but the time will pass a lot quicker if you handle the breakup gracefully using these tips.