I wouldn't be writing this essay if breaking up with someone was simple. The difficulty isn't so much how to break up with someone as it is how to do so without causing sadness, discomfort, or messy miscommunications. It's not an easy task. Breaking up with someone you love is difficult for a lot of reasons: perhaps you'll miss their family members, or the love and support you had from them at a given point in your life, or the intimacy you shared with them (which is totally valid). Perhaps you're truly concerned about hurting someone you care about, or perhaps you simply don't want to appear a jerk to your mutual acquaintances. Breakups are never enjoyable, even if you know you need to go on. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a "perfect breakup," but if you're the one who has to break the news, there are a few things you can do to make the experience as healthy as possible for both you and your partner before and during the talk. A therapist and a psychologist offer tips on how to break up with someone in a respectful and productive manner.
1. Make sure you're serious about ending the relationship.
In a dispute, don't threaten to leave if you don't get your way. If you say something, be prepared to back it up with action, or else don't make the threat at all. Before making a decision, discuss issues with your partner freely and directly. Numerous people suffer for years without speaking out about their concerns with their partners, which leads to many breakups. If you're serious about ending the relationship, make a list of all the reasons you're unhappy in it, as well as all the reasons those problems can't be changed.
2. Consider what you've just said.
When you've made the decision to end your relationship, it's critical to allow yourself time and space to consider what you want to say before saying it. The conversation will almost certainly be difficult, and when you're anxious, you lose access to your logical, reasoning brain. Writing down exactly what you want to say and practicing it ahead of time will help you anchor in the message so that you can effectively communicate your thoughts when you're in the heat of the moment. Planning ahead of time can also assist you in assessing the tone with which you deliver the message. Maintain a "neutral, non-accusatory, non-blaming, compassionate, direct, and honest" tone.
3. Prepare yourself for a range of emotions on both sides.
“Be aware that your partner may be hurt and shocked, and that they will require time and space to process the news and decide how they want to communicate. You'll most likely become emotional as well. Your lover was your emotional home, the person you trusted and spent your life with. You probably didn't break up lightly, so don't second-guess yourself just because you miss them or feel lonely at first.
4. Start by being straightforward.
“It depends on why you're terminating the connection, but if you truly care about and respect this person, be compassionate and take off the Band-Aid with a direct statement like, ‘There's no easy way to do this, and it pains me to know I'm hurting you, but I need to end this relationship.'
5. Regardless of how your now-ex reacts, stick to your decision.
If they ask you to reconsider: Someone shouldn't have to plead or persuade you to love or be with them." When there isn't necessarily something wrong that you can pinpoint, or if it's simply a sensation, a breakup might be perplexing. Trust that in the perfect relationship, your intellect and heart will align, and you won't have to pick between the two. If they become enraged, remind them that only they have control over their actions and emotions. Commit to being cool and understand that anger is a secondary emotion that often hides sadness, pain, and rejection. If they lash out after you say what you need to say, remove yourself from the situation, with the possibility of having a final closure chat once they've calmed down.
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