How to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend gracefully is a question that has troubled many of us at some point or the other. To ease the challenge, here are some tips that tell you how to break up respectfully.
Empty eyes, broken heart, shattered self, painful memories, and self-doubt.
A breakup never comes alone. In its train, it brings a whole lot of such things and even more. And when it is not mutual, it becomes all the more excruciating. But there are times when you have to initiate it for certain reasons. So, if you have all the reasons to call off the relationship and you have to break up with your long-term partner, here are some ideas to make it less painful.
Before you break the bad news to your beloved, there are a few steps to take that make the relationship goodbye as healthy as possible. Backed by a psychologist and a therapist, these advices are meant to make it gentle.
- Introspect Before Breaking Up
Rebecca Hendrix, L.M.F.T, a psychotherapist in New York City says, “A breakup is something that you want to do once you’ve thought about it over time.” Ask yourself if you are going to break up with your girlfriend for no reason or there are concrete reasons for it.
Share your concerns about the relationship with him/her beforehand. Give them a hint of the forthcoming breakup so that they are not shocked. This will also give them time to make up their mind and avoid any trauma. By doing so, you will also be helping them get over it.
- Accept that it will be painful
Break up in a dignified way and know that whatever you say, they will be hurt. Even if they have an idea that it’s time to let you go, your decision will cause them pain.
Rebecca Hendrix also mentions “Remind yourself to give your partner the dignity of being on their own path.” “Your goal is to share the information, but not to go into over-responsibility for how they feel.”
- Be Empathetic
Franklin A. Porter, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New York City says, “Empathy for the partner’s experience of being broken up with, and the ability to express it, can go a long way to assuaging the inevitable pain.”
Empathizing with your partner is easier when you are in love than the time you want to part ways. Here, showing some empathy will be helpful, not only for your partner but also for you. Porter also says, “If you’ve been on the receiving end of a breakup in the past you would probably have a good idea how it feels, and recalling those feelings beforehand would be beneficial in managing your message.”
Breaking Up Rules
Entering into a relationship is easy but stepping out of one is a Herculean task. You have to chalk out the perfect approach to do it and at the correct time. However, there is nothing like a ‘perfect breakup’. So, if your reasons and circumstances have lead you to call it quits with your partner, you have to be sensitive and sensible with it.
After all, to be determined to break up with the person who loves you is not a cakewalk. You must have genuine reasons for it. For instance, you find out that your boyfriend/girlfriend has been cheating on you while you were busy trying to have a future with him/her. You would either want to call them names or vanish from their life. The hurt will be too much to bear and you will look for ways to hurt them even worse.
Here, you have to allow yourself to cool down and end it in a decent way.
Here are few basics to break up with your partner without hurting them. Imply these to make the heartbreaking process simple to some extent. With these tips break up with your partner you can walk out from the relationship in a comparatively less complicated way.
- Sending a Text is a No-No
The last thing on your mind should be to break up over text. However, if your soon-to-be-ex has temper issues that might be threatening for you, only then consider this approach. Although, this way is beyond breaking up rules, think well and draft an explanatory and polite message to send them.
No matter whether your relationship was casual or serious, they deserve to be conveyed the reason/reasons for the breakup. Getting closure is their right, which might also help them move on.
- Spill the Beans Personally
This is much more difficult than the time you proposed or accepted the proposal. That was for happy times to come and this one is for ending the beautiful relationship for which they might not be ready. But cracking the news to them in person will show that you still respect the relationship and don’t take her emotions for granted.
Take the step as grown-ups do. If you have been in the relationship as adults would, you have to show maturity to end it. You might be meeting her for the last time. So have a decent face-to-face conversation with her.
- Select a Private Place
Select a calm and private place where you can talk about the breakup. Although, no location is correct for such a conversation. Look for a place where both of you can talk peacefully. Step in their shoes to understand, where they would better get their heartbreak information.
Franklin A. Porter suggests avoiding public places altogether. He says, “It’s an intimate conversation that calls for an intimate setting, ideally at the partner’s place, giving them the prerogative to show you the door at any time.”
Also, stay away from places that are symbolic for your relationship. For instance, don’t choose a place where they planned a birthday surprise for you or you guys had your first kiss. This won’t be a good move to tell them that it is over between both of you. Such emotional moments need quite a private place, free from any memory of your relationship.
- Write and Practice Your Words
Once you have decided to walk out, take time to give proper words to your feelings so that your love gets the intended message. And if you are going to break up with a long-term partner, understand that the conversation will be stressful. This might also disturb the logic and rationality you want to bring to the conversation.
If you’re wondering how should I break up with my partner the right way, be mindful of this. Choose your words and expressions carefully to frame them into an affirmative statement. Be sensitive to the fact that you may be breaking their heart with your decision.
Think over it. Write and practice what you want to say so as to avoid any slip of tongue if a heated moment arrives. Draft a direct, neutral, honest, and compassionate message. Rehearsing it well enables you to evaluate and communicate your thoughts effectively.
- Explain the Reasons
Whether you’ve decided to break up with the person you love or just a casual date, you have to be reasonable. Unresolved issues, compatibility, differences, life goals etc. might be the reasons to bid bye to the relationship. Whatever your reasons are, share with them.
At least, they will understand the cause and the breakup might go easy on them. However, the one at the receiving end won’t find any explanation convincing enough. Hendrix mentions that never try to go from being romantic partners to platonic trivia night partners.
- Be Clear
To break up with your partner without hurting them, don’t be ambiguous. Don’t tell them ‘I need some time off’ or ‘it’ll be better if we didn’t see each other for a while’. They may perceive it as a need for some space in the relationship and give her false hopes that you guys have a chance to get back together once this phase is over.
So to avoid any drama that might arise from this confusion later, state your message and points clearly. Don’t let them cling to the anticipation of being together again sometime. If you have made up your mind, let them make up theirs as well.
Understand what an explanation is and what an accusation is. Don’t accuse your partner of anything and play a blame game. Avoid statements like “I’m breaking up because you suffocate me” or “It’s impossible to be happy with a whiner like you”. There is just no need to add insult to injury.
- Listen to Them
By calling off the relationship, you will already be hurting them. So, let them talk and pour their heart out. This will be a favor to them in a way. You will be starting and leading the conversation, but be ears to them. Porter says, “You may not like what you hear. But your partner wants to be heard.”
For you, if stating your reasons straight is important, consider their chance to talk equally important. Carefully listen to them and acknowledge the same. Answer their questions if they have some. Don’t make them feel like as you are giving the verdict.
- End things Amicably
The love in your relationship might have been true and pure so when you are going on your own paths, think of beautiful times together. Remind them of their awesomeness and you admired them all this time. Also, tell them that you’re sorry that things didn’t work out between you two.
However, you can’t go ahead together and you have all the good wishes for them. Refrain from bringing up their drawbacks. End it on an amicable note so that both of you can carry on with your lives with respect for each other.
Also, be thoughtful of the day that you have chosen for the breakup. If you break the relationship on his/her birthday or any other important day of his/her life, he/she will be more disturbed. Steer clear of being impulsive as this will make you regret your decision later when you are calm.
- Don’t Vanish
If you want to break up with the person you love, don’t vanish from their life out of the blue. If you have to break up with your long-term partner but this might put your physical or mental well-being at stake, only in that case your act of being suddenly vanished from their life could be considered.
However, ghosting is a no-no until and unless any conversation as an effort to resolve things amicably is futile. They might be a potential stalker or a serial cheater. Your act of being disappeared will although leave them riddled with questions forever. Don’t be the reason for their sleepless nights when they make futile assumptions to find answers to their questions. This might also leave them scarred and with trust issues.
- Maintain the No Contact Rule
While cutting ties, do talk about not staying in touch and discuss the No Contact Rule. Tell them clearly that there won’t be any text messages and phone calls. You won’t also be connected anymore on any social media platform.
Ask them to support you in this as you might not ask them anything else ever again. You should also be determined to sever all contact with your ex. Doing so will help them heal and move on.
- Steer Clear of the Clichéd Friendship
Resist the temptation to quote “let’s be friends” when you break up with the partner who loves you. Your break-up should be final. Assuring your boyfriend/girlfriend of some friendship won’t do any good. They might be misled into the thoughts of reconciling in the future. When you are planning for a new life, free from the past relationship ties; give them a chance as well to start anew.
This will also be harmful if your new partner comes to know about your ‘friendship’ with your ex. Being friends with one’s ex has never been a great idea. A break-up must be definitive, final, clean, and clear.
- Stay Away from Rebound Relationship
Once you have called it quits, you might have rushes of remorse that will make you think “I decided to break up with my partner but I love him/her”. The sudden loneliness will make you crave for your ex and you will be tempted to get into a rebound relationship.
Pause. Remind yourself of the reasons why it didn’t work out between you two so that you can easily stay away from jumping in together and splitting again. This is a toxic trait that will take a toll on both of you sooner or later.
After you have stepped out of the relationship, be cautious of sending flirtatious messages every once in a while to keep the possibility to start things over with an ex. This is an equally dangerous tendency that might lead to confuse you and complicate things between both of you.
Look for more constructive way to channelize your emotions than latching on to the past as this is a vicious circle that has never done any good to anyone.
- Hold Yourself from Emotional Texting
Your break up with the partner who loves you went smooth. He/ She understood you and your reasons for breaking off. You have agreed not to get in touch as well. But the love, emotions, and attachment are still there. Staying away after being in a loving relationship is easier said than done.
Whenever there is a weak moment, collect every ounce of your courage to not send sentimental messages. And even worst, refrain from calling him/her when you are drunk. Even if your ex does these things, hold yourself from responding. Emotional messages are not good for the decision you take.
- Stick to Your Decision
When bidding bye to a deep relationship where both of you are much in love, think long and hard before stepping out. You might have your reasons to do so but this could also be looked upon as a breakup with your partner for no reason since both of you are in love. In such cases, emotions can gulp both of you.
While discussing the reasons both of you might relive beautiful moments. If you find yourself in such a situation and feel like stepping back, don’t do it. Emotions can cloud your judgment today but later you might be at the same place again. When you become weak here, remind yourself why you initially decided to end it.
- Quit Playing Games with Her/His Heart
It is important to control your feelings. When you miss them after bidding the painful bye, don’t expect them to attend to your feelings. Nothing can justify this act as it was your decision to break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend for no reason or reason best known to you. Then why would he/she make himself/herself available at your beck and call?
Once you have made up your mind to end the relationship, don’t play fast and lose with their feelings. When you have told them that you can’t continue the relationship, hugging and kissing don’t make sense. Even long after breaking up, if you behave like being together and expect them to reciprocate the way you want is unreasonable.
Although breaking up is difficult and detrimental for both of you, keep in mind that every relationship is not in your best interest. While severing the bond and cutting all the ties, stay clear, crisp, and convincing. Be sensitive of her feelings. Explain to her why being together won’t serve your purposes in life and step ahead to better things.
Once you have made the decision, stick to it. While taking the decision, you knew what you were doing and its results. Overanalyzing it after you have taken the step won’t help and you shouldn’t do it either. Be at peace with it and let them find their peace. Don’t go every now and then to explain or blame them for the reasons.
What has been done cannot be undone. No matter how hard you try to reconcile, the cracks created in the relationship by your step to walk away won’t be mended.
As Hendrix says, “Remind yourself that it’s OK to leave a relationship that isn’t working for you. And if it’s not a good fit for you, then it’s not a good fit for them, even though they may not be aware of it as much as you are.”