Breaking up sucks. It can be painful, and complicated. So how do you navigate a break-up?
As Paul Simon says, “There must be 50 ways to leave your lover” … but some are WAY better than others.
So, with that in mind, I’ve culled the best ways to let someone go; here are my tips for making a clean and healthy break:
1. Be Certain! Broken hearts can’t be put back together again
If you’re thinking about ending a relationship, you must take time to be 100% certain that is what you want.
Are you sure you’re not breaking up over a misunderstanding, miscommunication, unmet needs or something else that could be resolved?
You want to be sure, so you have no regrets.
Be sure each of you has exhausted all means to fix the relationship. Once you hurt a person by deciding to break up, you can never take that back.
Remember research shows that much that goes wrong in a relationship is that YOU do not have the necessary relationship skills to make it work.
So, take some relationship skills building classes or see a Relationship Coach (that’s what we do – help you build skills).
You ONLY want to pull the break-up card when you know there is no better way; then that is the only time to decide to end a relationship.
2. Don’t Rely on Technology
The tabloids widely reported that pop star Britney Spears broke up with her now-ex-husband Kevin Federline via a text message (Okay I know this is old news but it really speaks to my point).
Text messages and emails are the worst medium for ending a romantic relationship.
Social networking sites, like Facebook, should NEVER be used to end a romantic relationship.
Nor should web sites like Breakup Butler, which delivers several types of prerecorded breakup messages ranging from let-them-down-easy to downright mean.
It can be easier to break up with someone if you don’t have to look the person in the eye, but it can also be interpreted as cruel and spineless. Also the lack of closure can be psychologically damaging for the dumped.
3. Dropping the Bomb
Do it person, in a quiet setting. Don’t take them out to dinner or somewhere that can cause a scene. Do it face-to-face, where it’s just the two of you.
Find or schedule an appropriate time. Approach the topic when both of you are calm and rational. Don’t announce your intention to break-up during a heated argument or a moment of anger.
Show your resolve by being firm, decisive and honest. Help your partner understand why you want to end the relationship. Be tactful, not brutal.
It will be important to give the person with whom you are ending the relationship the chance to ask questions. Your partner will possibly be wondering why you want out.
Be prepared with sincere answers. Before having “the talk, do your best to articulate the reasons you are breaking up.
If you have trouble remembering examples during emotional discussions or arguments, write your reasons down in advance. It may help to talk this over with someone you trust or with a Relationship Coach.
Focus on what isn’t working for you in the relationship, rather than telling them what is wrong with them.
Be as direct and honest as you can. Don’t engage a in tit-for-tat fight. Stick to the facts: “It’s not working, it’s no one’s fault, and we need to move on.”
4. Don’t use the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ line
Just about all of us have heard — or even said — this line as a way of ending a romantic relationship.
The problem is that it often leaves the dumpee thinking the precise opposite.
Be as straight forward and honest as you can. Be clear with your intentions. Do not say “I just need some time off” if you really mean permanent goodbye.
This will give the person false hope. If it is totally over, then let him/her know. If you don’t, they might try things to win you back, wasting time, effort and emotions.
5. Don’t Lose Your Cool if They Get Emotional
Crying– The other person will likely be hurt and it will show. You can comfort him or her, but don’t allow yourself to be manipulated into shifting your decision.
Fighting or arguing– He or she may dispute things you’ve said during the break up, including examples you used in your reasons for breaking up.
Don’t get dragged into a fight. Let your partner know that arguing isn’t going to change your decision.
Bargaining or begging – He or she may offer to change, or to do things differently in order to save the relationship.
If the person didn’t modify their behavior when you’ve discussed your problems in the past, it’s too late to expect him or her to change now.
Lashing out – Whether it’s as simple as saying “You’ll never find anyone as good as me” or as scary as saying “You’re going to regret this,” he or she is usually just trying to make himself or herself feel better.
An intimidation of physical harm, however, is serious and should not be ignored. If you feel that your safety is in danger, stay calm and leave quickly.
6. Is Being Friends With Your Ex Okay?
Whether or not two people can remain friends after a break-up varies on the two people and their feelings about the end of the relationship.
If you are still in love and want them back, the best thing to do is go cold turkey. Take at least three months with no contact. No phone calls.
No ‘let’s get together for dinner.’ No nothing! You need time to detox and get in touch with yourself again.
Talking every day as “friends” is also a no-no. That just keeps the wounds and hope open and working.
Don’t keep calling to ‘check in,’ hear how his or her day was, or if the dog ate her dinner. Cut the cord in all ways, period!
Oh, another no-no? Breakup sex! Absolutely+ NO!
Prescription for Healing After the Relationship Ends
Do learn from each relationship. Write down five things you appreciated about this relationship that you would like to have in the next one, and five things you would not like to create next time.
Instead of stalking your ex or making up excuses to call or see him or her, “keep yourself busy with new activities, old friends, and healthy distractions.
AND don’t get right into a new relationship right away… Don’t medicate your sadness with a new person. It isn’t fair to either of you.
Final Thoughts – Finishing Yet Another relationship?
If ending relationships is something you have to deal with regularly, it may be worth taking stock with the help of a relationship coach.
I offer telephone coaching as well as face-to-face relationship/couples/marriage coaching. It can really help to run things by a relationship coach when you are ending a relationship.
About the author
Ana Loiselle is a Relationship Coach, Speaker and Author.
As the owner of The New Mexico Relationship Center, she has applied sensible, positive and effective strategies to help singles and couples work out their relationship challenges.
She specializes in improving communication, and understanding how to make relationships work.
For more information visit www.nmRelationshipCenter.com or call 505.872.8743
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