Breaking up with your partner — no matter how long you have been dating — is extremely difficult. But, sometimes, it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, there is no recipe for a perfect and painless breakup. Every relationship is unique, and so is every breakup. But one thing most breakups have in common is that they are emotional and complicated. This said, there are some tips that you can use to help make your breakup as graceful as possible.
Remind Yourself Breaking Up Is Okay
If you are making the decision to break up with your partner, remind yourself that it is okay. If a relationship is not working for you, then it is not going to be healthy for your partner, either. Remind yourself that not every relationship you will have in your life will be there for life. Even if a relationship has come to an end, it does not mean that you (or your partner) did anything wrong.
Think About the Conversation (Before Jumping into It)
Once you’ve decided that you are going to break up with your partner, take some time to think about what you want to say before you bring up the conversation. It can be easy to make matters worse if you charge into a sensitive conversation like this without thinking about it. So, before you broach the topic with your partner, think about what you want to say to them. Write yourself a “script” if it helps you. This can not only help you decide what to say but also how to say it without becoming accusatory or overly emotional.
Know You Can’t Control Their Reaction
We can’t control how other people are going to react to anything we do. This is a simple truth, and there really is no way to know how someone is going to respond. The best thing you can do here is to prepare yourself for some reactions that you think your partner may have. But in reality, you’ll just have to go into the conversation as well-prepared as you can and listen to your partner as they process alongside you.
Talk to Your Partner Face to Face
Ever heard the saying, “don’t deliver bad news over the phone?” Yeah, if you think hearing bad news on a phone call is bad, think about how terribly texting someone that your relationship is over is going to go. Yes, having this conversation in person is going to be awkward and painful. But, having the conversation in person shows your partner that you care for them and that you respect them — which is a great start in ensuring a less-dramatic breakup.
Focus on the Relationship
We have a tendency to go into “defense mode” anytime we feel blamed for something. Because of this, make sure to tailor your reasonings for ending your relationship towards the relationship itself — not your partner. In other words, use “I” statements and focus your words on the relationship. This can not only help ensure that your partner doesn’t feel blamed for the end of the relationship, but it also helps them to also recognize that the relationship is not a good fit for them if you are not happy with it. Relationships are two-way partnerships; both members need to be invested for it to work.
Don’t Dive into the Details
You don’t need to start listing all of the reasons why you are deciding to end the relationship. These can come off as hurtful and cause your ex-partner to feel like you are blaming them for everything that went wrong. This can lead to your partner offering a counter-list that details everything that they may not have appreciated about the relationship. While talking about what is and is not working is healthy, attacking each other during a breakup is not. So, rather than delving into the unnecessary details, focus on the overarching reason for the breakup — that you don’t feel like you are a good fit together.
Choose the Right Setting
Alright, this is a little bit of a trick tip. There is no “right” setting for this type of conversation. But there are definitely settings that will be more comfortable than others. If nothing else, err on the side of being more careful than not careful enough. In other words, don’t schedule this conversation for your next date night, gathering with friends, or an important day of the year.
Better yet, try to avoid any form of public place as it can make it harder to focus on the conversation, and it can make your partner feel uncomfortable.
Listen and Practice Empathy
Yes, if you are the one doing the breaking up, you’re likely going to be doing most of the talking. But this does not mean that you don’t owe it to your partner to listen to them as well. They are going to have things to say, and even if you don’t like what you are hearing, they deserve to be heard as well. They may insist on getting the last word, and they may yell or cry. It is important to think about their feelings in this situation as well.
We know coming out and saying that you want to break up with your partner is painful and awkward. But it is so much better than trying to hint at it all evening. Simply coming out and saying what you are feeling, even if it hurts, is the best way to handle this type of situation.
Don’t Leave Anything Open-Ended
It can be incredibly tempting to ease the pain by hinting at the possibility of reconnecting in the future. Realistically, all this does is give your ex-partner false hope. This is not fair to them, and it is also not good for you. If you know that your partner is not a good fit for you, you need to tell them this.
If you are having trouble figuring out how to approach breaking up with your partner, or you aren’t quite ready to give up on working through your issues quite yet, you may want to consider talking it over with a therapist. You can reach out today at Love Heal Grow to get in touch with one of our trained individual and couples therapists.