A break up is never, ever easy. Yet many of us will encounter the need to end a romantic relationship at some point. How can you break things off without getting nasty? If you want to end it without causing excessive pain to your soon-to-be former significant other, there are steps you can take to ease the blow.
Step One: Get It Over With
First and foremost, don’t procrastinate. Once you’re certain you want to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, give yourself a day or two to plan how best to go about things, then carry out the break up. The longer you put things off, the more awkward it will be. Don’t even think about attempting to get the other party to dump you, either. Though it may be tempting to act aloof in the hopes they’ll save you the trouble and end it themselves, that’s cowardly.
Plus, your bad behavior will make you look like a villain to your mutual friends. Once you’ve decided when to break up, it’s time to formulate how to end things. It’s best that you be brave; talk to your future ex in person. If you absolutely cannot bear to do things face to face, calling over the phone is acceptable. However, breaking up in a text message, during an online chat, or in an email is simply not an option. Your S.O. deserves to hear your voice even if you’re not up to looking them in the eye.
Step Two: Get Your Speech Together
So once you’ve settled on when and how you’ll confront your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s time to plan what you’ll say. Be honest without being harsh or overly hurtful. Don’t be highly accusatory, but if there were relationship problems, don’t leave them unaddressed. You owe it to your partner to explain what went wrong. They need to know for the benefit of their future relationships, and also so they won’t be left wondering why you dumped them. Just be sure to word things as politely as possible while acknowledging your own short comings, as well.
Step Three: The Actual Break Up
Of course, you can only plan ahead for so much. Once the actual break up begins, it’s hard to say how your boyfriend or girlfriend will react. Maybe they’ve secretly been unhappy, too, and will be relieved and calm. On the other hand, they might be completely shocked and extremely upset. Either way, you need to keep your cool. The calmer you manage to remain, the better you’ll look in the end. Don’t be overly cold, though—showing a little empathy will help.
Allow your partner to say their piece without interruption. Don’t evade their questions, and don’t lie to make yourself look better. Stand firm, too. If you’re truly ready to be out of the relationship, don’t give your ex-in-the-making any false hope for a second chance.
Step Four: The Aftermath
Once the break up is done, take a hiatus from speaking with your now-ex. Give them their space and take your own. Otherwise you’ll just prolong the drama. If you have a lot of mutual friends, you should be the bigger person and opt out of group activities so your ex can attend them. Gestures like that aren’t just fair, but also happen to show others that you’re trying to be as polite as possible about everything.
Remain on your best behavior and don’t trash-talk your ex, otherwise it might get back to him or her. Ultimately, if you handle the break up process calmly and politely, you’ll take a lot of the pain out of it. Not only will you show your ex-mate the courtesy they deserve, but you’ll ensure that your reputation remains unsullied.