You might think that being dumped is the worst feeling in the world – and many would agree with you - however, the pressure and stress of instigating a break up (and doing it the right way) is almost as bad. And, while there is no exact science to mastering a break up we’ve taken on the role of a relationship coach and will walk you through the best case scenario.
To make sure you are breaking up with someone as fairly as possible make sure you’re honest. While you might want to get it done and dusted by simply saying, “it’s over”, that's never fair on the other person. You owe it to your significant other – who you’ve likely been in a long term relationship with – to explain why. This doesn’t mean barraging them with every negative thought you’ve ever had about them – remember they had to have some good qualities - it’s simply giving them something that they can take away, think about, and to some extent process the whole thing.
It’s also important to be sure of what you’re doing and saying when you break up with someone (there’s no time for second thoughts, that will just increase the emotional damage to all involved). When emotions are involved, as is the case in any relationship, it’s not a game and your decision can’t be a rushed one.
Finally, expect a reaction. Always remember that while you’ve had time to think and process this, for the other person this could be completely out of the blue and they could be in complete shock. There may be crying, screaming, shouting, outright laughing or dead silence, but whatever it is, it should be expected.
After you've decided on the words, it's important to consider the delivery. Today, break ups run the risk of becoming impersonal with people opting for text messages, voice messages, and social media outlets such as Instagram and Facebook to get their not-so-loving message across. But is this the right thing to do?
The problem with something in writing - a break up text, break up poem, break up letter or break up message - is that it can often be interpreted as cold and uncaring. It also is a one-way method of communication, allowing only one party to disclose the information they deem relevant.
It doesn’t allow your SO (significant other), to ask questions, fully understand the reasons behind the break up, or be in a position to express their feelings.
Of course they can write back, however, it’s not the same as being there in person. Especially considering that even at the best of times – a break up not being one of those times – a person’s feelings can easily get lost in translation. This increases the likelihood of your SO feeling that you are being rude, cold, and disrespectful.
Naturally in situations where feelings may not have completely developed (you’ve only been on the one date), a short and concise text along the lines of, “thank you for a great night, but I don’t feel that there was an emotional connection” would be considered a respectful means to ending the relationship sans ghosting.
A similar message sent to your partner of 15 years for the dissolution of the romantic relationship would not be as respectful. In fact, in this situation breaking up over the phone or by written communication simply shows you are evading the other person and the reality of the break up.
So, How To Break Up With Someone You Love?
In short, there is no one size fits all approach and there isn’t a manual to read. It’s simply recommended that couples in long term relationships should break up in personal face-to-face settings, preferably in private (at home or if you live separately then at their home so that they are most comfortable in their surroundings) to allow for the exertion of emotions and a conversation away from prying eyes (and ears). While those in a long distance long term relationships, could revert to their primary method of communication to deliver the break up message. Facetime or Skype calls are preferable (and technically still considered face-to-face) or at the very least a telephone call. If you’re in a brand new relationship then a short quick text message can do just do the trick.
The key to determining the best way to break up with someone depends on the seriousness and longevity of that relationship. Long term relationships require more personal (face-to-face) conversation, whereas relationships that are just starting out can be ended by way of a phone call or a short message. Just remember the more personal the approach the more kind and sincere you will appear and therefore the less pain you are likely to cause.
It’s times like these when we need to refer to the holy grail of relationships and break ups – Sex & the City of course.
“As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. And when that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, buckle up and just keep going.”Carrie Bradshaw
Put simply, there's never really a good time to break up with someone. It’s rarely an issue of timing, more so when the time is right (or up?) for you. Some advice: just rip the band-aid off! No one’s saying this is an easy decision to make and it’s not one you make over a five-minute coffee break. Here are a few quick questions to ask yourself when deciding if it’s time to call it quits:
- Are you happy?
- Are you doubting your future, your partner or the relationship?
- Are you feeling a build-up of insecurities within yourself?
- Do you regret being in this relationship?
- Do you find yourself wondering about what else is out there for you and whether that could be what you’ve always been waiting for?
- Are your family members and/or friends telling you to get the Hell Outta There?
- Have you sat down and weighed the pros and cons only to find you’re struggling to find any pros?
- Are the disagreements becoming more frequent?
- Has there been a deterioration of the connection and communication?
If your finding that you are answering yes to some or all of these questions it might be time to re-evaluate your relationship. There’s no point staying in a relationship just because it’s Christmas or to avoid the difficult conversations. Just take great care in how are you going about it and remember if you have mutual friends chances are you’ll be seeing them again.
You're Single What Now?
While the actual break up conversation is hard the period that follows the break up is equally as hard and confusing. The chances are you’ve lived with this person or been married to them, regardless they were a significant part of your life and while it may have been your choice to end things, once it’s done there’s a void that needs to be filled. Here are a few handy tips and tricks to get you through those first few weeks:
- Mourn the relationship: If you need to cry, stay in bed, mope around in your PJs, listen to break up tunes (here’s a link to get you to the 32 best break up songs:– you’re welcome), and eat all the ice-cream you can find at your local Woolies then d. But limit yourself to two days of this. After all remember there was something that led you to make the decision to break up with your boy or girl.
- Surround yourself with friends: You’ve done your crying and your moping now it’s time to have a shower, do your hair and your make up (boys this is optional) and get in contact with your besties. Plan a spa day, go out for brunch, or have a boys night basically the activity doesn’t matter just get out of the house, keep busy and do things you enjoy.
- Start Exercising: This doesn’t need to be the gym! Exercising can be one of the best medicines for a broken (or damaged) heart. There’s nothing like a good rush of endorphins to boost your mood and help soothe the pain. This would be an excellent activity to do with friends and could be as simple as going on a coastal walk, or doing a Yoga, Zumba, or Spin class.
- Overhaul your Image: While the end of a relationship, particularly one that has been long term, can be a painful conclusion to something that was once beautiful it’s also the beginning of something new and exciting. So why not change up your hairstyle - it’s amazing how fresh a small trim (or big chop) can make you feel; or throw out the 10 oldest items in your wardrobe and spoil yourself with a few new wardrobe additions to help you feel your best while out with friends. Whether the change is big or small make sure it’s a change that’ll excite you and that you’re bound to notice every day. For the lucky few out there who realise this was the best decision they’ve ever made from the outset, stand-by and let the rest of us catch up!