3. Do it in person

Always talk to your partner in person. Never use email, text messages or a letter.

I know this is tempting because it’s much easier for you, but it would also be another type of betrayal. You owe your partner to look him in the eye when you break up with him. It’s a question of loyalty and morality—an unwritten law.

Not to mention that it’s easier for the person left behind to face the break up when you tell him/her personally.

Never walk away from this painful burden. Be fair.

4. Know what and how to say it – be prepared

This is anything but easy. You have to be well prepared—you have to know what to say in advance.

You must realize that your partner is shocked. Even if the break up announced itself a long time ago for you, it will come out of the blue for him/her. The “no contact” before can soften this.

There can be various reactions. Depending on the personality of your partner, there can be denial, crying, begging, aggressiveness, even abuse. Try to stay calm whatever happens. Never let this end in a fight.

Here is a short guideline on how to behave when delivering the message:

  • Always be understanding, no matter how your partner reacts
  • Say that you are sorry that things have not worked out
  • Be prepared for questions, look at your list of reasons before you meet
  • Try to avoid intimate body contact
  • Be confident. If you have not been dominant in your relationship, be it now
  • Never be cold

5. Always be clear that it’s absolutely over

This is the most difficult part: Never, ever let there be any doubt that your relationship is over.

You’ve made your decision. Stick to it whenever you talk to your partner. Never give any hope. The clearer you are, the better and easier it is for the person in the long run. Always keep in mind: there is no painless way.

This may sound coldhearted, but it isn’t. The earlier he/she accepts that it is over, the earlier he/she can start the healing and separation process.

Never say:

  • “maybe sometime we could get together again”
  • “A part of me still loves you”
  • “I never loved anybody as I loved you”
  • “ok, give me some time to think it over”
  • “we can still be friends”

Even if all of this is true, you must not say it out loud. It doesn’t help. I know it is tempting sometimes to say all of this, (especially if there are still feelings from your side). You will feel the urge to ease the pain by saying something he/she wants to hear, but this is wrong for two reasons: you are giving false hope and delaying the healing process, and you are getting off your course.

You have deliberately thought this through in step two and you have decided to break up. Don’t let anybody talk you out of that decision.

There simply is no way without pain. If you are harsh, then you appear heartless. If you are not firm, then they think that there is still hope. This is a very narrow path.

Find a healthy way through the middle and stay the person you are.