Everybody knows that it‘s a devastating experience to lose someone you really love, be it through a breakup or divorce.
We have all gone through this at least one time in our lives.
But the fact that it is also tough to be the one who leaves is something you could only know if you have experienced it.
So, the question arises – how to break up with someone?
Relationships come to an end, and the reasons why can be numerous.
They all have in common that one member of the relationship is dissatisfied and pulls back.
Maybe he has tried for some time to adjust the relationship according to his wishes.
If this fails, he usually quits emotionally long before the actual break up.
That is often the reason why the “breakup survivor” has the impression that the “dumper” is cold-hearted — he already left mentally months ago.
How to decide if the relationship should be ended or not?
They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it's true
Here are some guidelines you can take into account when considering ending a relationship:
- Does the relationship allow you to evolve according to your wishes?
- Does the relationship fulfill your needs?
- Is it possible to have goals together and achieve them?
- Does your partner accept you as you are?
- Can you resolve conflicts together?
- Are you feeling safe in your relationship?
- Is the communication with your partner good?
If your answer to these questions is in the majority “no,” then it is probably time to move on.
So, you want to break up with your girlfriend/boyfriend, and you don’t know how to do this?
You’ve never done it before, or have done it wrong in the past, and you could use a helping hand?
The first thing you have to realize is that there is no painless way.
It just doesn’t exist.
No magical words which will take the pain away.
It will hurt them, and it may also hurt you. There is nothing you can do about this.
You can only avoid some common mistakes and make it a little easier for them.
As you continue reading, you are about to learn the steps on how to break up with someone the best way.
If you have made your decision, just use the following steps as a guideline.
How to break up with someone in 7 steps:
1. Keep a few days distance
It is very advisable to maintain some distance from your partner before you actually break up.
This has many advantages.
On one side, you will gain some emotional distance, which is important to be able to go through the steps listed below.
On the other side, your partner will sense that something is about to happen and will hopefully emotionally prepare himself.
Just cut off contact for a week before.
Do not give too much information, just say you’re busy.
2. Try to be sure about your decision
I know, that’s a tough one, especially when you love the person in question, or are very close to him/her.
You've probably been thinking about breaking up for a long time.
You have come to the conclusion that you don’t fit together, have different expectations about life or were unable to resolve or get to the bottom of your conflicts.
Maybe you have simply realized that you do not love your partner.
Either way, try to be sure that there is no chance of getting things right again.
I wrote “try,” because I know that it's so tough to be sure.
You can be confident of your decision if you have tried several times to repair the relationship by trying to talk about the problems and frictions.
To help with this decision, I suggest that you make a list of all the reasons why you want to break up and write possible solutions besides it.
Then go through your list and reflect whether or not you have done everything you could to solve the problems you’ve had.
By knowing the reasons for the imminent breakup, you will be prepared for questions your partner might ask, and they will help you to cope with the breakup yourself.
So, are you absolutely sure?
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 seems so much easier, 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 breakup when you tell him/her personally.
Never walk away from this painful burden.
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 unquestionably over
This is the most tricky 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 cold-hearted, but it isn’t. The earlier he/she accepts that it is over, the earlier he/she can start the healing and separation process.
- “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 will 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.
6. Give an opportunity for closure
When you break up with someone, that person often remains in a state of shock for several days.
Often he/she cannot remember what was said during the breakup, let alone understand the causes or your reasons that led to it.
In this case, he/she will seek closure.
Here is a definition of the term “closure”:
By closure, I mean a resolving conversation about the reasons for the relationship breakup and an opportunity to say goodbye.
After a few days, (not longer), offer a dialog, a conversation where you can discuss your reasons for the breakup and why you think that your relationship has been going nowhere.
Often they will ask for it themselves.
You will encounter a lot of resistance and arguments here, but that is why I asked you to make that list in step two.
Remember, the goal is not to make the other person understand, he/she will not, no matter what you say.
Understanding will not come until later in their recovery. Your goal is to give the feeling of an ending and a goodbye.
Try to emphasize the sense of farewell by wishing them all your best for his/her life and deliberately leading to a parting.
This will not be easy for you because the person is still close to your heart.
Remember: stay strong. This is important.
7. Help them with No-Contact
The “No-Contact Rule” is one of the most important premises for healing from a breakup.
But sometimes the urge to call or meet is so strong that many can’t resist.
Help them with this.
Do not go to places where you might meet.
If they call or email you, keep the response short and non-personal.
Never call, email or text message first, not even to ask how they’re feeling.
Most of the time, the one who breaks up has to learn as well that it is over.
By following the no contact rule, you help yourself and your ex-partner.
Now you have a list of 7 steps showing how to break up with someone.
They will make the difficult task easier for both parties.
I know that the whole process is excruciating, but please keep in mind that a broken relationship is a deadlock.
Not only is it stopping you from living a fulfilling love life, but it can also harm your self-esteem and confidence.
Not to mention your happiness.
Once you have made the decision, act upon it.
After you have accomplished this arduous task, you are one step closer to fulfillment.
All the best,