How To Break Up: 16 Do’s and Don’ts
One of the most painful experiences in life is the ending of a meaningful relationship, especially where there has been a romance. People who call my radio shows always tell me stories about really heart-breaking endings to their relationships. Wouldn’t it be amazing if somebody were to say, “My bf/gf treated me so well when we were breaking up, I couldn’t help but respect him/her!”
But unfortunately, the end of a dating relationship is often full of deception, dishonesty, and disrespect. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When you are breaking up with someone, for whatever reason, the best approach is to treat the other person the same way you would want to be treated.
Still, one thing is for sure. No matter how hard you try to be kind, the fact that you want to break up is going to hurt the other person. This is not something to do over the phone, via text messaging, IM, or email. Consider the time and location. Be courageous and respectful and have your conversation in person and in private.
Before you do anything, make sure you really do want to break up. If you’re just angry at your bf/gf, you may want to talk about why you’re upset, rather than just ending the relationship. Sometimes it feels easier to run from the relationship, when there may be a great lesson to learn from a challenging situation.
Be prepared for the other person to ask why you’re breaking up with him/her. You might want to write down some of your thoughts beforehand. If you’re breaking up because of difficulties you’ve had with the relationship in the past, it’ll be easier if you’ve already talked through them, and given the other person an opportunity to respond.
Here are some more dos and don’ts when breaking up with someone:
- Don’t have a friend break up for you.
- Don’t ignore your ex and expect that person to understand.
- Never text a good-bye.
- Don’t announce it on social media.
- Don’t make your reasons complicated.
- Be direct, but kind.
- Don’t say something mean about the other person, especially if you want to remain friends.
- In time, if possible, make every attempt to be friends after you break up.
- Don’t say let’s just be friends (you may be friends again, but it takes time for the relationship to heal).
- Answer their questions as honestly and kindly as possible.
- Don’t say, It’s not you, it’s me.
- Understand that the other person is going to be very hurt, confused and possibly angry.
- Don’t go blabbing to other people about the break-up. Save your experience for a few trusted friends.
- Don’t break up unless you know for sure it’s final. The breaking up and then getting back together again cycle breeds mistrust.
- Wait some time before you start dating someone else, especially if you see your former bf/gf often. Consider Brittini’s story: After the last relationship when I broke up with my boyfriend, the week later he was asking my friend if she would go out with him! That made me so mad that the next time I saw him I just wanted to hurt him and her.
- Don’t try to talk your bf/gf out of their decision. Blue Grace’s advice is valuable: My beau of just over 4 yrs. broke up with me last Valentine’s Day in what he later called “a defensive, reactive” moment – completely unexpected by either of us. I tried to talk him out of it for over an hour to no avail. Ladies, please DON’T do this. If he’s gonna break up with you, let him. If he’s wrong, truly loves you, and is a real man, he will come back for you. Do not chase him. It only leads to a more shattered heart.
Breaking up is hard. There’s no getting around that. Just listen to Kate, who said: I just broke up with my boyfriend of 6 months last week. I know 6 months isn’t that long, but I would drive 74 miles (one way) to see him, sometimes several times a week. He never came to see me. He also told me that he didn’t love me and he never would. Instead of breaking it off and trying to heal myself like a normal person, I would do just about anything to keep the relationship going. I can’t live without him and my heart is genuinely broken. I know God is the only one who can fill the hole in my heart.
If you use honesty, compassion and sensitivity, you’ll both be better off in the end. Treat him or her with the same respect you’d like someone to treat your future husband/wife. If you’re struggling to get through a difficult break up, you might want to read my blog about Getting Over A Broken Heart for some additional thoughts.
Do you have any tips on how to break up with someone in a healthy and respectful way? Please comment with your ideas in the discussion.
For more information on how to understand why you are making the dating choices you are and how to make better ones, check out TheHopeLine’s eBook: Understanding Dating.