Tag Archives: Breaking up

How to End a Relationship

Have you ever been dumped?  Was it done cruelly? Crazily?  Compassionately?

Being dumped is one of the more devastating things to happen in life.  Although there is no way to totally alleviate the pain, if you are going to end a relationship with someone you have to remember you once cared about him or her.

Here are some basic tips on how you ought to approach ending a relationship.

Your first thought should be: Am I sure I want to do this?  Breakups should not be done when you’re ferociously emotional.  In addition, you should not use the breakup as a threat – i.e. “I’m going to leave you,” or “I’m going to divorce you.”  The last thing you want to do is keep yo-yoing somebody around.

Don’t make the decision in anger.  You’ll say certain things you’ll either regret or don’t mean in the first place.  If you’re really angry, just tell him or her, “I’m losing it right now, and I’m probably going to say things I’m going to regret.  I need to take a little time, and we can continue talking about this when I’m calmer.”  During the breathing period, you can talk to your parents, a minister or counselor, and/or a really good friend who is not just automatically going to side with you.

Choose your timing well.  Don’t end a relationship with somebody while he or she is sick (unless it’s chronic and he or she will be ill forever) or has a big exam or project at work.  You can wait.  Also, wait for privacy.  You don’t need an audience for this.

Don’t be wishy-washy.  You have to be definitive, clear and final.  If you think you’re being nicer and letting him or her down easier by being wishy-washy, you’re not.  All you’re doing is driving that person crazy.  He or she doesn’t need all the drama — the cycle of escalation and deflation.  So don’t be overly dramatic.  Just say, “I’ve made this decision,” and then stick to it.  Don’t be a patsy.

Prepare for the worst.  Your ex is going to be angry, shocked and panicked.  If he or she starts escalating the situation, you have to remove yourself.  Say that you’ll call later when you’re both calmer, and you don’t want the relationship to end with you two screaming at each other.

If you’re breaking up with someone because that person is dangerous, violent or incredibly manipulative, don’t let him or her manipulate you out of your position.  Remember that’s why you’re leaving in the first place!  If he or she says, “I’m going to kill myself if you leave,” you should call 911, a relative, or a friend.  But don’t be manipulated.

Be honest.  If he or she asks you questions, answer them.  Be kind, but be honest.  Don’t go through a 15-page list of why you’re breaking things off.  Don’t give a million details.  Don’t argue or try to prove yourself.  That’s just mean and trite.  Boil it down to what I call the essential problem.  Just say, “We’ve had so many experiences together, but I’ve realized that we’re not compatible in ways that are important to me.  Our values and ideals, what we want and enjoy in life, and what we expect from each other are just not in sync.”  That covers territory without condemnation.

Don’t try to stay friends.  Frankly, you’re not friends, and you can’t go back to being friends.  When your ex asks to remain friends, he or she is expressing a desire to hold on to you.  He or she is always going to want back what you’re taking away.  You really can’t keep going through the death throes again and again.

So, if you really are going to break up with someone, do it with class, do it with dignity, and do it with respect.  Don’t screw around on somebody beforehand, don’t ignore them, and don’t play terrible games.  Otherwise, you’re a creep.