This article was written by our Date Coach Suki Yee in Malaysia. Malaysians may call +603 22828310 to book an appointment. For help in finding the love that you deserve, click here.
Recently, I talked to a girl friend who confided in me about her plans to break up with her boyfriend. It was a relationship of 7 years, and due to various factors, she felt they were better off apart.
Still, she didn’t know how to break up with him. While she no longer saw a future together with him, it was still 7 years of their lives together. She didn’t want to hurt the man who was her first and only boyfriend so far.
“I have no experience breaking up with someone,” she admitted, “and it’s not like there is a tried-and-tested guidebook to study on how to have a painless breakup.”
That is true.
There are no fixed rules for breaking up with someone, because every relationship is different. However you choose to break up, breakups tend to be traumatizing and awful events where one or both people are left crying and feeling bitter.
While break ups are never easy, break ups can be made relatively more painless if done the right way. After hearing my fair share of breakup stories and going through heartbreak myself, here are 5 key takeaways I’ve learned for having a more painless breakup process.
1. Be Firm and Clear About Your Intentions to Break Up
Recognising that your relationship is coming to an end is important, and you must truly acknowledge it yourself.
When you realise that there is no future for your relationship and you cannot see yourself changing your mind, your next natural step is to make the decision to break up and set both parties free.
Being stuck in an unwanted relationship is unhealthy and torturing, both for the one who wants to break up, and the other who may have no idea. Don’t waste anybody’s time, and get your break up over with.
Tell your partner that you need to have a talk with them, and do it in a private place where you will not be easily overheard. While it is advisable to respect the relationship and do it in person, you can also do it over the phone if it pains you to be in their presence.
Make sure you use the words “I want to break up with you” clearly. There’s nothing worse than ending things ambiguously, causing the other party to have hope that the romance will be rekindled if only they tried.
Remember, sentences like “taking a break”, “let’s spend some time apart”, “let’s see someone else”, and “I think we should stop seeing each other for a while” may seem kinder, but they are actually cruel if you have no intention of getting back together with your partner.
2. Provide Substantial and Logical Reasons for The Breakup
In order for both you and your partner to have real closure for the end of the relationship, you will need to have real, solid reasons for why you should not continue the relationship any longer.
If the reasons you want to break up sound vague and confusing to your partner, they may assume that you are just shutting them out temporarily, and they will try to change your mind.
For example, telling your partner you just need time alone or that you are sick of being in a relationship will make them think that they will have a chance to try again after some time has passed.
However, if you tell them that you feel like your values/goals/personalities aren’t aligned with each other (and have evidence your feelings are warranted!), they may be more likely to agree with you that a break up is the right decision for the both of you.
3. Share with Them About What You Gained from The Relationship
After spending so much time with each other, you probably learnt a thing or two about yourself and your views on relationships from them. Tell your partner about it. Here are some examples for your consideration:
1. “You really helped me realize how much I value *one of their positive character traits* in a relationship. And I wouldn’t have realized that if not for our time together.”
2. “You taught me the importance of *one of their positive character traits* and I’m really glad that our time together had help to embed this trait in me.”
This will help both you and your partner feel your relationship was not a complete waste of time, and that you were put in each other’s path for a reason. Even if you cannot walk that path together for long, this shows that you value your partner enough to have given your breakup much thought.
4. Clarify Your Partner’s Doubts as Calmly as You Can
When you break up with someone, they are going to have a lot of questions. It’s a life changing moment for them too!
Do answer their questions as truthfully as possible, which may include:
“How long have you been thinking about this?”
“Is there someone else that you are seeing?”
“Are you feeling stressed about your life situation, and you want to push me away?”
“Is there anything I can do to change your mind?”
“Don’t you think we can still work through this?”
If you avoid answering the questions during the breakup, your (now) ex may not be able to get the complete closure he/she needs.
However, don’t feel that you need to answer every question they ask (especially if it’s been a while after your breakup), or give them a fake answer.
5. Don’t Contact Them After You Break Up
Regardless of how long the relationship was, do hold off on communicating with them for at least a few months. Give yourself and your partner some space.
While some people believe that exes can be friends after they have broken up, this is probably only possible after a significant amount of time. Remember to give yourself and your ex the space to heal.
Sometimes, you need to be cruel to be kind. Let them know you are cutting them off completely for a while, and then start the purge. This includes deleting your ex from your phone, unfriending each other on Facebook, removing all their photos from your sight, and just simply getting them out of your mental sphere.
One day, when both parties have fully moved on and won’t feel any negative feelings about the other, you may reconnect and look back at how much you have grown since your breakup.
No one gets into a relationship, thinking that it will end one day.
However, when the time comes, I hope that these 5 tips can help you can do the right thing and end things in the most painless way possible.
If you need a little more guidance in your dating life, feel free to speak to a date coach in your country here – they will be more than happy to assist you.