We’ve all been there. Your once dynamic and fun relationship has faded to a dull, listless obligatory chore. Whether you both are aware of the inevitable and impending split or if your partner is calmly rowing down a river in Egypt, it’s time to get this done. But how do you sever ties without crushing your once-beloved? There is no easy answer, but here we have collected a few of the more tried and true methods for separating with mutual respect and consideration.
Location & Date (…to no longer Date)
Choose the right locale and time. This may seem fairly obvious, but some individuals may become angered and, in the heat of the moment, break up with someone during an important time/date in their partner’s life. Clearly birthdays, major holidays and other key life events are taboo. You don’t want your future ex dredging up the awful memory of your break-up every time they see a plump and delicious Thanksgiving turkey, do you? While not wanting to pick the wrong time to break things off can be an invaluable tool for chronic break-up-procrastinators, there will always be appropriate windows to choose from. Just pick the right time and strike with precision.
By the same token, you don’t want to do it in a place that they associate with something special or positive (their parent’s home, their place of worship, their favorite Chuck E. Cheese, etc.) Just choose a nice, neutral, bland spot and get it over with. Hopefully this will help make the event as non-memorable as humanly possible.
Some Privacy, Please
While it may be all too tempting to want to execute the break up in a public place, with the goal of mitigating the emotional outpouring of the break-up-ee, this is a bad idea. Trying to control their emotional state by enforcing societal restrictions on them may only make matters worse; meaning, they could become even more upset and make a real scene (screaming, glass throwing, hair pulling/extraction). Just find a simple, quiet, private place and deliver the bad news. This way they can express their feelings honestly without having to worry about looking like a fool to others or having to try to suppress their sadness.
Face to face
Surely your once-adored sweetie deserves some face time (and no, not the “Face Time” app) for this occasion. Be a grown-up, look them in the eyes and give it to ‘em straight. This actually helps give both of you some closure. If your relationship is still on the very green side, then a heartfelt phone call may suffice (but never, ever, ever a text – this is the message delivery equivalent of saying “You’re as valuable to me as a tweet about Trump.”)
The Truth Hurts…but is appreciated.
In trying to spare someone’s feelings, the go-to move is to concoct a host of reasons why the relationship failed that you personally deem ‘not that damaging.’ While certain hurtful things are unnecessary and can be omitted (“It’s true: you really did look fat in those pants”), the crux of your decision to break-up with them must be plainly shared. If you come up with some elaborate lie about how you need to move to Iceland, the truth will inevitably come back to them, and subsequently you. You’re not sparing them anything by fibbing; you’re only causing them to question things that are difficult or impossible to comprehend. If you are honest, then they can assess the situation for what it really is, and this will help them (and you) move on in a mature and healthy way.
Poker Face (no, don’t ‘poke her/his face,’ just remain calm)
A common reaction people undergo when being broken up with is not only sadness but unbridled anger. If this should be the scenario you find yourself in, just keep your own emotions in check. Don’t fight back, just try to really listen to them. Let them get whatever is driving them mad in the moment off their chest. They will eventually lose steam and the storm will pass. If you stay sympathetic during this period, the end result can be that you may actually part civilly. However, don’t try to push for an immediate friendship (if that’s not coming organically). Obviously many people need a healing/adjustment period if this is ever going to be the case.