The hard truth is: There’s no such thing as a perfect breakup.
The harder truth is this: Putting it off makes it worse. So without further ado, here are 3 guidelines for breakups. Use them wisely.
1. Keep It Classy
Never break up with someone in a way that embarrasses them. Do it alone, in person if possible, and over the phone if not. Do not, under any circumstances, do it over text. Avoid breaking up with them on a special day, like their birthday. Don’t try to be funny, not even to ease the tension. Keep it short; dragging it out only makes it worse.
Resist the urge to ghost them. Definitely don’t cheat. Don’t be a jerk so they’ll break up with you. They deserve better than that, and so do you.
The other person might get angry or cry. These reactions are their right as a human who is getting broken up with. Let it happen. You can’t control their reactions, and they can’t guilt you into staying together. If they start blaming you or accusing you, don’t reciprocate. You’ll likely say something you’ll regret. Simply excuse yourself. You broke up with them, so you don’t have to fight anymore.
2. Keep It Honest
You’ll be worried about hurting them, but hard truth heals faster than nice lies. Tell them how you’re feeling and what you want. If you never want to see them again, don’t say you still want to be friends.
Make it clear that you want to break up. Vague statements like, “I just need space, but I still love you,” only lead to messier breakups. Saying, “It’s not you, it’s me,” is a cliche and comes across as disingenuous. Same with: “We’re better as friends,” “You deserve better,” and “Whoever ends up with you is so lucky.” It might seem like those lines soften the blow, but they don’t. The other person will just wonder why they weren’t worth an original line.
Stick to the facts. If you’re unhappy in the relationship, say so, and feel free to leave it at that. You don’t have to justify your decision, and you don’t have to explain your way out of the relationship. If you want out, you can get out. No permission needed.
That said, feel free to answer their questions — and ask your own. This can be a helpful step for closure. A lot depends on your relationship and how safe you feel with the other person.
Be gracious about the good times. Thank them for anything they taught you. Let them know you appreciate the time you had together (if that is true).
Whatever you do, be clear about your expectations for the future. If you don’t want to see them again, say so. It seems harsh, but remember: False hope is worse than no hope.
3. Keep It.
You’re going to miss them. Your schedule will feel empty, and you might not know what to do with yourself when you normally would be hanging out with them. It’s natural to miss the snuggles, her dimples, or his laugh. When this happens, write about it in a journal, go for a run, call a friend, or watch a movie. Don’t send “I miss you” texts or like their posts. Unless you really and truly want to get back together, don’t reach out. It only strings them along.
If they keep reaching out to you in a romantic way, remind them once that you are broken up, and then ignore it. Ignore any flowers or calls you get from them. If it’s an emergency, let a mutual friend handle it. It takes willpower, but you can do it.
You don’t have to be friends with your ex. If you’ve decided to, then let them initiate the first contact. Hang out together in groups, especially at first. You’ll get little pangs of jealousy when you see them laughing with someone else. Let it go. The kindest thing you can do is let them move on. You willingly gave up your right as their number 1. Do your best to move on as well.
It’s hard to break up with someone. It’s also the most responsible thing to do if you want out of the relationship. Overall, think about how you would want to be broken up with, and let that be your guide.
Kate Merriman recently graduated with a BA in Communications. One time she accidentally joined a polka competition without signing up. Kate currently lives in Utah with her hot artist husband. Find her on Twitter @katejmerriman.