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September 27, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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How to break up with someone

So, you want to end your relationship. As complicated as it must seem, that sentence nicely summarises how to treat the situation—don’t make it any more complex than it needs to be.

Before approaching your partner, turn off your “how will they take it?” filter. Your partner is a human being, with thoughts and feelings, and they will spend weeks dissecting these next few days. You felt they were special enough to enter into a relationship with, don’t demonise them. But this is your breakup—own it. How do you feel? Why do you want it? Give yourself a pep talk. You’ve made your decision, but nobody should know about this until you have done the deed. It’s only fair.

How can you ensure they know that this breakup is final? Evaluate your reasons and think over which will be rubbished/misunderstood/ignored. Do you have a compelling reason which will make them sit back and agree that your relationship wasn’t cupcakes and rainbows for you? Use that; avoid listing or drawing them into an argument. Think about the words and phrases you want to use.

Organise to meet them, but don’t use the “we need to talk” line. Think about logistics: At your place, and potentially have to kick them out? In public, so they don’t make a scene (this is cruel)? At their house, so you can recover your stuff in one fell swoop? Think about timing. Allow an hour for the breakup. Ensure they know you have to leave at x time, and see if you can ensure they have a few hours to recover alone. But, if you know you’ll end up skipping your appointment, make sure they have to be somewhere an hour after you meet, so you don’t draw it out.

Meet them. Blurt it out as quickly as possible so you don’t lose your nerve. They will argue, get upset, they may shout and become abusive. Justifiably! You are a catch and they just lost you. Stick to your guns. Don’t lie, as it can bite you later. Don’t get drawn into an argument. This is about YOU. DON’T make promises about being friends, and DON’T physically comfort them. Physical contact will make it harder for everyone, so be physically distant, emotionally present, but not upset—or they may get hopes of a reunion. Explain gently, calmly, and clearly. Keep your cool. Let them blow a bit of steam about why you sucked as a partner. Say something along the lines of, “look, I have to go to [important appointment]. Thank you for sharing part of your life with me,” or similar, with no promises to keep talking later.

Now cut contact for at least a month. Spend your time thinking about how this relationship will improve your next one, and learn from your mistakes. Think about yourself, not them, and not the next potential relationship. No texts, Facebook, emails, talking to their friends about them. Delete them as a friend on Facebook and avoid hearing about them. Avoid sex or starting a new relationship for at least two weeks. And no breakup sex. Ease into being a romantic/sexual being again. And get on with your life.

If you have a story, I’d love to hear it. Letters page, buddy. <3

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