I am not a big fan of telling people what to do. However in this case, so many of my clients are being persistent on how to correctly break up with someone. And while I don’t think there is a correct way (or one size fits all) to end a relationship, I do believe there is some basic etiquette that should be extended. I also believe that there are some steps that would benefit you as well. So without further ado, here are my top tips and recommendations.
1. Be as kind as you can about it. Relationships end and sometimes they will end badly. But do you know what doesn’t help? Trying to get even with the person you are breaking up with. The more energy you put into the break up, the more time you’re taking away from your healing process. It doesn’t matter if you initiate the break up, or your partner does. Healing is going to need to take place. Don’t be mean. Simply move on.
2. Whenever possible, break up in person. First of all it’s the mature thing to do. But secondly, many times text or emails can be misinterpreted. Having a conversation in real time removes any guess work. Feedback is immediate, and the non verbal communication will confirm it.
3. Don’t update your social media status as “Single” or “It’s complicated” before having the break up conversation. (See rule 1.) That’s not being kind or compassionate to someone who has meant so much to you.
Self love sets the tone for new love.
4. Don’t line up your next relationship before ending your current one. In fact, I feel that one should take a few month break in between relationships. Give yourself some time to do some self evaluation. Process what you went though. Show yourself the love that you feel you didn’t get from your past relationship. Self love sets the tone for new love. It also teaches people how to love us.
5. Don’t bad mouth your ex to your mutual friends. Keep it classy. Even if they break up with you and you are hurting, focus on what’s ahead of you, not what is gone. If you’re trashing your ex, you’ll have a hard time moving forward. Also, you may just put off that someone who maybe interested in you.
Break ups are never fun, and are rarely easy. For that reason, a lot of people stay in unhealthy relationships longer than they probably should. So when is the right time to break up? Depends on who you ask I guess. But I can tell you that any sort of abuse is grounds to leave immediately. I’m not talking about having an argument and your partner called you a harsh name. I’m talking about having an argument and literally feeling unsafe. That feeling is something that we need to pay attention to. But what about if you don’t have that feeling and you are questioning leaving? If you’re newly questioning it, you need to ask why? If you’ve been asking yourself why for awhile now, you probably already have your answer. Not in all cases. But in most.
Life doesn’t come with instructions. Sometimes life isn’t fair. There are going to be times when we second guess ourselves. I think the key to it all is to honor yourself. Understanding that sometimes pain is part of the process. But the real key is what are we going to do with that pain? Are we going to settle. Or, are we going to affirm that we deserve better and work for it. Because at the end of the day, a relationship will only make you as happy as you decide to be. And if you’re not happy, consider the 5 rules and move on.