Is there a right way to break up?

Don't string them along!

28 November, 2023
Is there a right way to break up?

If breaking up with someone were an easy thing to do, it would not give someone crippling anxiety. And we’re here to tell you that whether it’s been five weeks or five years, it’s okay to want to leave a relationship that is no longer serving you. However, the aim of this article isn’t to tell you how to break up with someone. That is easy and straightforward. It is to tell you how to exit a relationship without leaving behind a steaming pile of crap in your wake. It’s not an easy feat but sometimes, even breaking up requires you to put in that extra effort. 

The fact of the matter is that just like there is no perfect relationship, there is no perfect break-up. So, if you’re in the dumper (I hate this word) position, all you can do is make it as soft a landing as possible for your partner. We’ve listed down a few points on how you can do just that. Make sure you practice what you're going to say beforehand. 

Ensure you really want to break up  

Before you close the door on a relationship (no matter how casual), ensure it’s what you want. Give it some thought and identify the real problem. Try communicating your unhappiness to your partner. If both of you seem to come up empty-handed in the solution department, then it might be time to take the final step. It is not something you say in the middle of a fight in white-hot rage and walk out leaving your partner riddled with anxiety and sorrow. If you’re looking to exit a relationship, be 200 per cent sure and give them some heads-up. Unless the reason is an absolute deal-breaker like infidelity; but even that situation warrants a conversation (at least) for some closure. 

While it’s perfectly okay to walk out of a relationship that isn’t right for you, a break-up can be traumatising. If not handled correctly, it can deeply scar someone, leaving them riddled with trust and abandonment issues. So, if you’re in the ‘dumper’ position, show some empathy.  

Do it face-to-face  

In a world of texts and video calls, respect your partner enough to break up with them in person. We get it, the thought of dropping them a text and hoping they get the message is tempting but don’t be Courage the Cowardly Dog. Breaking up face-to-face shows that you care about the other even though the relationship isn’t working. However, ignore this point if you are afraid for your safety. Ultimately, that comes first.  

Use “I” statements  

It’s advisable to use statements that don’t sound like you’re playing the blame game. One good way to do this is to consciously use ‘I’ statements. For instance, instead of saying “You don’t spend enough time with me” say “I felt hurt when you cancelled our dinner last week”. This way, they don’t feel attacked and will be able to hear you out without getting defensive or agitated. 

Don’t string them along   

Do you remember the episode of FRIENDS where Chandler (*cries a little internally*) tries to break up with Rachel’s boss but ends up saying ‘I’ll call you’ every time? Don’t do that. Be clear about how you feel and why you want to split and close the matter no matter how hard it is. It’s very cruel and unfair to leave loose ends and give your partner false hopes just because it’s easy for you.  

Accept that you can’t control their reaction   

Just because you’ve followed all these steps and broken up with someone gracefully, there is no telling how they will react. All you can do is state your points and mentally prepare yourself for them to rage out, break down or take it just as gracefully. You can only control how you give them the message not how it will be received, and that is okay because they are entitled to their own feelings as well.