Remember the first time you glared at each other’s eyes and felt the spark? You once shared passionate kisses and intimate moments under the dim light. You once enjoyed each other’s company. You once shared the same dreams and hopes for the future.
But that was yesterday. Today’s a different story.
People change. People refuse to change. The hands you used to touch aren’t the same hands anymore. The kisses have become bland. The words “I love you” have lost their meaning. The arguments that were intended to resolve conflicts have remained pointless arguments. Or worse, the arguments have stopped because there’s nothing worth fighting for anymore. No, no one’s cheating, but you feel like the game has long been over.
Let’s cut to the chase – you’ve decided to end a long-term attachment but you want to approach the breakup in the most non-threatening way possible. Real talk – there’s no less painful way to end affairs. It may be full of drama and resentment, especially when you both loved each other deeply. But if you have to end it and break somebody’s heart, at least spare each other’s dignity. You can always choose to come clean with utmost class, integrity and respect, which makes it easier for the both of you to recover.
1. Take full responsibility
When you initiate the breakup, you should take full responsibility for it no matter how great his shortcomings are. No buts. No pointing fingers. No “you should be the one doing this.” Now isn’t the time for setting up the sense that the other person is to blame. In fact, you won’t call for a breakup if you didn’t recognize that your feelings have also changed or your lives are going in opposite directions.
And don’t wait for him to reconsider your decision. One “no” is enough to prove that you’re not in the same boat anymore – and that one of you is ready to let go and move on.
2. Do it face to face
Unless you’re in an LDR, ending your affair through text, phone call, e-mail, or video call can be insulting. While it’s the most convenient way to end a relationship, it demonstrates cowardice and lack of candor.
Breaking up face to face signifies sincerity. You’re able to communicate through eye contact and gestures and embrace each other’s vulnerability, which implies that you dignify him and your past relationship.
3. Choose the perfect setting
Why do most couples break up in a public place, like in a park or a restaurant? Perhaps it allows them to contain their emotions and avoid hurting each other and make a scene.
If you think your conversation will end up peacefully (with no broken plates or violent screams and wailings involved), doing it in a private place is perfect. The quiet dead air allows you to talk and listen effectively. And please, try to dress classy.
4. Don’t come unprepared
Sure, you have a clear understanding of why you’re breaking up. I guess you haven’t slept for a couple of nights thinking about it. When you have to deliver the bad news, you should be aware of what you’re going to say. If you must keep a cue card or rehearse your delivery, do so.
If you come unprepared, your emotions will scatter all over the place. Instead of having a clean conversation, you might end up dredging up old issues, debating about who did what, saying the things you didn’t intend to, or giving in when your partner tries to win you back, which are the last things you’d want to happen.
5. Come clean without salvaging your partner’s self-respect
Mention a few factors that led to your decision – like the lack of time, attention, and interest – but try not to have the tone implying these are all because of him. It takes two people to build (and wreck) a relationship.
The message you want to come across is “you’re not the one I’m looking for,” and not, “you’re the worst and I regret dating you.” Remember that you have to consider the other person’s self-esteem so it would be possible for them to have another successful relationship.
Keep it short and straight to the point, but let every word come from the heart.
6. Avoid generic, cliched explanations
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
“I have to find myself.”
And my favorite: “If we’re meant to be, fate will lead us back to each other.”
Your partner deserves to hear a genuine reason for why things aren’t working, not overused lines from romantic movies.
7. Recall the good things
Breaking up doesn’t mean you have to magnify all the ugly parts of the relationship.
One way to ease the tension is to recall the good times you’ve shared as well as the lessons you have learned throughout the course of the relationship. Compliment him. Acknowledge his desirable traits. Let him know you appreciate the things he did to work things out. Recognize how much you have grown as individuals.
There must be something good and worth reminiscing in your relationship before you finally put an end to your story.
8. If you have to end it, end it
Honest opinion: Never ever say “let’s stay friends.” Don’t be open to “ex with benefits” either.
Have a clean breakup – the one that has a big, bold and black period to it. The idea of having any form of future reconciliation may ease the pain or take away the guilt for now but it will hinder both parties from moving on. Say sorry, say thank you, and say goodbye.
Abstain from communicating with him or even seeing the strands of his hair, or sniffing the scent of his perfume. Unfriend or block him on social media. Delete your conversation thread. Burn all the pictures. Throw out the cards and letters. Donate the stuffed toys to an orphanage.
9. Don’t talk shit about your ex (and try not to stalk)
Post breakup – your friends may say trashy stuff about your ex (and his new gf), adding up to the drama. It’s normal, but don’t try to demonize him more. In doing so, you’re allowing the thought of him to linger around your head.
10. Don’t leave the book open-ended
Your relationship is a well-written story with dynamic characters. It may not have a happy ending but it should have a resolution.
Behind the refined manner of handling things, are tears, burgers and beers, and sad playlists that’ll help you cope with the loss. But it’s best to let the pain be felt. Let it hurt you. Let it surround you and make you cry until it loses its power over you. Until you’re able to see the better side of things and start over again.
Then close the book, so you can start writing a new story alone or with someone else.