There’s no easy way to break up with someone without leaving them in heartache. In addition, breakups can leave someone with a broken spirit — both you and the person you loved. So, if you don’t want to compromise your future love life, it’s important to learn how to break up with someone respectfully.
First of all: Do you really want to break up?
Now, before you move forward with your decision to break up with your partner, ask yourself this very important question: Are you sure about this?
Write down your reasons for why you feel that breaking up is necessary. As time passes, you cool down and forget why you were fed up enough to want to break up in the first place. Besides, some relationship problems can be fixed.
The point is to be sure about this move before you make it. Then, let your partner know as gently as possible. Remember: You’re not out to break your partner’s spirit.
1. Focus on the Golden Rule.
The key to breaking up with someone gently and ending a relationship the right way lies in The Golden Rule.
When we were kids, we all learned the Golden Rule of “treat others the way you want to be treated.” But during breakups, this rule tends to go right out of the window. Practicing the Golden Rule means recognizing the humanity of the person you’re ending a relationship with, whether it happens over the phone, in person, or through a text message.
Never dismiss the pain and heartbreak you may be causing someone by breaking up with them. At some point, someone could do the exact same thing to you.
2. Remember the E.L.K. method.
When going through a breakup, always remember the E.L.K. method — empathy, love, and kindness. Using this method lets your ex know that you still care about their feelings, even if breaking up hurts them at the moment.
3. Act decently and avoid treating your ex like a villain.
I know that as soon as we get it into our heads that we want to break up with someone, we instantly stop caring about that other person’s needs. They become the villain. Their needs no longer matter. But that shouldn’t be the case. This is not the time to be blunt or nasty.
So be straightforward, tactful, and quickly get to the point.
4. Break up in person.
Also, try to have this conversation in person. If you’ve been with this person for a while, you owe them the decency of a face-to-face conversation about breaking up.
They deserve to see you squirm uncomfortably as you tell them why you want to leave them — whether you still love them or not. They deserve to see your face turn red as you admit that things aren’t working out, that you’re on different paths. And they deserve to hear the cadences in your voice and read your body language as you tell them that you’re through.
You’ve broken their heart, so the least you can do is let them see how difficult this decision was for you.
5. Don’t play the “blame game.”
Talk to your partner. Be honest and tell them where you stand.
If your partner insists on knowing the reason for the breakup, mention that the relationship just isn’t working for you anymore. Or, you can mention that you two have grown apart.
Just avoid playing the blame game here.
6. Give your ex time to move out if you live together.
Lastly, if you two live together, give your partner as much time as they need to move out. Moving can be extremely expensive. That’s not a cost your partner was expecting to cough up anytime soon. So, be gracious enough to remember the dignity of your future ex.
If you both have obligations (like to a landlord), you can compromise on how to handle that best.
Just because the relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean you should wreck any chances of salvaging a friendship in the future with your new ex. And above all, be kind.