Query: “I need to end my romantic relationship...What is the nicest way to break-up with someone?”
Dear Achey-Breaky Heart,
This question is a tough one. Is there actually a nice way to break-up with someone? The person getting broken up with would probably protest, “NO!” But I do believe there are kinder styles that provide a higher likelihood of friendship afterward.
Let’s first discuss what you shouldn’t do when it comes to breaking it off when someone.
Don’t ghost them! If you normally respond within a reasonable amount of time to them via your phone, you cannot just stop responding all of a sudden. They will think something terrible has happened to you! This is just cruel and unusual punishment. It is not subtle, it is not going to get the message across and it definitely is soul-crushing. It makes the person think that you never cared about them at all. Fast forward and neither party will have any closure from the relationship.
You shouldn’t tell all your friends that you are going to be breaking up with your significant other before you actually do. Especially if they go to Whitworth. The news will spread incredibly fast and before you know it, the entire campus will have cast their judgments on your relationship before it has even ended. Also, you don’t want them to find out before you actually have the conversation. That would be mortifying! In the situation that you decide not to break-up, you need the least amount of people commenting on that decision. The fact is, people are opinionated and will let you know what they think if you announce the impending break-up. Trust only your favorite people and then in the aftermath leak the information slowly.
Do not come to the conversation undecided about how you feel. This will lead to a very long and confusing vortex of a conversation. I am the worst culprit of this. Any time I want to break-up with someone, I become the most indecisive person ever. This has just confused my significant other and eventually, they have to be the one to end it because I just couldn’t commit to a break-up...even though I had initiated it. Figure out your feelings before the conversation and then stand by them, unless your significant other proves otherwise.
These are the three biggest problems I have noticed when it comes to break-ups at Whitworth. There are some great things you can do before, during and after the break-up though. Here is an idea of what a healthy break-up could look like.
You can figure out your feelings beforehand, even write them down if that helps. Invite them over to a public place (one without any memories attached to it). In-person, tell them how you have been feeling and why you believe the relationship should end.
Allow them to process their feelings and then answer any questions they have as truthfully as possible. Tie up any loose ends and let them know that they can reach out if they need any more closure. Draw a boundary with communication. Tell them that they can text/call you if they want to, but you won’t be communicating as often for a while as you both heal.
Give them a hug and ask who they are going to process this with (make sure they have a trusted friend/family member to go to) and encourage them to do whatever it takes to move on. Afterward, grieve, take your mind off of it and allow yourself to grow during this transitional time.
It is going to be tough but it is better to call it off now than continuing a relationship that doesn’t bring you satisfaction.