Breaking Up a Relationship
Breaking up a relationship that has lasted for a long time is never going to be easy. At all times maintain your dignity and respect for yourself and for your former spouse, partner or lover (or whatever is your preferred term).
Emotions will be high when you break up but this is no excuse for abuse, violence, aggression or destructive behaviour.
The longer you have been in a loving relationship the greater the need to exercise care and consideration in choosing when and how you intend to break the news to your former partner.
Remember that you loved each other once ... and may still hold a deep affection.
Have the courage and decency to do it face-to-face and as soon as possible.
Don’t do it by telephone or email or worse still by text message or via a third person. To do that would be rubbing salt into the wound.
When breaking up a relationship do not spring it on the other person when you know it to be a critical time in the other person’s life such as the death of a close friend or relative or they are going through a particularly difficult time.
If at all possible, don’t do it on a birthday, anniversary or when they are about to leave town or for work or when you know that the news would cause maximum angst such as just before a big event.
Even nice people can eventually conclude that there has been a mismatch and the relationship must end; so be careful about laying blame.
Remember that it takes two to tango and some blame may lie with both parties and often it is simply poor communication such as a failure to respectfully express fears, preferences and disappointments.
Have you given the other person a fair chance to have their say? Have you understood what they are trying to convey before breaking up a relationship?
Communication can be tricky, especially listening to and understanding what is being said.
Are you breaking up a relationship in expectation of a problem? You need to discuss it first before you walk out on your partner.
If you believe that you are doing it for their own good; give them the opportunity to at least discuss it with you because it may not necessarily be what they want or need.
It’s okay to break up, but, be careful how you do it. It may never be easy for either of you, but try to minimise the hurt or damage you cause.
Give adequate reasons why you are ending the relationship. Be truthful and try to do it face to face.
Be supportive of each other after the split. Take calls unless you are being abused.
There may be stuff to return to each other. Be civil about it. Don’t use this as a means to hurt or antagonise your former partner.
Try to agree amicably about what property has to be returned and if necessary use an intermediary to hand over property if it cannot be just ‘left’ for the other party to find it.
Don’t just dump stuff in anger. It is not dignified.
Now is not the time to act the martyr.
Rules for the “Dumper”
Be kind. Look them in the eye and say sorry. Don’t use the coward’s way out.
Be very careful about how you convey bad news if it absolutely must be done on the telephone.
Don’t expect your ex-partner to continue to provide the benefits that you have just walked out on. You should have thought of that before you dumped them.
Rules for the “Dumpee”
Don’t cry over spilt milk. Accept it graciously and courageously. It’s tough - but don’t beg.
Get on with your life.
You will eventually get over it.
You will love again.
Don’t blame your ex-partner.
You may also be interested in...
Broken Engagement Etiquette
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