3 Tips For Breaking Up Without Breaking Down

tips for breaking up without breaking down

The act of breaking up is hard, no matter what the circumstances may be. But if you think that breaking up is probably the right decision, then you can do it in a positive and healthy way by keeping a few things in mind.

The thought has been on your mind for the longest time. In fact, it badgers you, pushing its way into your consciousness at the oddest moments. It acts like an uninvited and unwelcome house guest.

And the message is always the same. “Maybe I should just admit that our relationship is a shipwreck? It will never work out. I need to stop kidding myself and just bring this thing to an end so we can both move on… but how?”

I hear you. Nearly everyone has been there at some point in their dating life.

One of the things that can cause us to stay in a relationship longer than is healthy is not knowing how to bring it to a close once we know it is over. It’s a challenge figuring out how to part ways without hurting the person we once loved and still care about.

Paralyzed by this confusion the person remains silent, and the relationship stumbles along with the steadiness of a frat boy coming home from a keg party. The relationship has no clear direction. The joy and passion that had been present every day are now a thing of the past.

Related: How To End An Affair With A Married Man​ For Good

That, my friend, is not only a miserable way to live but a recipe for a bad ending to your romance. If you’ve done your best to make the relationship work and it is still a mess, then it’s time to say adios. Hasta la vista. Sayonara. You get the point.

Tough love for sure, yet in the end, this will work out to be best for you and your former love interest. But how can it be done? How do you bring things to a close in a way that is respectful, conveys goodwill, and does not hurt the other person?

Here is the answer. You can’t. You can have two out of three, but not the whole enchilada. Respect and goodwill? OK, sure, those can (and normally should) be expressed when ending a relationship.

Lack of pain? Not going to happen.

Breakups hurt. There is loss, grief, and at times self-doubt. You cannot avoid these feelings, but you can minimize them.

What’s more, you can break up in a way that is likely to cause both you and your partner to eventually look back on the relationship with fondness rather than bitter regrets. That’s a huge win in the long run.

So now that I’ve told you the bad news, let’s move on to the good news and examine three principles, or tips, that make for a successful break-up.

3 Tips For Breaking Up Without Breaking Down

Tip #1: Timing Matters.

Choose an appropriate time to tell your partner that the relationship is over. This is an important conversation that deserves a little planning.

Far too many people get cold feet and then delay having this difficult talk. What happens then is that pressure builds until they can no longer hold it in. This makes for horrible timing.

Instead, look for a moment when you will both be unrushed and uninterrupted. Turn off your phones, the television, and the microwave (OK, you can leave the microwave on, but the others have to go).

Count on this taking a while. In fact, count on it taking longer than you expect. Also, don’t let the conversation become one where you bargain, belittle, or plead. No matter what your boyfriend or girlfriend may say, don’t get sucked into a verbal struggle. Your goal is to be clear about your intentions and answer their questions as kindly and honestly as you can. End of story.

Related: 8 Signs You’re Not Meant For Each Other

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Forrest Talley Ph.D.

Forrest Talley, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Folsom California. Prior to opening this practice, he spent 21 years working at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. During that time he supervised MFT and SW interns, psychology interns, and medical residents. In addition, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UCDMC. He worked in several capacities at the UCDMC CAARE Center. These include Co-Training Director of the APA approved psychology internship program, the Individual and Group Therapy Manager, primary supervisor for interns and staff, and the main supplier of bagels/cream cheese for all souls at the UCDMC CAARE Center.View Author posts