I was in the magazine store in Ponsonby yesterday, and somehow it’s always easy to lose track of time in there. I picked up the latest Frankie issue, and read an article on how to break up with someone nicely. It was about two months ago that I went through my first break up from a long term relationship. Someone close to me recently said that you never know if you might be with the person again someday or not, sometimes life is just that way. You might both realise that there is no one else that can make you feel that special way, or you might realise that there is someone who can. It’s a tricky thing, so I think I’ll leave that to God.
Be honest. If it’s going to happen, the best thing is to just be honest about how you feel and why you want to break up. The person would want to know why as well. By being honest, the person won’t feel (or at least not so deeply) like they’re left hanging and will always have a question mark at the back of their mind. Being honest gives a sense of closure.
Do it in person and privately. The worst thing is to break up over a message. Be respectful, and do it in person no matter how you think the person will react. A break up is never enjoyable and the person will likely feel emotional, but it’s better to do it in person and be there rather than take the easy way out. Doing it in person also resolves a lot more things, as messaging can sometimes blur meanings.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been together for several months or several years. Face to face is so important because body language and facial expression are only communicated in person. The person would likely want to see how the other person is feeling and be able to vocalise their words and feelings in person, rather than over a phone or email.
Timing is important. I’m not sure how to stress this enough. I don’t think there is ever a right or good time to break up with someone, but just making sure what day and what time is suitable is important. For example, if the person has events coming up in their life that require focus and they’re occupied (eg. exams, interviews etc.), it’s best to wait til afterwards.
Write a letter. This might not be for everyone, but I feel like writing comes from our heart. It allows a little insight into someone else’s thoughts and can be a way of releasing some things you had never said out loud. Writing is such a beautiful thing, because everything tends to be an instant message. Writing takes time.
Don’t try to be friends. At least not right after. There may still be feelings lingering there, and staying friends might cause those feelings to be confusing and create false intimacy. Give it a few months for both sides to work out how they really feel. This also gives time for one another to move on in their own lives, and decide whether this person should still be a part of your life.
Communicate. Writing that word makes me a little sad, because communication is one of the biggest reasons why a lot of relationships fall apart. Communicate how you’re feeling, but be sensitive. Say what you need to say. Always make sure that they are the first person to know. Be kind and respectful and don’t have any blame or judgment. There can often be things we don’t voice out loud, but sometimes it’s worse to hold it in.
I know that’s what people say—you’ll get over it. I’d say it, too. But I know it’s not true. Oh, you’ll be happy again, never fear. But you won’t forget. Every time you fall in love it will be because something in the man reminds you of him.—Betty Smith