How To Break Up

If you’re in a relationship which you know is no longer what you want, and your ex feels the same way, breaking up can be simple. But generally things aren’t so simple: people stay in relationships because of the fear of hurting their ex-partner, or because they fear being alone, or because the thought of the pain that might follow separation is too great – any number of reasons, including, let’s not forget, the fact that you might be labelled by friends or family as the one responsible, the bad guy.

How to Break Up

Assuming you’ve read through some information on how to decide whether or not it’s time to break up, and you’re sure this is indeed your future path, the question is – how are you going to do it?

Start by remembering there are going to be consequences: these need to be thought about in advance, so you’re not going to be shocked when things take a turn for the worse. To start with, your friends and family may be on your side – but they may not be. And it’s almost certain that your partner’s friends and family won’t be. 

text your ex back
Interested in staying together? I don’t think so….

If you had a good relationship with them in the past, then that’s going to be painful, if you haven’t, then that might make their reaction even worse.

The general assumption is that the “dumper” (you initiated the break up) is the person who feels least – but this is far from true, because the person who initiated the breakup often feels more guilt, shame and fear than the person who’s being dumped.

In short, unless there are clear and obvious reasons why you’re separating and you’re one of the few couples who manage to reach some kind of mutual agreement about the way forward, the end of a relationship is almost always distressing.

Especially when one or other partner decides soon after that they want to know how to get their ex-boyfriend back, or they want to know how to get back with their ex-girlfriend.

Persistent attempts to win back an ex can verge on stalking – particularly when jealousy rears its ugly head. So if you’re already thinking “how do I get back with my ex” then think again – make sure that you know you want your relationship to end before you make the move.

You may know that breaking up is right - but it could still be hard.
You may know that breaking up is right – but it could still be hard to do (thanks, Neil).

And when the relationship does end, it’s useful to have support lined up for yourself. You can’t be responsible for your partner’s – or rather, your ex partner’s – feelings, but you can protect your own

And be ready for that ex-partner to move on and find someone else; if the thought of this gives you pain, do some personal work before you initiate the breakup (i.e. see a counselor!)

And also be aware that sometimes people breakup as an act of revenge – which often horrendously rebounds on the person who’s doing the dumping.
If you’re mature adults who are just living together or not even occupying the same space, then breaking up is probably easier than for a married couple who haven’t managed to save their marriage; they will have legal property and children’s rights to consider.

How To Dump Someone

Are we all in it together? NO! You're on your own.
Are we all in it together? NO! You’re on your own.

The best way to dump somebody is to be mature and honest about it. At least up to a point. So simply cutting someone out of your life with no explanation is a very underhand way of doing breaking up – and so is getting someone else to end the relationship on your behalf! (You wouldn’t do that, would you?)

Giving mixed messages about whether or not the relationship is really over when you mean to end it is a sign of your weakness rather than anything else.

And so is acting disinterested or dissatisfied, or trying to piss your partner off so much they decide to dump you and make YOU the ex lover.

You wouldn’t perhaps believe some of the strategies people employ to end a relationship: it’s even been known for people to cheat on their partner in the hope that the partner will find out and the relationship. Warning: The previous link is a Cosmo spoof. Try this instead, if you’re a man. If you’re a woman, try this.

How to get your ex back
While you may feel delighted to be free, be ready for deep feelings of remorse, guilt, sadness and shame after you turn your beloved into and ex partner.

And continuing to have sex or be intimate with partner after announcing that you want to separate is pretty mean-spirited as well.

Your partner may think it’s a sign of your love and it means you’ll stay together after all. Not a good idea if you are set on a break up.

How To End A Relationship

Are you clear about why you want to end your relationship? Are you clear about what you want next? The more specific and clear you are, the better the chance your partner has of understanding what you’re doing.

Being a decent person, you won’t want to be unkind or blame them – this is your decision, and you need to take responsibility for it.

You need to tell your partner in person exactly why the relationship isn’t working for you, and you can express your feelings of regret and sadness, but anything else – perhaps with the exception of the appreciation of joy – is really off-limits.

Your partner is probably going to be very shocked, obviously if they haven’t felt it coming they’re going to be devastated (potentially… they might be delighted, of course): in which case you need to have some clear answers to the questions they’re likely to ask.

You need to be ready for them to refuse to accept the reality of the breakup. They may think you (or they) can change in response to the trauma of separation; it’s a very common reaction amongst people who are dedicated to saving the marriage or relationship.

The important thing is to take responsibility and to focus on how you feel rather than to list the faults of your partner in a way that suggests you’re criticizing them or blaming them.

Love makes the world go around - there are more people to meet than you could ever imagine.
Love makes the world go around – there are more people to meet than you could ever imagine.

And trying to engage them in some kind of emotional game where they tell you how sorry they are for your sadness is definitely an underhand and manipulative technique.

Of course your ex-partner may agree with you – that breaking up is the best thing for all concerned. (Be prepared for it. You never know.)

So there are a lot of possible reactions here. But keep in mind, when you tell somebody the relationship’s over (and why that’s best for you), you might also want to tell them what you’re going to do next. And on the other hand, depending on how they react, you might feel that you want to keep that information and any future cantact at arm’s length on a legal basis.

(You may find it helpful to decide in advance whether you want a clean break or you’re happy to have a “no-contact” period of time after which you can talk to each other as mature human beings.)

We all know there’s pain after a breakup, whether we were the dumper or the dumped. What can you do about that? Well, you may feel better if you spend some time with your friends or family. Keep in mind it’s very normal to wonder how your ex-partner is getting along, what they’re doing, and to work out strategies about how you might get him back, or how you might get her back. But getting back with an ex is something you need to consider very carefully before you do it. 

Wanting the good times and the closeness and the affection you felt for each other is not a sufficient reason for getting back together with your ex. If you’re responsible for initiating the breakup you must have done this for a very good reason, and presumably those reasons still apply. Those are the issues which need to change.

Above all, you can use any time you have to yourself after a breakup to realign your own life, find new interests, move on, and to experience your own emotional growth to the full.