How to End a Relationship the Right Way

Breakups never feel good… on either end. I’ve been on the receiving end of some pretty spectacular breakups that included emails to let me know we were “taking a break,” drawn out “nothing’s wrong” until everything is wrong, and suckerpunch breakups without closure. I’m sure our TS readers have plenty of similar, if not worse, tales of woe when it comes to ending things. And I have to come clean, I’ve also been the dumper and acted dumb about how I went about things, either in an effort to spare my lover’s feelings or soften the blow – both of which mostly made things worse.

I think we can all agree, it’s never easy, and we could have done it better most of the time. Through my experience and talking to other serial daters, I’ve come up with some tips that will help you end things the right way.

1. Be Direct
Being as honest as you can will give you both as much closure as possible. Vague reasons for breaking up can make a person go crazy with hypotheticals. “I don’t think he liked this about me.” “If only I’d been more…” The longer you’ve been with a person, the more they deserve to know what really went wrong.

2. Use Discretion
Sometimes you don’t want to be and shouldn’t be 100% honest. If you think the information will help a person in relationships down the road (once they get over the hurt and anger they feel), then tell them why it isn’t working. If the information is something they can’t change or isn’t their responsibility (e.g. penis size, you hate their mother), then let it go. It’s never usually just one thing that ends a relationship… be gentle.

3. Do the Dirty Work
Sometimes people who are unhappy in relationships don’t want to be “the bad guy”, so they do things they know will lead to the other person ending things. Not cool. You don’t want to be with someone – let them go. Be as honest as you can to let you both move on to finding more compatible partners.

4. Make it a Clean Cut
Experience suggests that getting back with an ex is prolonging the the inevitable. Comfortability and the fear of hurting someone’s feelings are not good reasons to stay in a less-than-happy relationship. Yes, it will take time to heal for both partners, but you only come out stronger and healthier. There is always so much to learn from relationships that don’t work.

5. Moving On
I don’t believe in staying friends with ex-lovers. When I was younger this idealistic view seemed appealing. “I loved this person once, so why shouldn’t we be able to remain friends.” I’ve seen it work, but very, very rarely. More often than not it can create insecure and jealous feelings from new partners.

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