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How To Break Up with Someone Gracefully

Couple Breaking Up

5 Tips for Breaking Up Gracefully, Learned Through Too Much Damn Experience.

Another year, another breakup. That’s been my story, at least since the turn of the decade and there were many more before that too. However this isn’t a post about my breakups, but about the ways you can get through yours with less drama and more caring.

1. Always have the decency to break up in person.

This gives your soon-to-be-ex a chance to ask questions, cry on your shoulder, slap you across the face (hopefully not), beg, plead, and hopefully accept your reasons, IN PERSON. Doing the deed face to face shows the person that you respect them. Although that may seem like little consolation, being broken up with over text is…  the worst. Don’t do that to anyone, unless you’re only 1-3 dates in with someone you met online. Right?

2. Location, location, location.

Where you choose to end the relationship is more important than you think. Sometimes the timing of your breakup will come about spontaneously as the the perfect moment drops into your lap, but usually you just have to face the music and make it happen. My advice is to do it on their turf if possible, for two reasons:

1. After the obligatory half-hour discussion and reassurance you can leave, by yourself. At your place they may never leave, and you sure as hell won’t want to ask them to.

2. Dragging someone out into public before breaking their heart is cruel. They have to fight crying in public and resist the urge to yell at you, which inhibits possible cathartic moments! Or worse, they don’t resist the urges and you have yourself a full-on shit show at your once-favorite restaurant.

What’s left? Their place, or somewhere close by.

3. Timing. It’s not always a good time for a bad time.

Don’t break up with someone the night before their ballet exam. Don’t break up with someone when you’re on vacation together. Don’t break up with someone at a rest-stop in Northern Quebec. Try to break up BEFORE you’ve set the wedding date. For sure don’t break up late at night or ain’t nobody’ll be sleeping for the next 24 hours. Eat a good lunch on your own, then call the person and tell them you need to talk. Sit down on the couch beside them to deliver your sober message.

4. Be honest, but don’t be an asshole.

You may feel it best to spare your lover-no-more’s feelings by softening or not telling them your real reasons for letting go, but tread carefully. For one, this comes back to respect, and trusting that the two of you are mature enough to have an honest parting. I recommend as much honesty as you can muster without being unncessesarily hurtful. There is no need to detail every thing about them that annoys you or how you wish they had cooler friends.

When the breakup conversation is finished you want them to have no doubt that the relationship is over, but also no doubt as to the reasons why. If you are filling their head with little white lies then the story might not ring true. In this case they’ll keep coming back to you, insisting you tell them the real WHY.

5. Be firm. The cleaner the break the better.

This one is a must. If you KNOW that you no longer want to be with them, it is kinder to be firm about “this is the end”, than to waffle and waver. Maybe life WILL bring you together again, but at this moment you need to be clear about your decision. If you KNOW, then don’t suggest a “break”, don’t tell them you’re “not ready”, don’t give them false hope! It may seem unkind, but this way you are taking away doubt and giving them the gift of closure. Let them move on without keeping you on a back burner.

Now celebrate inwardly. You’re free!

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