Reading about all of these celebrity couples who have been breaking up recently made me remember the break ups that I went through. After thinking about it for a moment, I realized that breaking up with someone when they haven’t done anything to hurt you, such as cheating on you or mistreating you, is way different than breaking up with someone who has done either one of those things. I also realized that being the one having to end the relationship with someone who has mistreated you or cheated on you when you loved them very much is just as devastating (if not more so) than when being on the receiving end of a break up.
Which one of these two types of break ups was the most difficult for you to go through? (If you never had to break up with someone in either one of these circumstances, count yourself extremely lucky.)
When you broke up with that person, did you do it in a kind and caring manner to spare their heart – or did you have to do it in a cold and abrupt way so that they got your message loud and clear? Sometimes doing the latter is necessary; but in my opinion, doing the former is a more humane way and it’s better for their heart – and yours. If you were on the receiving end of a break up, did they do it in a compassionate way or were they cruel and disrespectful about it?
In my personal experience, I’ve had to go through both types of those kinds of break ups. I’ve had to break up with a guy who treated me well and that I was in love with, but I knew our relationship wasn’t going to progress because he was too scared to commit and to allow himself to be emotionally naked with me. Then, many years later, I had to break up with a guy that loved me (in the best way he knew how), who I loved very much and with whom I spent very many happy and loving years together…but towards the end, he began mistreating me verbally and emotionally. Both of those break ups hurt in their own way and were very difficult for me to see through to the end — but, it had to be done.
These are 8 ways that I think a break up should go, from start to finish:
1.) Break up with them in person.
There’s nothing worse (or more immature) than ending a relationship with someone via text, by ‘ghosting’ them or by changing your social media status to ‘single’ without talking to them first. It’s better for both people involved to break up while being right in front of each other; to provide closure, to answer any questions that either one of you may want or need to ask, and as a means of respect to the other person. Not only that – but by breaking up with them in person and letting them hear you say those words with your voice inflection while seeing your body language and facial expressions, there won’t be room for any misinterpretations on their part about what you’re telling them. Breaking up with someone in any other way leaves way too much room for assumptions, mixed signals and misunderstandings.
2.) Be mature about it and show compassion and respect for them.
Just because you realize that they aren’t a good fit in your life or they’re not relationship-material, that doesn’t mean you have to be cruel or cold while ending things. Show them the same maturity, compassion and respect that you know you would want to be shown if the reverse was happening. You loved them and cared for them once, right? Well then, you can be compassionate and caring towards them right up to the end. No need to hurt their feelings even more or to shred their heart any further. Speak in a calm and respectful tone when breaking up with them, even if they don’t reciprocate. In time they will appreciate it; and in turn, you’ll feel better for doing it that way.
3.) Don’t initiate a fight just to get the other person to break up with you.
Yes, breaking up is hard to do. But, when it has to be done, part of being an intelligent and mature adult is to be upfront and be brave enough to break up with them directly. Starting a fight, constantly arguing with them or acting in a disrespectful and cruel manner towards them so that they have no other choice but to break up with you is a very cowardly way to end your relationship with them.
4.) Keep the break up (and the reason for it) short and simple.
Even if you feel justified in doing so, there’s really no point in you telling them ALL of the reasons why you’re breaking up with them. Keep it simple by telling them the main reason(s) why you want to end the relationship without insulting them or becoming hostile. If they have a few questions that they want or need answered, do so in a manner that is genuine and respectful. However, if they have a litany of questions that seem to be endless, then you’ll need to end the conversation, say goodbye and good luck and walk away. Allowing them to steer the break up conversation in the direction of them hashing out the aspects of the relationship that they feel can be ‘fixed’ or that they shouldn’t be blamed for will only drag out the inevitable.
5.) Allow yourself enough time to grieve over the ending of your relationship.
Breaking up with someone can be just as emotionally painful as when you’re on the receiving end of it. Having to end a relationship when you still love and/or care for that person is absolutely gut wrenching – and it can take a long time for your heart to heal from that. Give yourself time to grieve…a lot of it. The ending of a long term relationship in which there was true love or deep caring for someone is similar to the emotions that one experiences with the death of a marriage or a friendship – because you know in your heart that you’ll never see this person again, nor will you ever be as physically and emotionally close to them as you once was…and that this is permanent. Don’t even entertain the notion of dating or contemplate entering into another relationship with someone until you know for sure that you’ve healed enough emotionally. Rebound relationships never work out, and it isn’t fair to the other person who thinks you’re in it 100% when you’re really not.
6.) Don’t blather on social media about your break up.
This is something private that should stay that way; at least initially. Changing your status to ‘single’ or ‘not in a relationship’ is one thing – but badmouthing your ex on Facebook or posting things directly addressed to them on social media that should be said to them in person and in private is very bad form…and it isn’t respectful or mature either. If you must let out pent up frustrations, resentment, sadness or anger about your ex and about the break up, confide in family and friends or start a journal and stay OFF of social media. Once your heart heals and you’re in a better place emotionally, then you can post a mature and factual status about the ending of your relationship – but only if you truly feel that it’s necessary to let all 580 of your Facebook ‘friends’ know about it.
7.) Realize that being on the receiving end of the break up will still be heartbreaking to the other person, no matter how kind and respectful you are when ending the relationship with them.
Your significant other is still going to become extremely emotional and will feel devastated when you break up with them, no question about it. Try to be empathetic towards them…and be as kind as you can possibly be. If the timing is right – and if you think they might be receptive to it – give them a hug or place your hand on their shoulder to show them that you understand and care about what they’re going through. Break ups don’t always have to end on a negative or hateful note.
8.) Find solace and understanding with what you’re going through from the emotional support of family members, loved ones and friends.
You don’t have to go through this heartbreaking process alone. Seek out members of your family, loved ones that you trust – and of course, your besties – to give you the emotional support that you need and that will help your heart heal more quickly. These people love you unconditionally and they will stand by your side to make sure that you get outside for walks, coffee meet ups and lunches, for Netflix nights consisting of buttered popcorn, a bottle of Muscato and watching cheesy rom coms, for offering their shoulder for you to cry on whenever you have to or for letting you talk to them as long as you need to so you can get the sadness out of your system. Knowing that you have people who love you, care about you and who will be there for you whenever you need them will help you move on with your life faster without having to hold in all of that emotional pain, negativity and sadness.
Of course, you can’t control what other people do – but, you can control your own actions and how you affect others. And even if you find yourself on the receiving end of a disrespectful and cruel break up by an emotionally crippled and immature person, you can still take the high road by respecting their wishes to end the relationship and move on without contacting them in any way, even if they contact you afterwards…and also by not gossiping or badmouthing them on social media or to people who are in both of your social circles.
Sometimes, break ups happen because the two people involved were just not a good fit for each other – it doesn’t necessarily mean that one of them was mistreating the other; although sometimes that is the case. When you do things in life the right way and in a way that coincides with humanity, understanding, respect and fairness with regard to people – then you’re doing all that you can to be a kind, caring and compassionate human being.
Unfortunately, break ups are a part of life. Even though two people who are in love and enter into a relationship together aren’t planning on it to end -more than half the time, it does end.
How it ends will depend on the maturity level and compassion that the individuals involved possess.