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Choosing to break up is hard; here’s how to do it right

Published on 21 January 2018|
2 min read

Break-ups are often a part of life. No matter the reason for one, it’s possible to end a relationship in a respectful way.

by Tommy Duncan, Carrybeans

If you scroll through Facebook, you’re bound to see at least friend or acquaintance posting a relationship status change (if you see sad faces, you know what that means). While that’s perfectly fine, many people choose to air their arguments, and even break-ups, on Facebook, Instagram and even in videos.

Breaking up is ugly business; it doesn’t matter how you see it. If you’re the dumper (as John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines would call it), here are some ways to end a relationship cleanly and respectfully.


First, prepare yourself fully

Preparing yourself emotionally and mentally is the first step to take. Whatever the reason for choosing to break up, it’s important to stay in the right of frame of mind. Words need to be carefully chosen so that your message is presented clearly. Don’t say things you’ll regret later.


Find the right time 

Choose a time that’s good for both of you, where you’re not in an extreme state of mind — be it joy or pain. It’s hard for two people to make the right call otherwise.

Take note that if he/she is having a bad week (or a stressful week) due to unfortunate events, for example the passing away of a family member, it might be better to hold the conversation off until a better time. This is to prevent even further stress to be inflicted upon them.

Here’s a word of advice: never, ever break up with a partner by text, unless it truly can’t be helped.


Choose a neutral location that’s a safe space

Privacy is important to make sure interference during this heavy exchange is minimal to zero. Think about the right place and environment to have ‘the talk’. Don’t choose a place with fond memories you’ve shared or a public area where true feelings cannot be thrashed out.

Credit: Burst


Be direct and tell the truth

Be honest about it. Tell him or her how you really feel and the reasons why you’re choosing to end the relationship. This is where the right words come in. Tell the truth and try not to sugar-coat. After all, he or she has the right to know why you are choosing to break up.

Be prepared for questions and the challenging of your opinions too. It’s okay to disagree, but talking through it maturely sets both parties up for a better recovery process later. Also, never make promises you aren’t sure you can keep; be firm when you have to be.


Be gracious in apology and don’t rush it

Choosing to break up doesn’t mean you have to be right. There are many reasons why couples go separate ways, but the bottom line is that there will be hurt present. So do your part and be gracious in apologising for hurts past and present.

Be sincere when doing so; this is probably not what either of you wanted. Also, let silence help. Give each other time during the conversation to sit still and think through what’s been said. Never rush the process, and be patient in explanation.

At the end of the day, break-ups aren’t pretty things. But the way we do it (hopefully we don’t have to) can create a solid foundation for proper closure, and eventual healing for both sides.


If you’ll be alone this Valentine’s, gather some friends together and make a meal.

Featured Image Credit: Nicolas Raymond

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