Your Guide to a Safe and Smooth Breakup (Because We Need More of Those)

By: Farah Kabesh

There’s nothing easy or fun about a breakup. Even worse, there’s no such thing as the “perfect” breakup because let’s face it, ending a relationship is messy, heavy, a whirlwind of emotions and usually full of drama. It’s basically one of the most dreadful experiences a person can endure, yet breakups are extremely common. You read about them in books, watch them in movies, witness them firsthand when your friends or close ones go through them, or you may even have your own previous not-so-good breakup experiences. So, it comes as no surprise that the whole process of ending a relationship (from that moment when you’ve taken your final decision to the infamous conversation to the heartbreak and the post-breakup blues) is permanently labeled as negative in our thoughts.

Whilst some negative things can be considered good nowadays (such as a negative PCR test), breakups are definitely a bad news kind of negative. Nonetheless, it doesn’t always have to be like that. Peaceful and compassionate breakups are rare, but they do exist. It’s possible for you to have a safe and smooth breakup; you simply need to have a strong will, good intentions, and this list of tips and pointers to guide you.  

Give yourself time to think about it properly

Ending a relationship is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken impulsively in the middle of an argument or used as a threat to control your partner. That’s why you need to think it through thoroughly and over time. 

Be honest and drop hints beforehand

There is nothing that can be more traumatizing than having your partner break up with you out of nowhere and all of a sudden when you thought that everything was fine between you two. No one deserves that kind of surprise and shock. That’s why you should share your feelings and concerns with your partner while you’re still together and before breaking up with them once and for all. Harry Styles once said “Treat People with Kindness” and that’s what you’re trying to do here. Be honest and open with your partner, but not brutal or rude. Tell them your doubts and how you’re feeling, so that they can at least see it coming when you do finally decide to end the relationship. 

Quit putting it off 

Once you’ve thought about it and taken the final decision that ending the relationship is truly what you want, there should be nothing stopping you from taking that next step and having the dreaded conversation with your partner (soon-to-be-ex). You shouldn’t keep waiting in hopes of some unknown thing that may happen to change your mind, and you definitely shouldn’t avoid your partner or act unusual around them before having the ill-fated conversation. It’s better to inform your partner with your feelings and your desire to break up as soon as possible. 

Pick the right moment and the right place 

I know I just told you to quit delaying the actual breakup, but that doesn’t mean that you should have such a serious conversation whenever and wherever. You certainly shouldn’t do it at a time when you’re surrounded by your friends or when you know that your partner is distracted or going through some major event or circumstances. It’s also best if you have this conversation somewhere calm and quiet rather than a noisy place where you can barely hear what the other person is saying.  

Do it yourself and in person

This may sound a little obvious, but trust me, it needs to be said. You shouldn’t get anyone to do it for you – you need to deliver the news yourself. You also need to do it face-to-face and NEVER over text. This makes it much more personal, respectful and considerate.

Be clear about your reasons 

As I previously mentioned, honesty is key. Steer clear of the overly-used cliché sentences that have you rolling your eyes like “It’s not you, it’s me” or “I’m sure you’ll meet someone special who’s more suitable for you than I am”. Just don’t go there. You also shouldn’t share a list of every single flaw you’ve discovered in your partner, start a blame game or even accuse them for every little thing that happened in your relationship; try to be diplomatic. Tell them your motives and why ending the relationship is really what you want. Don’t leave them wandering or confused. Be firm, direct and crystal clear – all while being kind and gentle. 

Hear your partner out too

You’ve broken off the news and shared your reasons. Now what? Listen to what they have to say. They’ve heard you out, so it’s only fair and thoughtful if you hear them out too. Don’t object, argue or cut them off repeatedly. Just have them say everything they want to tell you, then think before you respond. 

 Expect any sort of reaction 

You definitely can’t control the way your partner responds to the news or how they will react. Everyone deals differently with breakups and emotions can vary from sadness, awkwardness, pain, desperation as well as anger and irritation. Try to understand how they may be feeling and what they’re going through. Be empathetic and show sympathy through some kind reassuring words or a simple affectionate gesture. However, it’s certainly not appropriate if they wildly lash out at you, disrespect you, abuse you or threaten you in any way. 

Cut off contact for some time

It’s best if you both part ways for some time (as long as you feel is necessary). You should also avoid leaving things open-ended or giving your partner false-hope that there may be a possibility for things to go back to how they were before the breakup. You then need to decide how you want your relationship to be with your ex after the healing process. You definitely don’t want it to be awkward, especially if you see them often or share the same friend-group. For some unknown reason, the thought of staying friends with your ex is often frowned upon and stigmatized in our society. However, there is nothing wrong with being friends with them, especially if things ended peacefully between you two and that’s what you want. So, why not? Don’t let anyone make that decision for you. 

Be compassionate with yourself

It’s important to acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself some time to heal, grow and get over the heartbreak, even if you’re the one who ended the relationship. The grieving and healing process is not something to be rushed. But don’t get stuck in it for too long, because that’s unhealthy. Also avoid falling into an endless self-criticism spiral or making extreme changes to yourself (yes girls, you’ll regret that drastic haircut later). 

Socialize and have some fun 

Once you’ve spent more than enough time in the healing process, it’s time to hang out again with your friends as well as meet new people. Some people tend to withdraw themselves and isolate for too long after a breakup. Whilst Netflix and ice-cream can be your best friends on your lonely nights, it wouldn’t hurt to get out there once again, socialize a little and have some fun. You deserve it. 

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