How to break up with someone without creating a mess

Breaking up is never easy - but it doesn't have to be a disaster, either, says relationship expert Genevieve Zawada

Genevieve Zawada
Monday 10 October 2016 16:13 BST

Breaking up is hard to do, especially if you still care about your partner and there is no reason to end the relationship other than it’s time to move on.

I will never forget the first time I decided to break up with someone. It took me days to work out how to put it. I couldn’t eat, sleep or concentrate and spent hours practising what I was going to say.

I did everything wrong because I was so concerned about his feelings. I avoided him until I was ready to say what I needed to say, but in the meantime he became cross and confused,which made it far worse for both of us. What I learnt is to be open and clear at all times about your feelings and doubts.

Depending on the reasons for the break-up, there are a few of rules I always advise people to stick to.

Write it down

Write down your reasons for breaking up – for your eyes only – when you feel it is time to call it a day. This helps you to focus your thoughts and to decide whether this is what you really want to do. If you are unsure, then maybe a conversation about your uncertainties is what is needed to clarify things with your partner. If you feel you can move on together positively and give it a good go, then great. Otherwise, be clear on your intention to end the relationship.

How would you like it?

Break up with someone in a way that you would want to be broken up with. Be kind and remember everyone has feelings and the news may come as a real shock to the other person.

'It's not me, it's definitely you'

Give good reasons, don’t just say that you don’t have feelings for them anymore. There will always be something that triggers your wanting to end a relationship, so when you are clear on your reasons (hence writing them out) let that person know in as kind a way as possible.

Let's not be friends

Don’t suggest being friends unless you really mean it. If you genuinely feel you can remain friends and that it won’t jeopardise future relationships with anyone else then that is great, otherwise don’t say it just because it is a gentle letdown.

For your eyes only

Make sure you are somewhere private – don’t break up in a public place, especially if things are likely to get emotional. It is adding insult to injury and it is humiliating too.

Show some respect

Don’t text to say it’s over! If you have had an intimate relationship with someone, have the courage and respect for the other person to at least tell them face to face. Let them know from the moment you say hello that you have something you need to discuss. Don’t wait for the right time because there will never be a right time.

Think of yourself

If you are breaking up with someone who has treated you badly and you feel uncomfortable or unsafe meeting face to face, hen email, text or phone them to explain why it is over. Having a friend with you when you make the call can give you the strength to do what needs to be done.

Genevieve Zawada is the CEO of Love Train Daiting and the Elect Club.

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