Everyone knows how traumatic breakups can be, both for the dumper and the dumped. Often the person being broken up with gets the lion’s share of public sympathy and people forget how devastating it is to be the one to make the big decision.
If you’re considering splitting with your partner or ending things with someone you met on a dating site, read our guide to how to break up with someone as painlessly as possible.
Make sure you’ve already discussed all your issues
This one isn’t necessarily advice about how to break up with someone. Rather, it’s a reminder to make a fully considered decision. Relationships are all about communication. If your partner is doing something that you think might be a deal-breaker, it’s only fair to let them know and talk it through to see if anything can change. You should always do this before making any drastic resolutions.
They might be completely oblivious to the problem you’re seeing and talking it through could be the key to them changing their ways. Equally, you might discover that they’re unwilling to compromise, indicating that the end is in sight.
Either way, if you break up with someone before discussing fundamental issues, you’ll always wonder what could have been if you’d only been brave enough to bite the bullet.
Be honest about your reasons
Believe it or not, being broken up with can be a real learning experience if it’s done in the right way! This really hinges on the person doing the breaking up being sincere about what went wrong. Be as honest as you can without being cruel. If they can learn something from the reasons behind the break up they might be grateful to you once they’ve got over the initial crying/watching too many rom coms/stuffing themselves silly with ice cream stage.
If there’s someone else involved, it’s better to tell them yourself before they find out through social media or a mutual friend. This will only lead to them resenting you and looking back on the relationship in a negative light.
Do it face-to-face
This seems obvious as far as tips on how to break up with someone go, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow this basic rule. You’re an adult, so act like one! Don’t hide behind your phone, or worse still, your computer. Even if you haven’t been together for very long, the face-to-face break up is the only option unless there’s a solid reason why this isn’t possible (for example if you’re in a long-distance relationship).
Make sure you’re in a private place, ideally their home so they feel as comfortable as possible and won’t have to travel anywhere immediately post break up.
Breaking up by text or phone will leave the other person feeling frustrated and resenting you for your lack of courage. It’s also much harder to get closure when you can’t have a proper conversation and hash everything out, which means you’re more likely to drift back together for the wrong reasons.
Consider the practical aspects in advance
You might be wondering how to break up with someone if you have a mortgage together or have a shared pet or a close friendship group which involves both of you. Maybe you had a holiday planned together or a joint account. Thinking about these things prior to the breakup and suggesting solutions will make it easier on both of you.
Whatever your situation, it will be some comfort to your ex if you can reassure them that you’ll make these changes as easy as possible on them and have already come up with a plan.
They might not appreciate this until the initial shock has subsided, but in the long run, they’ll come to realise that your preparation made their life easier during a difficult time.
Don’t linger on things that can’t be changed
While honesty is the best policy, it’ll be easier on both of you if you avoid endlessly going over old situations when the other person hurt you without focusing on what both of you can learn from this.
This will only make them feel guilty and try to get back at you by dragging up their own bugbears. Neither of you will gain anything from this except a distorted view of the relationship only revolving around arguments.
Rather than talking about what hurt you, try to focus on what the other person can do to avoid repeating this mistake. This shifts the focus to the future rather than the past and should prevent the conversation revolving around blame.
Don’t keep going back
This a mistake made by countless newly broken-up couples. You’ll miss being with someone who knows you inside out and the intimacy that brings, which makes it all too easy to slip back into talking to or sleeping with them.
Of course, sometimes ex-couples will realise that the relationship is salvageable. However, in nearly all cases, drawing out the break up will only cause more heartache. Try to always keep the reason you broke up at the front of your mind. Write post-its to yourself, list all the reasons behind the breakup, get your friends to send you motivational messages.
Whatever works for you, do all you can to avoid slipping back into contact simply because you miss the idea of a relationship.
The final word
Of course, our advice on how to break up with someone should be taken with a pinch of salt as it won’t all be relevant to every couple. The most important thing is to ensure that you’re not causing unnecessary hurt and that you’ll both be able to look back fondly on the relationship in the future.
If you’re looking to get back on the horse post-break-up, sign up for free to meet new singles! Or, find out how to prepare yourself to date again after a breakup, and check out our top tips for writing your online dating profile.