If you’re going to end it, do it kindly
You haven’t been together long, but long enough to know you don’t want to go out again. Here’s how to break up without breaking their heart, by match.com’s relationship expert, Kate Taylor
1. Be sure!
Are you just being picky? You know what you’re like – you get into these flighty moods sometimes and dump perfectly lovely people because they don’t match your image of Fantasy Perfection. If other things in your life are making you unhappy, fix those first before you assume that your current restlessness stems from your new partner.
2. Show up
When you’re sure that it’s not you, it’s them, break up face-to-face. Two reasons why: firstly, it’s just more respectful. But secondly, it’s more final. People only move on when hope of a reconciliation has vanished, so it’s kinder to make a big, believable break. Saying it to their face is much more ‘real’ than by phone, text or email.
3. Give a reason
But make it a helpful, considerate reason. ‘You’re not very open with your feelings and I feel that, long term, I need a more romantic partner,’ is good because it gives them an insight into how they appear in relationships. Plus, it uses the word ‘feel’. YOU MUST USE THIS WORD. ‘I just don’t feel it works,’ is something you can repeat until the break-up ‘takes’. If you’re dumping them because they did something awful – like cheating, or lying – again, give the feeling reason. Don’t say, ‘I trusted you but you dated Sarah behind my back,’ because they’ll only lie (again!) to get out of it, plus it gives them an ego boost. Make them feel you’re dumping them because you just don’t like them that much.
4. Don’t stay in touch
Guilt might compel you to send friendly, ‘How are you? Hope you’re OK’ messages after the split, or to try to stay friends. Ignore this compulsion. They’re fine. Give them space and privacy to get over you. Every message from you just keeps the bond alive. If they’re someone you have to see every day (for example, a work colleague or part of your social circle), then again give them space.
5. Don’t feel terrible
We’ve all seen enough people thrive after a break-up to know they can have unexpected restorative powers. If you get an attack of guilt, tell yourself you have freed up your ex-partner to find someone who loves them, or to write a bestselling novel, or emigrate, or otherwise flourish. Don’t imagine them dying alone calling out your name. Sickeningly, most of us prove to be replaceable.