Some Practical Advice For How To Break Up

Some Practical Advice For How To Break Up

Some breakups occur suddenly. You make a surprise visit to his apartment and find him in bed with the girl who you thought was your best friend. You scream and tell him, "Return to Hell, demon!" You use every four-letter word you know to tell him about his character and then you turn and leave. It's finished.

Sometimes, however, there is no traumatic event that triggers a breakup. There haven't been any big blowups but you just haven't felt satisfied. You realize that this relationship is not going in the direction that you want for your life. You need to end it. Unfortunately, you can't hire someone to do this for you. Nobody is an expert at breaking up so don't feel that you must be prepared to execute a flawless breakup, but do give it some thought first. Here are a few pointers to consider.

1. In person. If you thought this person was good enough to date for at least two or three dates or maybe even much longer, you don't need to treat them with disrespect. If they were breaking up with you, would you want to read about it in a text or hear it directly from them? You'd probably want to hear it from them so you could ask questions and get some clarification. Practice the Golden Rule always and not just when it's convenient or easy. Tell him or her in person.

2. In public. If you know them well enough and you trust that they won't come unglued and fall apart, telling them in private is more respectful. But your safety comes first. If you think they might lose their shit when they hear you're leaving, have them meet you for lunch at a restaurant, diner, deli, or some other place where you have some semi-privacy in your conversation but other people are around in case he starts threatening to take hostages.

3. During the day. Darkness seems to bring out all the hobgoblins and evil spirits of the world. Think about it; most of the crazy stuff happens at night. If you do it on a weekday during a lunch hour, you have a legitimate excuse for why you can't sit there for three hours to discuss the problems.

4. File your "flight plan" with the proper authorities. Tell a good friend what you are doing and where you are doing it. Promise to report to them as soon as it is done. This accomplishes two things. First, if you have any possibility of chickening out and backing off from actually breaking up, this will add some pressure to go through with your plan. More importantly, if you don't report by the pre-arranged deadline, your friend can either come looking for you or call the police.

5. Be firm. Don't equivocate. Be very matter of fact about your reasons. Don't sound like you are not sure of your decision. You thought about this and made your decision. You don't need your soon-to-be ex to agree with your decision and you don't need to convince them that you are right, so don't get sucked into any arguments about whether your reasons are valid. "I'm not going to have any discussion about whether my reasons are good enough for you. They are good enough for me and my decision is already made."

6. But don't be mean, either. Some people can only get the courage to do something like this if they convince themselves to be angry. You two don't work well together but that doesn't necessarily mean he did something wrong. Some combinations just aren't compatible. On the other hand, if your little sister told you that he tried to seduce her . . . I never advise people to be violent, but I would understand you being beyond angry.

7. Don't offer any hope. Don't state anything that gives her any reason to think that there is any hope. "Maybe after school is over, we could try it again." NO! If you two don't work together now, nothing will be different after school is over. Offer even the least glimmer of hope and, in their mind, you haven't broken up; you've just decided to take a break. This is not what you want them to think when they leave this meeting.

8. "No, we can't be just friends." Don't try to soften the blow by offering, or agreeing to her request, to remain friends. She will jump on the opportunity and think that eventually, you will come to your senses and she will be there to move it for the passionate embrace that signals that the greatest romance of the ages has resumed. Breaking up should be like your relationship died due to a sudden heart attack; trying to remain friends is like your relationship is dying from cancer.

9. Forget the cliches. Don't use lame lines like, "You're a great guy and you'll meet somebody else who will be better for you." You are not breaking up because you thought they should have the opportubnity to go meet Ms. Right; you are breaking up because you don't want to spend time with him any more. I don't know how girls react, but guys get angry when they hear that stuff. Real angry. Punch-a-hole-in-the-wall angry. Trust me, if you pull out any of those lines, you will antagonize him.

10. Yes, you are sure about it. "I've thought about this for awhile and I wouldn't be telling you if I wasn't sure. Don't wait for me to change my mind because that will never happen."

11. No more contact. Ask him or her to not contact you anymore. "Talking to each other will only prolong this and I don't want that. If you need to talk, call your friends." Immediately delete him or her from your social media. If you have "In A Relationship" status posted, change that, but don't post any details about your breakup. Nobody needs to hear that stuff and, if your ex hears about that through a mutual friend, it may just antagonize them and prompt new efforts to contact you. When you break up, you bury the relationship. You don't keep the corpse sitting around for a few months so you can agonize over it. After the breakup, you should not initiate contact with your ex for any reason and you should not respond to any of their efforts to contact you.

12. Don't ask for the gifts to be returned. Whatever you gave her, you told her it was a gift. If you demand that she return the gifts, you are giving her a reason to see you again: not a good idea. The only exception to this rule would be an engagement ring and she should be wearing it and able to return it to you at the time of the breakup. If she requests that you return gifts she gave you . . . I know you are going to say that this isn't fair, but that doesn't matter. Do what is easy; do what facilitates the breakup. Agree to return the gifts but don't agree to see her again. Offer to give the gifts to a mutual friend, her roommate, her mother, etc.

13. Avoid your old hangouts. For at least a few weeks afterwards, avoid going to places where you might encounter him or her. It will be awkward and just open the wounds. Worse, she might think you went to the old coffee shop actually hoping that you would see her.

14. Learn your lessons. Ask yourself why this relationship didn't work and don't minimize your role in the reasons. You want to learn from this so that you don't repeat the mistake. Be an adult and take responsibility for your contribution. Maybe you made a poor choice at the start. Maybe you rushed into things too quickly. You probably shouldn't have had sex on the first date when you knew she had just broken up with her boyfriend of three years. Becoming a better person means taking responsibility for your poor choices and bad decisions.

15. Stay busy. Even though you initiated the breakup, it can still be a depressing time. Make plans to keep yourself busy and distracted for a few days or a few weeks afterwards. Reconnect with friends. Take a long weekend trip away. And remove all the old photos, trinkets, and other things that will remind you of her.

16. Guilt is not your friend. Do not, under any circumstances, let loneliness or guilt interfere with the breakup. After the breakup, if you call or text him, you have reset the clock and it will be even more difficult to breakup the next time. Until you are married, your decisions in relationships must be about your best interest and only your best interest. It is her responsibility to look out for her best interest . . . and she is an adult (I hope!)

17. Have a safety net. If you feel any desire to run back to him, have a friend who you can call who will talk you out of it.

18. Don't forget. You don't need to forget your ex to move forward with your life. You just need to let go of some of those feelings. If you are feeling angry at them, you probably aren't ready to start dating again. If you are feeling very sad . . . you aren't ready. But don't expect to forget them. That's okay.

Now your "officially" broken up. Don't go make the same mistake again. Go and make a different mistake. Or go meet The One. Good luck!

OlderAndWiser is a GirlsAskGuys Editor
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Most Helpful Girl

  • Awesome take! You're sensible, unbiased and wise indeed. :) I really enjoy reading your takes because they're so neutral, well thought out and actually helpful! Lots of people use the myTake feature just to spout overly hateful and narrow-minded views. I get that you're allowed to be more subjective since it is a "my" Take after all, but I just feel like they're abusing the platform if all they're doing is trying to rile people up and spout hateful things.

    So again, very nice take! Although I have to say, unless you actually end up hating your ex to the bone, I don't think it's necessary to throw out all the things that remind yourself of them. Obviously you can throw away old junk that you don't need, but the rest you can put away in a box and hide it somewhere. You can put digital photos on a portable drive and put that in the box too, so you won't feel tempted to look at the pictures every time you use your computer. Because even if things went sour, there are probably some very happy memories in there that I don't think are worth discarding completely. Save some for the good times. :) So when you're completely over it, you can open up the box and look at the memories with fresh eyes, and possibly feel a bit nostalgic.

    • Thanks for the compliment!

      I agree that the trinkets and mementos don't need to be discarded. They should just be removed from sight so that you don't have constant reminders of your ex.

    • Show All
    • Check out this video, I am not a big fan of country music, but this song is a perfect fit to our conversation:

    • Oh geez that's so old school hahaha. But yeah pretty much!

Most Helpful Guy

  • Great take! Especially the following up afterwards... or more the lack of follow up. too many people keep in touch afterwards, especially with social media. I 'backslid' with an ex for this reason and it was terrible. the best way is a swift hard cut in all ties to me, sure it is more painful, but allows the healing to start sooner.

    Also taking the time to search your relationship, really think about what you want to keep, lessons, memories whatever and than losing the rest is key as well and I think something a lot of people miss out on when they just jump right back into dating or a new relationship without ever really closing up the old one.


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What Girls Said 0

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What Guys Said 5

  • I agree with all of the points except doing it in public. I mean if they are a violent person, yeah that might be a good idea, but in 99.9% of cases, the person isn't going to physically attack you, and it's much more considerate to break up with them somewhere that they won't be publicly embarrassed if they start crying.

    • I agree that telling your partner in private is more respectful but your safety should always be more important than their potential embarrassment.

  • 8 and 6 my ex girlfriend did the opsite of both. 8. Ask too be friend since we were friends before this i accpeted it and esa there for her as a friend all through out the break up even after she replaced me 2-3 months later even gave her dating advice. I strongerly regert being her friend during this time helping her eat agin anyways. the more fuck up part is when i need her support as a friend when my sister was dying from cancer she turned her back on me..

    6. Instend of treating me with respected i was treated like shit and blamed for everything that ever happened for the break up... yet it was her parents forcing the brea. Yo she was just too weak to stand up to them.

    O number 1 as well I told her i need too hear this in person too move on i need clarification but she would'nt give it too me. Fuck up my head with all her back n 4 crying too me saying she misses me and her parents forbid her from ever speaking too me. Yet has a new boyfriend your 20 act like it.

    7 as well kind of am not 100% sure if she was telnotg the truth about her parents forcing this on her... I just know they are very controling people but telling me this and all the back n 4 crying give me false hope things could work out.

    Sorry about all the errors and spelling mistakes when ever i talk about my ex i get angery or upset. I always spoke to her and her parents with respect... So pretty fuck up i was not due that same respected and treated like trash. But i will 100% admit too all my mistake even do so on youtube but its a pv video you can't see it with out a Link. Anyways even through it took 1year i feel 100% better and my sister is ok nowque just has trouble keeping up her Weight. I won't lie too you i dont hate my ex in fact i still love her, i just dont like the way she went about things. O yes she did number 11 too post everything on pubic about us but will admit number 11was my felt i won't bore you with details just tried contracting her when my sister almost died her heart stop beating... and i just dont deal with certain things well. Anyways if you did read all this bs just know my life is starting to get better slowly.

  • A great mytake!
    I wish I would have read this 10months ago when I broke up with my first serious girlfriend

    I broke up with her over the phone cause she lived 4 hours away (college) and I would need to take a bus, break up with her and catch another bus within an hour...
    I think I made the right call, plus she would have tried to use sex to manipulate me...

    All in all I did pretty good job for my first real beak up...
    Although I regret not doing it in person

  • You could do all of that or... You could just say "I'm breaking up with you" & all that extra time you spent talking to here could be better spent doing something else

    • You are 20 years old. If that's what you believe, I'm sure I won't be able to convince you of any other viewpoint. Time will be your teacher. Good luck!

  • Nicely written and you really covered all the bases. I wish I had read this about 20 years ago.


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