Bad break-ups can leave a lasting scar that even the best therapists can’t mend. A good break up, however, can lead to evolution, growth and even prepare us for a successful relationship in the future.
University of Kansas psychologists Tara Collins and Omri Gillath conducted a study and concluded that open confrontation, when breaking up, caused the least amount of distress. Being left by your partner is never easy, but if you can clearly communicate, it can make the process less painful.
Dr. Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Monmouth University says that “Your romantic relationships are supposed to be one of the fundamental sources of happiness and joy in your life. If a relationship isn’t working, don’t be afraid to break it off.”
Don’t be afraid to break it off, but first be sure that that’s exactly what you want to do. No playing hard to get or going break-ups to make-ups.
Once you’re absolutely sure (with no return) that your relationship has ran it’s course, there’s a way to go about it and there are things to avoid under any circumstance:
- Please avoid the phrase “It’s not you, it’s me.” You know good and well it’s not true, but even if it is – it just sounds like a lie. Instead, be completely honest about the reason you’re leaving. Now I didn’t say be mean, I said be honest (be kind!). This provides guidelines and an opportunity for growth in your soon-to-be ex.
- Don’t make excuses. If you make up excuses like “it’s not a good time for me” or “I’m just focused on my career right now” it leaves too much room for hope. Hope that you will one day come back to them. Quote Taylor Swift if you have to, “We are never ever ever getting back together.” Be clear and wish them the best.
- Do NOT indulge in makeup sex. Makeup sex may be the best sex ever, but it also creates a devastating emotional umbilical cord that is crazy hard to cut. If it’s done – it’s DONE – including the incredible sex (sorry!).
- No keeping in touch. ‘Let’s just be friends’ simply doesn’t work and we all know it. You once loved, or at least were intimate or sexually involved with this person. “Friendship” keeps the door open for prolonged emotional turmoil and late-night drunken phone calls that can lead to late-night drunken accidental sex, that inevitably leads to more hurt feelings. Change your phone number if you have to. Really? You can chit chat with someone else – it’s through!
- Avoid gossiping. Your friends do not need to know that his ding-a-ling was too small or that he snores at night. Relationships are between two people and it should remain that way. Gossiping gets around and is likely to be whispered back into the ear of the one you’re trying to say farewell to.
- No virtual break ups. No text messages, facetime, skype tweets or e-mail heart breaks! If you’re going to dump the poor guy, do it the properway and tell him face-to-face. Anything else would be…uncivilized.
During your conversation about splitting up, be clear, focused and compassionate. Avoid being too reactive, cussing or blaming. If this is your last encounter make it a pleasant one (as pleasant as a breakup can get).
Just don’t make it too good or they might try to come crawling back.