The discussion on what is the *right* way to break up with someone is one that continues to be a cause for contention.
Should it be done over the phone? Perhaps text text? A dramatic face-to-face for one last time? Wherever you stand on the break up etiquette spectrum, the act of doing it is always tricky – and finding a way that allows you to communicate effectively while handling the other person’s feelings with care is no easy feat.
“A hurtful breakup can create emotional scars,” says Leila Muhaizen, the founder and CEO of dating app Baklava. “It adds layers of armour on the heart and makes it difficult to trust others in future relationships”.
Whether you’re initiating the break up or on the receiving end of it, the effects can have a real impact in how you manoeuvre in other relationships going forward, meaning learning how to break up with someone in a healthy and mature way is key – and we have five tips on how to do it.
Choose the right setting
Setting the scene isn’t just important for things going well in your life – choosing where to express bad news is key and can reflect in both the way you and your soon-to-be-ex partner communicate. Muhaizen advises: “select a private and comfortable place where both of you can openly express your feelings without interruptions.”
Be honest and compassionate
Now, depending on the reason behind the break-up, it can be challenging to be compassionate to the person on the other side. But, in respect of the relationship you had and for the person you once (presumably) loved, finding a way to break up with them while having compassion for how they also may feel about this news is important. “Communicate your reasons for the breakup honestly,” says Muhaizen, “but with empathy and sensitivity, and without assigning blame.” Find a space to effectively communicate how you feel that feels true to you while holding space for empathy for the person on the receiving end.
We all know break-ups can get nasty – hence why some go above and beyond to do it in ways that minimises any additional confrontation (e,g from the safety of text or phone call). But breaking up with someone can also mean listening actively to how they will receive the news. “Give them the space to share their thoughts and feelings without interruption,” suggests Muhaizen. “Validate their emotions and provide support during the conversation.”
Give them space
Arguably one of the most important aspects of the break-up, is the post-break-up: a space where it’s very easy to get back in touch with your ex and double back on what you once
said. To avoid any confusion, Muhaizen says it is important to respect the need for space and time to process emotions and move on. “Avoid any unnecessary contact that might hinder their healing process.”
Breaking-up with someone isn’t fun or easy and sometimes the most appealing option is one that sees you avoid having the conversation and all the difficult things that come with it. But a part of maturing is realising that communicating your feelings – even when they don’t feel good in the moment – is important to both you and the person you’re in a relationship with – even if you’re telling them that you don’t want to be with them anymore.