Breaking up feels awful, and there’s no way around that. Unless it’s a completely mutual decision, there will be pain, tears, and probably anger.
Thankfully there are a few ways you can make this unavoidable task a little less horrible.
Tips for The Dumper
1. Make It Clear and Final
Don’t dance around the issue. I know it’s hard to start a conversation that you know will end in tears or rage or both, but in the end, it’s kinder not to sugarcoat things. Just be firm and sure of yourself. Try something like, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t working for me anymore. I did enjoy our time together, but I need to move on.”
2. Offer Closure (if Possible)
Everyone hates the, It’s-not-you-it’s-me” cliché. Try being more specific about why you feel the relationship needs to end. If it really is you, explain what you’re going through. If your reason for ending things has to do with a lack of compatibility, explain that too. Offer some insight into your decision. It could make a big difference in terms of the time it takes for your soon to be ex to heal.
3. Keep It Kind and Classy
If you’re breaking up because your girlfriend is just horrible and you can no longer stand to be in the same room with her, keep that to yourself, at least for the time being, while she’s in the fragile state of being dumped. Slinging insults is cruel and immature, and it just prolongs the awkwardness of the moment. Chances are you’ve had your share of horrible fights leading up to this moment, so why engage in another one.
Tips for The Dumpee
1. Listen Fully, and Believe What You Hear
The pain of being dumped can make it a hard reality to accept. In an attempt to hold out hope, your brain might edit what you’re hearing to present a more favorable outcome. She might say she’s not feeling it now, but that doesn’t mean that she’ll feel it again later? Stay focused on the real message you’re receiving, however painful it might be, because it will help you to move on faster.
2. Go Cold Turkey
As soon as the breakup has taken place, purge your phone of all those texts and pictures that remind you of happier times. Delete your ex’s number and unfollow them on social media. Don’t give yourself the chance to reach out in times of weakness. Cut all contact for at least three months, longer if the pain persists beyond that point.
3. Seek Out Support, and Don’t Dwell
The worst thing you can do is sit at home by yourself, agonizing over the loss you’ve just suffered. Call on your friends and family. Keep busy doing something you enjoy, even immerse yourself in work if you have to. Being dumped is messy. Your brain might want to clean everything up right away, but it takes time. Be patient with yourself and know that it will get better.