To state the obvious, ending a relationship is never easy. Unless you are impervious to pain, being the dumper can be as emotionally draining as the other way around. Before making the decision to end a relationship weigh the pros and cons.
Once you are sure, (in some cases we are ambivalent due to fear of the unknown) remember this was the person that was your love. Handle with care.
Do not expect this to be easy but commit yourself to taking the high road no matter the response. There are some practical do’s and don’ts that will keep your partner’s dignity intact.
How to Take the High Road
To set the scene, tell your partner you need to talk to them. Make it soon. Choose a place that is neutral. Always in person –no texting or calling – except if you fear violence. Make sure you will not be disturbed by interruptions. When you end it clearly and calmly, not in anger, they will know you are serious.
1. You can only do this with a clear head not in the midst of an argument. It is wise to get feedback from trusted friends and family or your therapist. Don’t lie and say “Maybe this can work out down the road..” The one exception is if your partner is unstable and you need to keep their abandonment terrors at bay until you complete a divorce.
2. Be honest and without blaming describe the main reason why you have taken this decision. If you are not in love anymore say it gently. Do not rehash old arguments and
3. More than likely it is more than likely not a surprise to the person. They will still feel like a ton of bricks hit them.
4. Be prepared for a bad reaction. There will be anger, shock perhaps surprise. Remain calm and attempt to calm him or her. Keep your voice calm, even if they yell. If you are leaving the place you live together have another place ready and have your bag packed. If they become too out of control, leave and let him or her calm down.
5. Avoid clichés. No one wants to hear: “It’s not you, it’s me!” or “We can still be friends.” Just stick to the facts. “I have made my decision and I won’t change my mind, but I will talk to you if you can remain calm.” If they do call you, pick up. If there are questions remain honest and kind and brief.
6. Write a script and rehearse. First do your part of outlining why this has become necessary. Then anticipate his or her responses and plan what you will say.
7. If you’re worried about his or her mental stability call a friend or relative and have them on call for support .
There have to be rules for future interaction. Be polite and firm about boundaries and make it clear they are not negotiable.
After the Break Up
It is important to take a breather and spend 3 months or even a year apart without communication of any kind.
Many years ago I had a lover who broke it off with me. A few years later I had a serious emotional breakdown. He was there for me and truly helped me on my road to recovery. We have become best friends. What evolved is a friendship much better than the ups and downs involved in a passionate relationship. We are much better friends than we were lovers. It has been almost 40 years.
You may be plagued with feelings of guilt even if you know it was the right thing. You may have feelings of loss. Remember when you break up you let go of the good things as well as the bad. You may have had friends in common. Tell them you will not go to an event where your ex is invited.
Good things to do are hanging with friends, writing in a journal, re-evaluating what you do want in a partner.
Above all do not give in to post break up sex. It makes things worse. It is misleading no matter what your old partner says.
Do new things and avoid doing what the two of you did together. Put away photos and remembrances. Don’t listen to sad music.
Slowly start to date again. This is more than a new chapter, it’s a new book.