The worst part of a relationship? When it ends. Breakups are universally terrible. Everyone knows this, and everyone knows the pain of being both the breaker and the breakee. They both suck in different ways. But what about when it’s someone you promised forever to? Well, in that case, figuring out how to break up with someone you truly loved can be very difficult.
No matter how nice you try to be, you are going to end up feeling like a bit of a jerk. And it makes sense, because if the two of you promised each other you’d be together forever, it can feel like you are backing out on the most serious commitment you’ve ever made in your life.
The thing is, life happens, and sometimes, the person you thought you’d be with forever ends up being a chapter you have to close. That doesn’t mean your entire relationship was a waste of time; it just means you both changed, and things didn’t work out exactly how you intended them to.
If you’re looking for tips to help you figure how exactly to break up with this person, though, I can help. Before I got married, I was most often the breaker, not the breakee, so I learned a few things (while feeling like a jerk each time) about doing the breaking up. Here’s how to break up with someone to whom you promised forever.
1. In Person
If you’ve promised someone you’d be with them forever, a text message breakup won’t suffice. To be honest, a text message breakup almost never suffices, because if you’ve gotten to the point in a relationship where you are using the term “breakup,” it means you have at least some history.
Especially for the most serious relationships, though, you need to do the deed in person and in private. Don’t drop the breakup news on a phone call and don’t take them out to some public lunch spot. Even if things haven’t been good between the two of you for a while, it’s likely that the news will come as at least a bit of a shock, so remember to give them private space to react.
Although you may feel more nervous about doing this in person, don’t let yourself take the easy way out. Give your relationship and your soon-to-be-ex partner the respect they deserve.
2. With Compassion
Another important thing to remember when you are breaking up with someone you once really loved is to do it with compassion. Although ending the relationship is difficult and may make you feel like kind of a jerk, it still matters whether you treat people with compassion or not.
Your partner probably isn’t going to want the breakup in the same way you do (if at all). So especially in a situation where they are blindsided, they are going to need all the compassion you can give.
You will be going through your own emotional roller coaster, too, so it may seem hard to give your partner any extra compassion. But try as hard as you can because we all know what it’s like to be the breakee when it was least expected. So be honest about your feelings, but don’t be overly harsh. Even if they get angry, you’ll be happier with yourself if you were kind.
3. Without Blame
Yes, if your partner cheated or did something equally terrible, it’s likely they are to blame for the end of the relationship. That said, they probably already know that, so you telling them so won’t add anything to the discourse. And if they didn’t do anything bad like that, then there’s no need to place blame.
When you’re having the dreaded break up “talk,” it’s OK to spill your feelings, but try to keep those feelings free of unnecessary blame. If you’re upset with your partner, you might be tempted to take it out on them at the moment you end the relationship, but there’s no need to do that. You won’t feel better for having done it, and neither will they.
4. With Finality
This one is important: Don’t leave any doors open when you end the relationship. If your partner is getting emotional and upset, you might be tempted to offer friendship in the place of the relationship. Or you might be tempted to say “not right now,” but still offer some hope for the future. Don’t do it. I’ve been in both of those situations, and trust me, it never works out well.
Even if you think there is the possibility of a friendship down the line, or even maybe a romantic re-connection, now is not the time to bring it up. You need to end the relationship with finality to let your partner start to move on. You don’t have to be mean, but you do have to be firm about the end of the two of you.
5. By Taking The High Road
No matter how your partner reacts, take the high road. Let them scream, cry, beg if they must, or hurl insults at you, but don’t stoop to their level.
Remember, you are the breaker here, not the breakee, so you’re not experiencing what the breakee is feeling in this moment. Especially since the two of you promised each other you’d be together forever, they are probably feeling hurt, betrayed, angry, and a whole host of other negative emotions that it’s going to take them a while to get through.
Remain calm and get across what you needed to get across. Then leave. There’s no point sticking around to watch your partner get angrier or more upset. They are going to need to deal with emotions on their own now, so let them go and let it be.
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