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10 Ways to Break Up Smoothly

With Valentine’s day quickly approaching, your mind may be racing with ideas of how you can romance your partner.  But, if you’re like one of the millions of people who are unhappy in their relationship, you are more likely to be thinking about how to dump your partner and find a new one before you’re stuck all alone on Valentine’s day.  According to a survey conducted by Cupid.com, January is an extremely popular month for breaking up, because most people are reluctant to do the deed before the holiday season, for obvious reasons.  And, although breaking up is seldom pleasant, there are a few ways in which you can minimize the discomfort (and hopefully the emotional turmoil).  Here are some practical suggestions for how to break up with dignity:

  1. Break up in a public place. While it may not be entirely comfortable to break the bad news in public, it may encourage your (ex)partner to keep yelling or crying to a minimum.  Hopefully, by the time he or she is able to let out the emotions, the potency will be significantly reduced.
  2. Return your ex’s property on the spot. It’s always appropriate to return property that doesn’t belong to you, but doing it during while you’re actually breaking up will prevent you from having to see you ex in the immediate future.
  3. Don’t be cruel. Explaining every precise reason about why you’ve decided to break up will not make your ex feel better.  It may, in fact, cause him (or her) to become further depressed.
  4. Be honest. While you needn’t provide a laundry list of reasons that you’ve decided to beak up, it’s helpful to tell the truth.  Dancing around the issue or lying about your motives will only leave unresolved issues that will prevent both you and your ex from moving on properly.
  5. Don’t spill the beans in advance. Even if you’ve been planning the breakup for a long time, don’t discuss it with too many people.  The process will be significantly more grueling if your partner finds out about it from someone else.
  6. Be prepared. Although it may be unpleasant, there’s a chance that groveling may be involved.  If you’re sure that you’ve made the right decision, don’t be swayed by the begging or pleading.
  7. Don’t suggest being friends. While many people have only the best intentions when they suggest remaining friends with their ex, studies show that in most cases, this friendship can hinder the healing process.
  8. Don’t use email. Breaking up via email may be suitable if you’ve only gone on one or two date.  But if you’ve been seriously involved with someone (or even moderately involved) for a reasonable period of time, an email break up is completely déclassé.  Sure, it may sidestep some of the discomfort, but it may also create a reputation that you’re less than proud of.
  9. Don’t point blame. The trite “it’s not you, it’s me” is never a good way to break up, even if you’re blaming yourself.  Likewise, blaming your ex can only lead to self-deprecation and guilt, neither of which are productive emotions.
  10. Don’t be afraid to look ahead. It may be difficult to look ahead while you’re in the process of breaking up with someone, but keeping your eye on the future can provide hope instead of despair during this difficult time.
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