Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we’d like them to. It happens. Someone cheats, or lies, or gets hammered and drunk dials the other’s grandma at 3am. Regardless of how it comes about, break ups happen. I’ve written about how to deal with being broken up with, but now I come bearing sage advice for those of us who are doing the dumping. I fully understand that most of us usually take the easy way out and opt for a pussy-esque text message. However, if you manage to utilize even 70% of the advice on this list, you’ll be one step closer to being a real live adult.
Yes, breaking up with someone takes a little bit of planning. Unless they’ve done something horrible, you need to put some thought into it before pulling the proverbial trigger. You may have already come to terms with the idea of breaking up with this person, but the reality is that they haven’t had time to process it yet (even if deep down they’re suspecting it. Never underestimate the power of denial). Think of your reasons for wanting to break up with them – and yes, “I’m just not that into you” is an acceptable reason – and then figure out when and where this little operation can go down. There’s never going to be a good time to break up with someone, since there will always be a birthday, or holiday, or stress at work, so if this is what you want, do it and do it now.
Oh, and side note: once you’ve decided 100% that you want to break up with this person, don’t keep sleeping with them. The “dick and dash” isn’t the best way to execute a break up. We’re practicing being an adult, remember?
This one should be written in stone: if you’ve been publicly using the boyfriend/girlfriend monikers, have been together a significant length of time, live together, are married, etc, you MUST break up in person. When it’s been a casual thing, or you’ve only slept together twice, or you fall into some other benign dating category, opting for a text isn’t ideal, but we all do it. Also, don’t break up in public. Despite what romantic comedies have implied for decades, the whole “I’m doing this in public so you won’t make a scene” thing is really not okay. You’re already going to make them upset, so let’s not add public humiliation to the list of offences. Unless you think they’ll murder you. In which case, have witnesses.
Remember to actually use the words “break up” when you’re, you know, breaking up with this person. The last thing you want is to leave things on an ambiguous note, or say something super vague that can be misconstrued in any way. You’re ending it, so end it. Don’t drag it out – just rip off the band aid.
Don’t continue to sleep with them. Did you catch that the first time? Don’t continue to sleep with them! In the world of mixed signals, that is number one on the list.
In terms of the inevitable barrage of text messages you will undoubtedly receive, you need to find some sort of balance between being supportive and giving them a chance to move on. Don’t issue radio silence, but it’s also not your job to hold their hand until they’re ready to get on with their life. Make peace with whatever you may have left at their apartment, do your best to not run into them if you don’t have to, but be cordial if you happen to. Oh, and don’t sleep with them.
Welcome to adulthood!