Most people think that breakups have to be traumatizing, awful events where one or both people are left crying and feeling empty afterwards.
After recently having gone through the most painless breakup of my entire life, I wanted to share some of my biggest takeaways in order for you to have more painless breakups.
Because of today’s unique dating culture, there have never been more nuances in the breakup process.
You can break up in person, on the phone, via text, on a Skype call, or (heaven forbid) by changing your relationship status on Facebook and going silent.
There are no absolute rules in breaking up with someone because every relationship is different. But if you want to make your breakup relatively painless, there are some things you’ll definitely want to take into consideration.
Here are five guidelines that will make your breakup painless.
1. Actually Break Up With Them
If you even have an ounce of maturity running through your veins, I beg you – don’t just stop calling or texting and hope that they take the hint. There’s nothing more cowardly than just distancing yourself until they finally give up on trying to reach you (while they are left to assume that you either died unexpectedly or – after they see your ongoing Facebook posts – are just a total dick).
And yes, ideally, do it in person. It’ll be better for both of you in the long run. Character growth for you, closure for them.
Tell them that you need to have a chat, and then have the chat.
2. Tell Them What You Gained From Them
Assuming that there was any level of connection in your relationship, it’s highly likely that you learned or benefited from your partner in some way. So tell them about it.
Even if it’s something as simple as slipping in a casual “You really helped me realize how much I value (one of their positive character traits) in a relationship. And I wouldn’t have realized that if not for our time together.”
You don’t have to think this up on the spot. Brainstorm a handful of things that you enjoyed about your relationship and choose your favourite one (or the one that you feel would be easiest to say without making it sound like you’re still in love with them).
3. Include Some Logical Reasons For The Breakup
In order for your soon to be ex to have some real closure on the relationship, you want to give them, as one of my ex-military clients would say, “something to strap to their shield”.
If there was no logical reason for the breakup then they might be left to assume that you were just confused or shutting them out emotionally. But if you tell them that you feel like your values/goals/personalities aren’t aligned with each other, or that you feel like you’re growing in different directions, then their grieving process will be much smoother.
Make sure that the logical reasons you give them are about you or about how you both were as a couple… and not about them specifically. Just because you don’t like something about them doesn’t mean that it’s their character flaw… it just means that they need a different kind of person who will appreciate that trait more than you.
4. Answer Their Questions And Be As Truthful As Possible
When you break up with someone they will usually have some questions that they will want to follow up with.
Are you sure? How long have you been thinking about this? Are you maybe just feeling stressed about work and so you want to push me away? Is there anything I can do to change? Don’t you think we can still work through this?
For the most part (+95% of cases) you will want to answer their questions directly, even if the answers sometimes hurt. If you avoid answering the questions during the break up, then the unanswered questions will grow into resentment or confusion in the dumpee’s mind for weeks, months, or years to come. The Q&A section of a breakup for me personally has lasted anywhere from a few questions to several hours of back and forth.
But don’t feel that you need to answer every question they ask.
While you want to be sympathetic and answer all of their questions, there are some questions that I would recommend saying no to.
I generally say no to answering questions in which I can see no benefit for my ex to hear the answers to. In the past I have said no to answering questions/requests such as “Tell me what I did wrong”, or “If this was different about me would you have liked me more?”
Don’t tell them what you didn’t like about them – even if they explicitly ask. This is a lose-lose situation. Just don’t.
In general, you also want to avoid any ambiguity that can lead to hope. You are ending a relationship for a reason… don’t pretend like you might get back together unless you truly think you will.
5. Don’t Communicate With Them After You Break Up
Depending on how long the relationship was, hold off on communicating for a few months to give yourselves some mental space from each other.
I am absolutely a believer that you can be friends again after having been in an intimate relationship with someone – after an extended break. In fact, most of my closest female friends are ex-girlfriends. But the mental separation is essential so that you can get over each other before you can shift the relationship to a different context.
So, as much as it might hurt in the moment, delete her contact from your cell, unfriend each other on Facebook, and get them out of your mental sphere. If your connection as individuals is strong enough, you can be friends (if you still want to) after a few months or years of separation.
Can Breakups Be Painless?
This post is basically a primer on integrity and alignment.
You only suffer in a breakup to the extent that you became untrue to yourself.
If you didn’t veer off your personal path to accommodate or become more similar to your partner, then there’s no damage done to your ego and you’ll feel relatively unscathed.
If you are honest about who you are, your intentions, and what you want out of life throughout the entire courtship and dating process, then when you discover that you and your partner aren’t in alignment you can move on without a lot of heavy emotional baggage weighing you down.
Be truthful. Own who you are. End the relationship when you know that it isn’t right for you.
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. Want to get into a relationship that fits you infinitely better than your last one? Check out How To Find Your Ideal Partner today.