When we fall in love, we sometimes believe that the relationship will last until the end of the world. We always hope that it will be different from the previous ones, that this one is the one and no force on the face of the earth can cause you to break up.
Except, sometimes, some things do happen and you eventually break up. If we only look at the rate of divorces, research reveals that they are between 30 to 50 percent (although, calculating the rate of divorces is more complicated than comparing marriages to divorce in a year).
Plus, it is more difficult to get rates on common and casual law partnerships that break up because they are not as closely monitored.
How and why do breakups happen?
Most of us go into relationships with the hopes that we would never have to end them. Marriage, in particular, is founded on the premise that it will last “until death do us part”.
Breakups are commonly caused by personality differences, infidelity, lack of time spent together, low sexual satisfaction, lack of positive interactions between partners, and low overall satisfaction in the relationship.
Breakups follow a relatively common pattern that researchers have divided into ten general steps:
- Communication breakdown
- Physical avoidance
- More communication breakdown
- Assessment of the situation
- Further physical distance between the couple
- Fighting and arguments
- Attempts to work things out
- Dating new people
- Communicating feelings
Though breakups do not always necessarily follow these steps and some may be excluded, this pattern tends to explain the breakup process for most non-marital relationships. But this doesn’t explain how to break up.
Breaking up with your partner is one of the more difficult things you have to do. No matter what end you find yourself in the breakup process, knowing how to end the relationship well can help make the process smoother and less harmful for both spouses.
How to break up the right way?
We say “right” way, but truth be told, there is not best or “right” way to end a relationship. Every relationship is unique, and every member of the relationship has different personalities.
It is left for you to consider the needs, personality, and feelings of your significant other as you read through this article and find out how to properly end things.
- Acknowledge the fact that there is no pain-free way to end a relationship. We all wish that we could break up without pain or hurt at all. But officially ending a relationship – no matter how broken it is – will inflict pain on both parties. Once you accept that there will be pain, you can be ready for the aftermath.
- Do it face-to-face. If you’ve ever been dumped by email or text, you know how it feels when the other person is not considerate enough to tell you in person. Why inflict the same pain on another person? Your spouse deserves the dignity of a face-to-face conversation. It’s arguably better if it’s done in an intimate setting, but if you’re worried that your partner might react violently, then it’s safer to do it in a public place.
- Don’t give too much detail but be honest. Generally, people would love to know why they’re being dumped. While “you lack ambition” or “you’re terrible in bed” might seem like the honest answer, it doesn’t actually preserve your partner’s dignity or self-esteem. Using a reflexive sentence like “I don’t think we share the same long term goals anymore” or “I don’t feel we’re sexually compatible” are nicer ways to express your feelings. Try not to use clichés like “it’s not you, it’s me” or do a play-by-play of the things your partner did wrong.
- Do not give in to protests or arguments. If the breakup comes as a surprise for your partner, he or she might try to protest, argue or give reasons why you shouldn’t end the relationship and try to fix things. If you have reached the point of breaking up nothing can revive or restore the relationship now, succumbing will only delay the inevitable.
- Express your unhappiness at the breakup and share some of the good times you shared together. Being dumped feels really bad. You can lessen the effect a little by sharing some good memories about your time together. “You taught me so much about swimming, and I am a better swimmer now thanks to you” or something similar. Your aim is to make the other person feel like they positively affected your life despite the relationship ending. You may also want to say something like “I had always had a dream that we grew old together and it hurts me because that dream won’t come to pass.” It shows that you share some of his or her feelings of about broken hopes.
- Avoid turning your partner into “the bad guy”. No one is perfect. You have your own shortcomings as well, and turning your ex into the villain of the story is simply dishonest (apart from obvious instances of violence, but that’s not the type of relationship we’re looking at here). They may have done some nasty stuff, like cheating, but they are human too. If they did anything wrong, it’s better to resolve your feelings on that, rather than who they are.
- Make a clean break. Do not suggest you remain friends. Try not to say “let’s stay in touch”. To be able to move on from a romantic affair, you need to avoid further emotional involvement with the ex-partner. It might be possible to become friends again after a while, but this is not the appropriate time to start thinking of the possibility.
- Give yourself time to grieve. Even if you’re the one ending the relationship, there will be a period of pain, sadness and heartbreak. Be aware that you also need to adapt to your new situation. Do things that bring you happiness, surround yourself with people you love, and remember that feeling sad and crying is perfectly okay.
In any breakup situation, the most significant thing to remember is to be compassionate and kind.
When you are caught up in your own emotions, it’s easy to forget how the other person will feel, but it’s important to avoid hinging the conversation on yourself. If you reach out with compassion and kindness, the process will be much easier for everyone.