There isn't a single person in this world that enjoys breaking up. Whether a person is getting dumped, or they are doing the dumping, it's not fun for anyone involved. However, breakups are necessary - relationships don't always work out and people need to move on.
Thing is, nobody learns how to properly break up. However, modern psychology has outlined a few things we need to do in order to make this ordeal a little bit more tolerable and productive. Here are 8 research-backed tips.
1. Be Honest - Even If It Hurts
Keeping things from people, or feeding them lies in a way to comfort them is always a bad idea. It's highly uncomfortable, for sure, but staying honest is the best tool you have to accurately and genuinely convey your thoughts. There's going to be pain, tears, drama, etc. But trust us when we say that it's better than any alternative.
You should always strive to open and honest with the person you are breaking up. A mature man acknowledges that this is a painful procedure, but understands that it needs to be done so the people involved can have closure and a chance to move on.
Respect her. Express your thoughts and criticisms truthfully and not maliciously. It's the right thing to do.
2. Remain Positive Throughout the Interaction
When there's tension in the air and emotions are running high, it's very easy for people to start fighting and spout words they normally would never utter to their significant other. It's important to resist the temptation.
You never were bitter enemies. You shared some amazing moments, you learned a lot about each other, you even developed feelings for each other. But now you have to go your separate ways. Remind her of these positive memories and use them to keep the negativity away.
You can also try to splice a negative remark in between two positive ones - the so-called compliment sandwich. You can try saying something like: "I loved the time we spent together. However, I think it's time for us to move on. I want you to know that you are amazing and I wish you all the best"
3. Stay Your Course
People despise change. That's especially true when a person realizes they are suddenly being dumped.
She will do anything in her power to stop this from happening. It might be through physical contact or psychological pleading. You should never, ever appease this person. You have your reasons for wanting to break up, so do not stop until you see this task through.
4. Practice What You're Going To Say
Practice makes perfect. In your case, it's going to turn an otherwise awful and emotional affair into a more focused and milder interaction. The reasons why you think the two of you should break up cannot be properly communicated without some practice.
First, make sure you clarify those reasons in your head. Form a coherent script, figure out what you want to say, make it clear and direct and remember not to take too long to convey your thoughts.
Once that is done, rehearse. Say the words you want to use out loud. Get accustomed to the words you intend on using and be prepared to deal with any reaction that might come your way.
5. End The Interaction On A High Note
It's extremely difficult to do so, but you can frame the break up as a mutually beneficial thing for both parties. According to Psychology Today, you need to pay attention to the other person's needs as well as your own during the breakup.
That way, your last interaction is not going to be remarkably negative. Instead, it will be an opportunity for both of you to reflect, learn from your past mistakes and end your relationship on a high note.
The idea of making a dramatic exit and burning all the bridges behind you in the process will probably appeal to you, due to your vulnerable psychological state. This is far from the more productive alternative of harnessing these emotions and transforming the interaction into a positive one.
6. Do Not Pull Off A Vanishing Act
Some men believe the ideal way to break up with someone is to completely disappear from that person's life. These men will, at some point, come to regret this decision as it's very immature and childish.
Men and women process emotions differently. We know this from casual observation but science also agrees with this notion. It would seem that men will do anything they can to avoid experiencing negative emotions if they can get away with it.
For that reason, some men will simply walk out of the girl's life when they are through with the relationship - an action that been defined as "ghosting". They believe that if they ghost the other person, she will realize what's going on and leave them in peace. No contact, no negative emotions, no problem. Or so these men think. This is a remarkably immature and hurtful way of avoiding someone and has the ability to hurt both parties.
Any psychologist worth his salt will tell you that avoidance is a great way to develop feelings of shame and guilt. Not only that, but it shows a profound weakness of character. Don't ghost people - if you want to break up, do it the right way.
7. Do Not Provoke And Be Hurtful On Purpose
Intentionally provoking the other person repeatedly so that they are the ones to initiate the breakup is an exceptionally horrible thing to do. It's unnecessarily cruel and is the sign of an immature and weak individual.
You might feel like it, but this will only make you feel horrible in the future. Trying to hurt her to make her move away from you is never a good idea. The guilt that will follow you forever is not worth it.
8. Do Not Manipulate And Mislead
It's important to remember that a break up is not a competition to find out who comes out of it on top. A mature adult realizes the severity of the situation and will act accordingly.
Immature people, on the other hand, will try and manipulate the other person to intentionally cause harm. Avoid using playground tactics like telling your mutual friends that you plan on breaking up with your girlfriend, knowing that she will ultimately learn this through the grapevine.
Also, do not break up through text. This is wrong and disrespectful on so many levels. You don't want to punish and humiliate the person, that just isn't productive. Break up with them only via direct, up-front communication.
Some Final Thoughts
People understand that breakups are a nasty business. Though it may be easy to just ignore, lie to, or manipulate people to make them go away, at the end of the day, nothing beats a direct and honest break up.
You do not want to appear weak, you don't want to be perceived as a spineless coward who runs away from confrontation. Be the better man, approach the challenge with courage and looking back at it, you will come to understand that this was the proper way of handling this.