If you’re considering calling it quits with your significant other, but haven’t had the guts to do it, we’re here to help. We asked Dr. Carmela Pérez, PhD, a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City, for tips on how to break up gracefully. And though it won’t be easy, believe us when we tell you that you’ll feel better in the end—especially if you avoid all the drama that ending a relationship can stir up:
Don’t break up over email, text or, even worse, Twitter:
Using technology to break up is impersonal and insensitive, and can come across as cold and unfeeling, especially since you cannot convey facial expressions and tone of voice. As hard as it might be to deliver "bad news," it is always better to do it in person.
Do say why you're ending the relationship:
Yes, you should give some explanation. Even if brief. One recommendation is to focus on your feelings. For example, “my feelings have changed and I don't know why, but I need to end this relationship,” or “I am not happy, I need to sort things out for myself outside of this relationship.”
Do be crystal clear that it’s over:
Many people often feel too concerned about the other person's reaction, and leave things unfinished or open. Saying that you are breaking up and suggesting that your feelings might change at a different time is giving a confusing message to the other person.
Don't gossip about your ex:
Talking with your friends about breaking up can be therapeutic and helpful. However, you should be careful about any talk that you know might get back to your ex. If you have already broken up, why would you need to hurt them with gossip?
Don't sleep with them for old time's sake:
Sleeping with your ex, even "for old time's sake," indicates that there are still unresolved feelings. Often times people do it as a way to “find out” if things have changed, but then when they realize they have not, it is like breaking up all over again.
And who wants to go through that all over again?!