Just the words, break up, indicate a situation riddled with impending pain and loss. Even if both parties involved agree it is in their best interests to part romantic ways, there is still a certain amount of loss attached. The best way to approach a break up is to offer the person, to the best of your ability, a clean and clear separation. While there is no definitive way to do this, here are a few guidelines that may help you.
1 - Specific Reasons
Don't let them wonder what went wrong. Give them the exact specific reason why you want to break up. It will give them an opportunity to really evaluate what they've done to contribute to the demise of the relationship, and hopefully apply their knowledge to their next one.
2 - Where To Do It
If you think they will be terribly upset, try a public place that will afford you some privacy, but will deter your partner from possibly "acting up." If at all possible, try to do it some place you can be alone to really talk things through. Avoid places that contain happy memories from your relationship. You don't want to spoil them.
3 - How To Do It
While following guideline #1 is important, you also want to make sure you are not damaging their ego either. Make it clear to them that the relationship isn't working for you both because you expect different things from the relationship, or that you've reached a line that you don't feel you can cross back over. Take extra care in your choice of wording, but never lie.
4 - After The Break Up
Your first meetings after a break up can be strained, at best. If you don't feel you'll be comfortable being around them until your emotions are more under control, try a cold turkey break up. Agree neither of you will have contact with each other for an agreed amount of time. Make sure you agree on the set amount of time during the break up process, or the ideal of remaining friends after may diminish.
Your other option is to try a sliding scale approach. Agree to only call or see each other once or twice a week, and slowly narrow it down from there. Agree not to talk about certain things like wishing you were back together, or whether you are seeing anyone new, etc.
If you must remain in contact with them because of school, work or family it is important to remain mature about the situation. Don't run out and date everyone. Allow your partner some breathing room and time to digest their newly found situation. Also, avoid gossiping about what went wrong. It just makes everything ugly.
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