Ending a significant relationship is hard. Even folks with the best intentions of trying to protect their partner can, and often do, muck up the process. Here are a few thoughts on initiating and/or recovering from the end of a relationship that can help.
#1 Take responsibility
If you’re the one initiating the break up, own your decision. Avoid playing games or putting your partner in a position where they feel compelled to break up with you. Talk it over with a trusted friend or family member if you need gain perspective or accountability before hand.
#2 Do it face to face
This should be a no-brainer but, if you are over the age of 18 don’t rely on technology to deliver the news. Find time in a private, neutral setting where you can both be comfortable talking and listening.
#3 Act with dignity
Breaking up sucks. Don’t make it uglier by taking one last opportunity to verbally smack your partner around through blame and shame.
#4 Be honest
Trying to protect your partner by avoiding the truth is not doing them any favors in the long run. Avoid leaving things open if future reconciliation is not really a possibility.
#5 Avoid clichés (it’s not you it’s me)
They get in the way of #1 and #4 – don’t do use them.
#6 Don’t over-explain
There’s no need to convince your partner to see your side and in most cases you will fail horribly. Over-explaining usually succeeds in escalating frustration and entrenching positions. There’s something to be said about keeping it simple.
#7 Acknowledge the good times
Few relationships are all bad and, while you might initially be tempted to only focus on the negative as a way of avoiding hurt and loss, doing so just feeds bitterness and prolongs unhappiness. Keeping a balanced perspective may not always feel good but it will help get you to a better place faster.
#8 Don’t demonize your ex
Living in resentment and contempt hurts you way more than it hurts them. Broadcasting it for all to see just makes you look like the crazy one. Practice #7 as a way of avoiding resentment.
#9 Don’t try to blot out the pain
Trying to avoid pain is a pretty normal response but be sure to set aside some time to be sad, angry, or lost. Avoiding what’s really going on inside only serves to invalidate your experience and keeps you stuck.
#10 Resist thinking you’ve lost your soul mate
Checkout the world population clock to put things in perspective. With 6.8+ billion people on the planet, odds are that you will find someone else if you want to.