Breaking Up: The Nice Way
Probably the only thing worse than being dumped is being the person about to do the dumping. If you’re the one breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, there’s the guilt, the indecision, AND you have to figure out when, where, and how to pull the trigger. A question I hear all the time is: “What’s a nice way to break up with someone?”
Honestly, the majority of the time break ups aren’t nice, and I’m not going to lie to you and say there’s something you can do to make everything go really smoothly. That being said, there is a lot that you can do to make your break up fair. And at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can ask for. If you are thinking of getting out of a relationship, keep these things in mind:
- It’s Worse to Stay With Someone You Don’t Like. On the outside it may seem like you’re doing the “nice” thing by staying with someone you’re just not that into. But really, that’s one of the worst things you can do. Some advice my dad gave me recently: “everyone deserves to be with someone they adore, and to be adored by the someone they’re with.” You deserve to find someone you really like, but more than that, the guy or girl you’re with deserves to be with someone who really likes them. And if that’s not you, you’re not doing them any favors by sticking around.
- Don’t make your partner do your dirty work. I remember my first few boyfriends were big fans of this move: “I’ll just be a jerk, so she’ll dump me.” And you guessed it, that move was super lame. Although tempting, it’s not fair to just stop calling someone, make excuses to not see someone, or just generally be rude or standoffish because you aren’t happy in your relationship. Don’t try to make yourself so hard to deal with that your partner has to dump you. If you want to end a relationship, grow a pair and do it yourself.
- When you do it, be honest (ish). Anyone you’ve been dating deserves a certain amount of truth about why you’re breaking up with them. This is not to say that you can’t sugarcoat it a little bit (you don’t always have to be brutally honest), but don’t feel like you have to fall back on excuses like “I just want to spend more time with my friends” if the real reason is “I just don’t feel the same way about you that I used to.”
- Initially your ex may hate you, but that’s okay. Be prepared for the fact that initially your ex may be upset and not want to talk to you. That’s okay, and that’s totally normal. If they need space, give them space. If you give them time to be mad at you, get over you, and heal, it’s WAY more likely that you’ll have a chance of being friends with them in the long run.
- I promise, eventually you’ll be fine. When you end a relationship, even if you’re the one who wanted to end it, it can feel like a giant sinking hole in your stomach mixed with the worse barf flu you’ve ever had. But even though at the time it feels like you’ll never feel whole again, you will. Trust me. As someone who has been through many a break up, it does get better—cliché as it sounds, it just takes time.
Most of all though, don’t feel guilty. People get into relationships knowing that they might end. The possibility that things won’t work out is clear from the very beginning, so when you start dating, they know what they’re signing up for. So don’t feel bad about having to break up with someone. Feel bad about going about it the wrong way. Being fair and honest with your partner, and doing your best to give them whatever closure they need, is all anyone can ask for out of a break up.
Amber Madison has been writing about sex, love, and relationships since college (she went to Tufts University) when she wrote for her school newspaper's sex ed column. Since graduating, she's published two books: Hooking Up: A Girl's All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality and Talking Sex With Your Kids and has been quoted in a ton of different media outlets from Seventeen magazine to MTV to NPR. Have a question for Amber? Send us an email!