The COVID19 pandemic has made it easy for us to fall out of touch with the people in our lives. For many people, in this era, not contacting your loved ones is acceptable behavior. But, when it comes to breaking off close relationships with intimate partners, things are as complicated as they ever were.
Cutting ties with anyone who has a deep connection with you isn’t easy. However, if you’re in an unhappy or unfruitful relationship, you shouldn’t feel guilty for considering a breakup. According to life coach Jonah Engler, delaying this decision can cause you more heartbreak in the long run.
But is there a “gracious” way of ending a relationship? Can two adults gracefully come to terms with the fact that the end is inevitable? Of course! It’s all about recognizing the signs that say it’s time to break up and addressing them in a thoughtful manner. Here’s how you can ensure your breakup is gracious honest, and respectful.
Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Position
Feeling indecisive about breaking up? Put yourself in your partner’s position. Would you consider dating someone who is secretly harboring second thoughts about the relationship? No, right? Then, respect your partner’s right to know exactly how you feel.
If you remain indecisive, you’re only wasting their time and kindness. So, now is the right time to break up. When approaching the big breakup talk, put yourself in your partner’s position again.
- Envision how they would feel when you break the news. Plan for uncomfortable situations in advance.
- Pick a place, and communication method that you deem is acceptable as per your standards.
- Would you be comfortable receiving news about your breakup in the same place via the same communication method? If not, reconsider your approach.
For instance, many people feel that a two-minute phone is appropriate for breaking up a months-long relationship. It’s not. Always consider how the other person will feel before approaching this topic.
Criticize, But Don’t Assign Blame
You may want to break up with your partner because of his/her unsatisfying personality, bad behavior, or any other reason. Regardless, it’s never good to assign blame when you’re parting ways.
When you assign blame and say things like “I feel you are….,” things only get worse. Going into every reason behind your decision to break up is not necessary. However, do expect your partner to ask you to explain your decision.
If that happens, share constructive criticism. Your partner will never like what you have to say at this point – no matter how you phrase it. But, the fact that you’re trying to be as considerate as possible will make your partner feel slightly better.
They may not express that you’re handling the breakup well at that moment. But, your long-term relationship will be much friendlier if you display consideration and care in your final conversation.
Select the Right Place and Time
Are there any “right” places to break up? Well, no place feels nice when your heart is broken. But, from the perspective of the partner who is breaking up the relationship, there are many “right” breakup locations.
- Always avoid locations that your partner is close to. For example, don’t break up in your partner’s favorite coffee shop. In the future, he/she may get emotionally triggered when they visit this place.
- Similarly, avoid breaking up inside his/her home. You’ll just make their day-to-day home life more challenging.
- Instead, choose a location where you both feel comfortable. The location shouldn’t be too crowded. Or else, your partner may not get the chance to express their feelings comfortably.
Breaking up into a less-crowded public space is a good move. Their reaction will be under control. They also won’t feel embarrassed by people staring at them. Jonah Engler always advises his students to avoid ultra-private breakups.
These types of private conversations take longer. When two people are intensely expressing their emotions, things can take a dramatic turn very quickly. That’s not gracious at all.
Know What You Need to Say
Your mind will generate a million thoughts when you hear your partner’s reaction to the big news. Avoid sharing these thoughts on the spot. Prepare your “break up speech.” Try to say only the things you’ve planned to say.
Don’t lie, but don’t avoid telling the truth either. If you explain your thoughts gently, your partner will not get the chance to get even more upset.
End the Talk by Establishing Clear Boundaries
Many couples tend to break up several times – only to get back together again. These types of relationships don’t last. These types of breakups don’t last either. The worst types of breakups are the ones that keep going on and on.
They keep going on and on because partners don’t establish clear boundaries between themselves. You want to cut all ties means you want to cut all ties. That means you should be determined not to contact your ex in the near future.
The first week following the breakup will be the toughest. In this crucial moment, you must avoid contacting your partner. Or else the gracious breakup you just had wouldn’t mean anything.
Being “gracious” means being considerate. A gracious breakup must lead to self-growth. If you don’t grow as a partner after a breakup, you’re not improving. This lack of improvement may cause you more trouble in your future relationships. A key part of having a healthy breakup is self-assessment.
You need to identify your contributions to the failing relationship. Were you faking it all along the way? What exactly do you want from a relationship? What could I have done better to preserve the relationship? If you don’t answer these types of questions, you may struggle in the same way in future relationships.
Breakups will never feel good. But, bad relationships are much worse. So, if you’re in a bad relationship – feel the lack of satisfaction. Feel your unhappiness. Don’t run away from these valid emotions. Don’t postpone your breakup; dive right in. Use this guide to make this process as gracious as possible!