Breaking up is hard to do — that’s an understatement. But as terrible as it is, breaking up is a part of dating and relationships. It’s something that everyone experiences at some point, so it’s important to know how to do the deed in the best and most sensitive way possible.
No two relationships or people are the same, but here are five general tips:
1. Don’t drag it out: As hard as you think breaking up will be, it will be even harder and more painful if you drag the relationship on for longer and then break up. If you think there is a real chance of making it work, then by all means take some more time to see it through. But if you’ve already made your final decision, DO NOT continue the relationship. If you do, you are just wasting the other person’s time, allowing them to become more attached to you, and preventing them from moving on and finding their true love. They will probably be furious at you for doing it, and rightfully so. Don’t let it come to that. When you know it’s not going to work, let them know ASAP.
2. Pick the right time and place: Time to share a personal story. When I was studying in Jerusalem in 1991, I dated a woman for almost 3 months. Towards the end, while I was planning to propose, she was planning to break up. In the meantime Saddam Hussein decided to shoot scud missiles at Israel and it became a stressful and demoralizing time.
My girlfriend’s family lived in a small village in a part of Israel deemed to be safe from attack, so she invited me to come out there to spend a couple of days to get away from the stress, and potential danger of the city. The only thing I remember is that at some point during my stay, she broke up with me and there was no way for me to leave until the next day.
The point of this story is that when you do decide to break up, pick a time and place that is sensitive to the other person. Also, don’t wait until the holidays or some special event to ruin someone’s mood. Give them a little time to deal with things before having to face all of their friends and family. I guess the best, and maybe the only, way to gauge what the right time is for a breakup is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were broken up with at that particular time?”