How to have the breakup conversation…

The build-up to the breakup talk is awkward, uncomfortable, anxiety-provoking… should I keep going? It hovers day after day over you as you try to decide “When’s the best time?” and “What do I say?”. Naturally you don’t want to cause someone pain or feelings of rejection. But, no matter what, your anxiety about the breakup talk comes from a place of caring, a place of love; and, it’s okay to embrace the anxiety and move forward. We all know ending a relationship sucks. So let me share some things to help you through this process.

You don’t need a “good enough” reason to justify wanting to end a relationship.

If you’re sure you want to end things, you’re allowed to no longer be into the relationship. Don’t pick a fight or wait for your partner to screw up so you can have a “good enough” reason for ending the relationship. While this may make you feel justified or better about ending it, this is really just manipulative. It can cause your partner more pain as they blame themselves for the ending or carry around the notion that if they didn’t mess up then the relationship might still be intact. It’s okay for you to have the talk based on your needs for when you’re ready to end things.

It’s okay to have boundaries during your breakup conversation.

Don’t let the conversation drag on for hours and become an emotional tornado. This is painful for everyone. You do need to give your partner some time to digest the information and ask questions and get answers. However, don’t let this drag on for hours. Instead, create healthy boundaries. Allow time to have the talk, give space for Q&A and then wrap it up. For longer term relationships, the injured party might need time to digest the information and work through the shock. So what does this mean for you? It means, you might have the breakup talk, with the same questions and dialogue a second time once your ex has some space. Don’t be surprised by this. When emotionally upset, our thinking and processing of information greatly decreases. It’s normal for your ex to need the conversation again for their own closure. So here’s the boundary, keep the first conversation to an appropriate length and if you’re willing, allow for a second conversation.  Keep reading… let me explain.

Why a second conversation?

The person doing the ending of a relationship is much further along in the processing of the relationship being over. However, the injured party is not in the same emotional place. Allowing a second brief conversation, if needed, gives your partner the respect to process the ending, verbalize concerns questions and feelings and get their closure as well.*Every relationship is different, so this may not be the right course of action if the dynamics of your relationship weren’t healthy.

Plan ahead for “the talk” and the weeks after

Prepare what you want to say, and, yes, this should be in person, to decrease your anxiety and aid in being compassionate, respectful, clear and succinct. (Refrain from listing flaws or details about what you don’t like about them.) Use I statements versus we as this will leave room for your partner to disagree with your points. I made this decision because xxxMy concern is that xxx. When you get pushback or shock from your partner validate their feelings. I can see where you’re coming from, I understand what you’re sharing. I also have loved spending time together and have so many great memories and at the same time xxx. I know this is difficult, but I’ve decided it’s best to end the relationship.

Also, consider what you want the weeks or months after the breakup to look like. This can be decided together if your partner’s willing to discuss this. If not, share what your vision is. This way, your ex and you know what to expect which creates predictability and an essence of control. Example: I care about you/love you and think it’s best if we aren’t in touch for 3 months. Not hearing from me doesn’t mean I don’t miss you but I need to work through this breakup and being in communication will be too difficult.Areas to consider: contact vs no contact (we support no contact at NSC for various reasons click here for more: Ugh, I texted my Ex!), social media, mutual friends, living arrangements, how/when to exchange personal belongings, etc.

There’s no perfect time for a breakup but there is a loving way to end a relationship. In summary, here’s how to end a relationship gracefully:

  • End the relationship (in person) when you want to end it, don’t drag it out or use avoidance techniques
  • Be concise, clear. State your desire to end the relationship,
  • Provide the reasons from a heart-centered space. Don’t place blame or detail faults or flaws. State or discuss the boundaries and expectations for the coming weeks/months.
  • Lastly, say your goodbyes with love, kindness and strength.