Author Topic: How to break up?  (Read 4184 times)

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PaddedPaws

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How to break up?
« on: August 23, 2011, 07:14:01 PM »
This question is prompted by a specific sitution, but that situation has been resolved. I'm asking it now more for general information. A friend of mine broke up with her boyfriend of three months last week. There was nothing "wrong" and she does still like him a lot, but she wasn't falling in love with him and was ready to move on. She asked me for advice on how to break up with him, and I had no idea. She didn't know where to do it, how to do it, and so on.

She knew not to do it over the phone, and she knew not to do it at his place or hers. But being in public had its own problems. For example, going to a restaurant for dinner was a terrible idea. She ended up asking him to meet her at a mall after they were both done work. There was no place private to talk - not even a coffee shop. The whole place was really busy. So she asked him to go for a walk around the mall with her. During the walk she said that she couldn't be in the relationship anymore, but that she continues to care about him as a person and wishes him all the best in life.

As far as breakups go, it went well enough. Their communication was civil and polite, and it's likely that they can be friendly acquaintances at least. But I know the whole process of figuring out how to break up, and even finding the right words to say, caused her a lot of stress and anxiety, especially since she wanted to be as kind to him as she could. I didn't know what to tell her because I don't have much personal experience in that regard.

I'd love to get feedback on this. If you cared for somebody and wanted to break up with somebody as amicably as possible, how would you do it?

BatCity

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 08:07:45 PM »
Paws, I have broken many hearts in my day (of course, my day was about twenty years ago)!

I think the most important thing is that it's done with respect for the other person's feelings; other than that, you can't expect to find the perfect place and time.  It sounds like your friend did just fine. 

This is probably the #1 reason that it sometimes takes people way too long to break off relationships.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 11:53:04 PM »
I think your friend handled it well. I'm also glad she did it AFTER work. I had an ex who broke up with my during my lunch hour, when I was doing work experience that counted towards my degree. It was very hard to return to work that afternoon and put on a brave face, and make a good impression, etc.

blarg314

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2011, 01:22:55 AM »

I would say also keep it short and sweet as to reasons. Definitely don't ever give them a list, verbally or written, of all the reasons you're breaking up with them, or what's wrong with them. And justifying it by saying "Oh, this will help them in their next relationship," is not a good reason.

Breaking up is sort of like ripping off a bandaid. It hurts a lot, but it has to be done, and dragging it out makes the pain last a lot longer.  So once you've decided to breakup with someone do it as soon as possible and do it finally, rather than describing it as "taking a break".  And then don't try to be friends, or be extra attentive right after, because you're feeling bad. That will just make the dumpee feel like your having second thoughts, and give them false hope.



Danika

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2011, 03:07:58 AM »
I think she did a good job because she still likes him and wishes him well.

In retrospect, I dated a lot of controlling, borderline abusive men. So I generally broke up with them on the phone because then I could say what I had to say and not listen to a ton of whining or threats for too long and could get off the phone.

Winterlight

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2011, 09:24:13 AM »
I think that it should be done in person if possible, however, if you feel in any kind of danger you should use whatever medium is safest. I'd skip skywriters, though.  >:D

OP, I think your friend was fine. After three months and no spark, there's no point in dragging things out. Also, it's kinder to the other person- this way he can get on with his life and hopefully find the right person.
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celtic_lady

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2011, 09:45:47 AM »
POD to blarg314. I wasn't much of a dater before DH. The people I did "break up" with never got to the point of being serious or exclusive, so I was either able to slowly fade out or I just told them that I didn't think we were a good match and it wasn't really a big deal. I did have 2 serious BFs prior to meeting DH, but in both cases I was the one who was dumped. Both handled it badly IMO. One broke it off with me just prior to a 5 hour bus ride home (I had been visiting him at college) so I was a blubbering mess for almost the entire trip. The other never actually broke up with me which was much, much worse. He had been getting more and more distant, used work as an excuse to avoid seeing me regularly, and then eventually stopped taking my calls, etc. I was living in another country at the time and finally just gave up trying as my time there was coming to an end and I was heading home anyway. It was hard, though, because I never really got any closure. As others have said, I don't think there's ever really a good time or place to break up with someone, but I do think that there are some seriously bad ways to handle it. Under the circumstances, I think your friend handled it well.

WillyNilly

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2011, 10:07:49 AM »
Break ups are never easy.  And there is never a good time from them (although certainly some times are worse then others).

I actually think your friend did it perfectly.  A mall is a great place for a break up as it provides privacy in that no one really pays attention to anyone else - everyone is in their own bubble, but its also public enough that its safe (both from physical violence but also from over the top reactions).  It didn't involve spending money (like breaking up over a meal) and both people had their own transportation.

Yvaine

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 10:15:15 AM »
I think that it should be done in person if possible, however, if you feel in any kind of danger you should use whatever medium is safest. I'd skip skywriters, though.  >:D


The other time the phone is good is when it's a long-distance relationship. No one wants to take time off work, spend travel money, get to their SO's town, only to get dumped once they get there!

I also agree that your friend handled it well.

Winterlight

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2011, 12:00:04 PM »
I think that it should be done in person if possible, however, if you feel in any kind of danger you should use whatever medium is safest. I'd skip skywriters, though.  >:D


The other time the phone is good is when it's a long-distance relationship. No one wants to take time off work, spend travel money, get to their SO's town, only to get dumped once they get there!

I also agree that your friend handled it well.

That's why I said, "if possible." I agree- in an LDR, inviting the person to meet you so you can break up sounds like a bad idea!
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
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To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
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IWish

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2011, 12:10:32 PM »
The way NOT to break up a three year relationship is to simply stop calling or answering calls from the other person. Then, when that person finally gets in touch with you after leaving increasingly frantic messages for two weeks, never reply that you "were going to mail them a letter but hadn't finished writing it yet."

Not that this ever happened to me, mind you.  ::)

For the record, we lived in the same town and were both in our 30's so there was no excuse for not doing it face to face. Out of all the break ups in my life, it was the most cowardly.

bah12

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2011, 01:21:16 PM »
I think how to go about a break up really is dependant on the nature of the relationship, the length, and the level of commitment in that relationship.

For example, I would break up with my DH (never plan to!) much differently than I would break up with someone that I've been dating for a few months.  And I'd break up with someone I've gone a few dates with much differently than how I'd handle a relationship that was committed and lasted a year or more.

The way your friend handled her breakup was good.  She didn't have a long standing commited relationship to deal with, but at the same time, she liked the guy and respected what they did have.  She wasn't afraid that his reaction would be overbord, so taking a walk and letting him know how she feels (agree with keeping it short and sweet) was appropriate.

I do think that there are occassions where it's perfectly fine to break up over the telephone and others (like in the case of a very long standing relationship) where doing it in person, in private, and where more specific details need to be given for full closure and healing.  I can handle someone I've been seeing a month telling me that they just don't see our relationship progressing and leaving it at that, but would never accept that short of an explanation from my DH.  KWIM?

Sterling

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2011, 03:53:21 PM »
I don't agree that a public place is always the best option.  My ex dumped me at his place.  I actually was grateful that he didn't do it in public since I cried.  I would hate to be embarrassed like that in public.  He did handle things really respectfully.  And he also cried a bit so I know he wouldn't have wanted to be in public.  But we also had been dating for over a year and had been nearly living together.

Now we are friends and still see each other 4-5 times a week.

For the record I do think your friend did things just right.
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Allyson

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2011, 08:48:43 PM »
Ooh, this is hard. I hear so many complaints about bad breakups, but who's going to say 'Yeah, he dumped me in a really great way!'

My ex and I had plans to hang out, and he dumped me then--I was expecting to see him all that night, but he came over and we broke up. I don't think he did it badly, and I was able to call up a female friend and spend the day with her, so I wasn't too much of a wreck.

I did the awful thing and broke up wtih someone over MSN. I didn't mean to, it just kind of..came out in the discussion we were having.

blarg314

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Re: How to break up?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2011, 09:47:19 PM »

I think a lot of this applies to breaking up with steady dating relationships where you haven't made a formal commitment.  If you're engaged, living together, or married, then you simply can't do a single, clean break-up talk and go your separate ways, because it takes time to detangle belongings and finances, find a new place to live,  and so on. In the case of a marriage, except in extreme circumstances (abuse, or you find out your spouse is cheating on you), you've reached a point where you need to work your way up to ending the relationships by trying to fix what is wrong.