Breaking up is hard to do. There’s just no way around it.
But there is a way to honor and respect the relationship, the other person and yourself when it’s time to call it quits and to do so with the utmost care and compassion.
This week’s episode is Part 2 of “Should You Stay or Go?” and if you haven’t seen it or you’re confused about whether the relationship you’re currently in is the right one for you, you should go watch that now to get some clarity.
If you know it’s time to end it or if you’ve ever had a terrible breakup before and you don’t ever want to have that happen again, I’m giving you a step-by-step guide on how to end it with someone and treat them (and yourself!) with loving-kindness.
Step One: Prepare.
Before you actually break up with someone, take the time to think through your own reasons and feelings. If you know you’re going to do it, admit it to yourself. Let go of denial and come to a decision. (And if you need some help with this, go here to download my 15 Strategic Q’s from Should You Stay or Go).
Write down what you want to say. Keep in mind that you don’t have to justify why you’re not in love with someone anymore or why you want to break up with them. Sometimes someone can be perfectly awesome and still not be your person. It happens.
If you’re struggling with thinking things like “but he/she is so great” or “they didn’t do anything wrong” try this reframe:
They deserve to be with someone who is madly and deeply in love with them. By breaking up, you are setting them FREE to find that person.
Once you get your thoughts out on paper, you can ask a trusted friend to help you practice talking it out and role play any objections you think you might encounter.
Try not to be defensive or say hurtful things. Try not to wait until you literally cannot take one more second cuz you might just find yourself standing on a street corner holding your pillow at 2 AM trying to flag down a cab to take to your sister’s so you can get the hell outta there (I mean…hypothetically speaking…) ?
Step 2: Pick the right time, right place.
Please do yourself a favor and don’t keep putting it off. The longer you wait, the harder it will be, and sometimes, we can start unconsciously doing things in an effort to get them to break up with us. Which prolongs everyone’s pain.
If you can, do it in person. It’s honorable and respectful and if this is a normal breakup, a face-to-face conversation can help both of you get into acceptance that this is the end. You can do it in private or in public if you think things might get heated.
That said, if you truly feel afraid to do it in person, there’s a reason for that. If there’s abuse or other mental health issues, I have resources for you here on how to safely leave your relationship.
Step 3: Be clear and concise.
You have to go into it knowing it’s most likely going to be an uncomfortable conversation, especially if that person isn’t expecting it or doesn’t want the relationship to end. I’ve been there and my fear of hurting the other person (or them being angry at me) kept me stuck. And I think we can all agree that the dreaded, “we need to talk” does nothing to make the conversation better – it just creates massive anxiety until the “talk” happens. Just the worst, am I right?
Be honest, but don’t go into unnecessary or hurtful details. Frame what you say around how you’re feeling and use “I” language. Now isn’t the time to shame or blame the other person. Try not to put the onus on them. You can tell them the truth without making them wrong.
Be as clear and concise as possible. You don’t have to give them lengthy explanations or defend your reasons. If you want out it’s ok. That’s your right.
Step 4: Don’t make a lot of promises you won’t keep.
Have you ever been so afraid of hurting the person you’re breaking up with that you say things like… “Let’s take a break” or “I just need some time” or the dreaded…”Let’s stay friends”?
Any of the above honestly, has the potential to cause more future heartbreak because it’s letting in that little sliver of hope and not allowing that person to get closure and move on with their life.
Step 5: Make a clean break.
In the beginning, going no contact for a while is always my recommendation.
You can set it up in the break-up conversation that you’ll refrain from texting and phone calls, and even that you’ll be taking a break from social media so that you both have space to process and heal (block, unfollow, unfriend, whatever it takes).
The truth is, you can’t be the person that helps them through it. Again, it will just cause more pain. It’s loving to let them move on. And for the love of God, no friends with benefits!
Step 6: Move On.
Spend some time alone so you can understand, unpack and grieve.
Even if you’re the one who’s initiating the breaking up, you need to take time to mourn the dreams you had for that relationship.
The aftermath of a breakup can feel devastating and brutal, so be kind to yourself. Dive into self-care, spend time with friends and family or do something fun that’s just for you.
Check out this episode, 10 Ways to Mend A Broken Heart, for more tips on how to care for yourself after a breakup.
I hope this was helpful for you and that you feel more equipped to break up in a way that is kind, loving and respectful. It’s never easy but remember: who you do and do not share your life with is YOUR choice. If this episode added value to your life, please share it on your social media platforms.
I so appreciate you and as always, take care of you.
P.S. And to my podcast peeps – if you’re feeling the love for The Terri Cole Show, would you be kind enough to drop a good review on iTunes so we can help more people? Together, we are transforming the world one episode, one listener, at a time. Click here to spread the love! ❤️