I’m afraid I’ve done this too much, and have an overly systematic mind, so I can now literally “write the book” on it… :-\
How to break up
- Prepare your support network.
When you’re dating someone, most of your emotional support and time consumption is taken up by one person. When you’re single, your emotional support and time consumption is taken up by many different people. If you know you’re going to break up with someone, start preparing your “safety net” first. Reconnect with friends. Schedule your social time with different friends. When there’s something to call someone about, start finding the right friends to call. I like to picture it as a net into which I’m going to fall…
- Know for sure.
I call this “evaluation mode”. Be sure the problems you’re having aren’t just issues that you’re going to have in any relationship. If they are, work on them or you’re just going to have the same problem next time. If it’s really just that you’re not compatible with this person, then be sure of it and get ready to…
- Break it off
Remember – relationships are about compatibility. You’re looking for the person you’re most compatible with. Things that this person does that bother you may endear them to the person they’re supposed to be with. Whether or not you believe in the concept of a “soul mate”, there is someone who will work well with their character. If you don’t “fit” together, you guys need to move on to find the person that does. Also, you may be compatible for a certain phase of your life only. Maybe that time has now passed. Also remember that relationships are multi-colored, not black and white. You are just changing the tone of the relationship, not cutting off all existence completely. With any luck, if there was anything to the relationship in the first place, you can be friends down the line (but do allow some cool-off time to re-establish your separate lives). Be kind and keep this in mind when you “have the talk”. Do it in person – it’s easier because they can see your sincerity and you can communicate muchmore effectively.
- The aftermath
Focus on your friend network. Keep yourself busy. Allow yourself to feel sad. Saying “this sucks” is fine. Breaking up does suck.Dealing with the post-breakup.
Your brain has built a connection to the other person and will need to dissamble it. You have some control over this. When you’re in the relationship, there are things that will make you think of the other person. This is part of the “bridge”. After the relationship, something will happen that would make you think of the other person. Imagine a thought traveling down the “bridge” that would have gone to the other person, but it now finds the other side is gone. This causes pain, and can make you want to call or see them. Instead, recognize this occurrence, and find another place for the thought to go – one of the friends in the network you built up.You can also “phase out” the relationship. You don’t have to stop talking altogether. I’ve sometimes gotten along better with a girlfriend just after breaking up than when I’ve been going out with her. This is because the breakup was a clarification of communication that we didn’t have before. They’ll have these moments too, so this can work for both of you. But, this can also be more difficult, so go to the friend network whenever possible.
Is it really that easy to break up? It’s never easy, but this has worked for me too many times, and makes it easy on both people, I think. It’s important to understand why you’re together, and why you’re breaking up. A relationship is about being compatible. If you’re not, it’s not good for either of you.
Good luck, and I hope you find “the one”.