Breakup Etiquette | How to End It Gracefully

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So, you’ve found yourself struggling with a breakup. While it’s painful to be on the receiving end, sometimes it’s even worse to be the one doing the breaking up! It’s hard to hurt someone you care about—maybe even love. 

But it has to be done and done gracefully. It’s tricky; it’s emotional; but most importantly, it’s a big part of being a mature adult. So, grab an energy drink (or something stronger), focus, and let’s talk about break-up etiquette and how to do the deed in a kind and respectful way!


The Courteous Breakup

Romantic relationships coming to an end is just part of life, but that doesn’t make it easy. You have to look the person in the eyes and basically tell them that you are done with them. It sucks! 

One of the kindest things you can do is to rip off the band-aid—don’t string them along with fizzling or get cold feet because you feel guilty about hurting them. Being quick (not painless, we wish) about it is the best practice for ending things. There is no “nice” way to say goodbye, but how you handle it shows who you are at your core. Don’t be mean about it either! Even if they lash out at you for ending it, keep a stiff upper lip and bite your tongue the best you can.

thoughtfulness

Timing and Thoughtfulness

The when matters as much as the how, so avoid big events or special days. Don’t break up with them on their birthday or Christmas—you are not a monster! And please don’t do it the night before they have some huge work presentation if it can be helped. 

set the scene

Setting the Scene

Breaking up with your boo in person and in private is the best way. Public breakups get messy, and texts are cold and a no-no. Don’t be like Joe Jonas, who famously, or infamously, broke up with Taylor Swift via a 25-second call. Y’all remember that, right? Of course you do! Don’t be like Joe; show them decency and respect by talking to them face-to-face.

be honest

Be Honest

When you’re breaking up with someone, you gotta be honest with them about the “why,” but you don’t have to be cruel about it. Just tell them how you feel, gently.

And resist the urge to ghost them! Yes, it’ll be easier for you, but disappearing without a word leaves people with way too many questions and can hurt them more in the long run. Even if it’s tough and seems like the worst thing in the world, have that talk.

vent

Let Them Vent

A breakup is a two-way convo, not a monologue or a lecture, so give them a chance to share their side, too. Even if it isn’t going to sway your decision, it will help the dumpee to get their say and possibly a little closure.

Blaming each other helps no one, so stay away from the blame game if you can. Relationships go both ways—everyone has strengths and flaws.


aftermath

The Breakup Aftermath

You’ll also have to decide on how you’ll connect (or disconnect) after the breakup, depending on if it was sort of amicable or if you are the co-parents of a pet and will share custody. If not, you might want to unfollow each other on your socials and agree not to communicate, whether it’s by text, phone call, or late-night, had-a-few-drinks FaceTimes. Clear boundaries help when it comes to moving on and going forward after a breakup.

Even if the breakup was necessary, you could still be hurting over the loss, so take time to heal—do the self-care thing by being kind to yourself, hanging out with your friends, literally anything that makes you happy. Healing isn’t quick, so be patient if you are struggling emotionally; lean on friends, family, or professionals. Verbalizing feelings is always cathartic!

And we cannot say this strongly enough, but keep the super personal details off social media! Posting all that messy stuff is tempting at 2 a.m., we know, but it’s definitely best kept private for both of your sakes.


Takeaways

Every relationship provides lessons, so learn from the good and the bad and how they might shape your future romantic liaisons.

Speaking of the future, try to resist any rebound relationships, no matter the appeal of the person!  You need to allow yourself time to really get over the breakup and figure out what you want in a partner.

Farewells, though hard and heartbreaking, are an opportunity to know yourself better and to grow. We learn our boundaries, how to handle difficult conversations and our resilience. The conclusion of one chapter simply clears space for the next.

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