Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How To Break Up

When You Know It's Over

First, how do you end it?

If you were once in love, and if you were once good friends, wouldn't it be wise to end it like you started, to the extent possible? There are a few good rules to abide by in breaking off a relationship.

How to Break Up:

1. Be nice. Let them know you enjoyed their company, had some good times, and wish them well in the future.

Maybe you're thinking, "Scott, you're nuts. There's no way I'm going to give her flowers while I'm dumping her." Or, "Scott, are you outta sight or what? I'm not giving him a massage and showing up with garter belts under my dress when I'm telling him to get lost!"
I know, it's hard. BUT, all I can say is that through any difficult situation, as well as any FUN situation, the same basic rule of life still applies: LOVE is the ANSWER!

PLEASE keep in mind that I'm NOT saying "go back and do it again, baby" because I know that cyclic relationships are usually unhealthy relationships. And unhealthy relationships ought not be continued for the better of all parties involved. I'm just saying be kind, be respectful, be good, be polite, be decent. Is it that hard?

2. When you break up, offer encouragement, if possible. Example: "I hope you find the love you seek."

3. During a break-up is not the time to tell them everything that is wrong with them. This is not the time to tell them all the things they messed up on during the relationship. If you intend to do this, do it with a counselor, not to your partner. If they ask, "why are you breaking up with me," tell them one or two key things that are unchangeable about the situation or that you see as not working for you or the both of you. In your description, be very simple (don't say more than you need to), be specific, and be positive by framing each negative around two positives (PNP approach). Don't lie or tell them it's you not them. Just make it about CIRCUMSTANCES rather than personality. That's the nice thing to do.

4. Initially, do not continue to write them, call them, contact them, or ask for anything back besides the first time you ask for it (Occasionally, people do weird things to "get back" at their ex-lover, such as keeping their stuff. If this happens and your things are very valuable or quite important to you, and they refuse to return them within two weeks, let them know you'll be alerting authorities unless they return the items within a week. If they do not return them within this time, follow through and you'll likely get your things back.) Otherwise, consider it the same as if a thief had stolen from you at random. You'll get over it, regardless of what they keep. But minimize all contact during the break up.

5. If you work or go to school with your ex, be cordial but let it go at that. If they decide to be friends with you later, it should be the person who was dumped to reach out and make that happen. If you were the dumper, rather than dumpee, then you should reach out when you are comfortable that you've moved on from the relationship and let them know you intend to be friends, but I do not suggest doing this during the initial breakup period. I once knew a woman who continued working her old job where her ex also worked. She talked about how she was broken up "but not really out of it" for MONTHS after the break-up. Years, in fact. If working together makes the situation particularly difficult, I suggest finding a new place of employment.
It will be better in the long run for both of you.

6. Remember to smile. Remember to pray. Remember that you will get through your break-up and try to keep yourself happy. When you get down, look up - it raises the spirits. If you get bummed out, work out. If you get stressed, play music, learn to paint, learn something new. whatever, just don't sit there and stew in bad feelings.

7. When you break up, it is good if you can end up friends. If you can't figure that out within one year, let it go. When you are comfortable, try to reach out in a positive way, and at least let them know that you wish them well. This is a positive way to reset closure in case the initial breakup ended with resentments. It can also be helpful to forgive each other, and to accept each other's offer of forgiveness. Forgiveness is important to release anger, resentment, and negative bonding cords so that you may love again in the future. Remember, show mercy. As you show mercy to others, so it will be that mercy will be shown to you.

8. When you break up, don't surprise anybody. If you're thinking about ending it, you ought to have had some discussion about how the relationship isn't working for you. Don't just one day, out of the blue, say "I'm done," and leave. That's not cool. Is that how you'd want to be treated? If things aren't working, you ought to have been communicating what hasn't worked for a period of MONTHS, or certainly at least days. The break-up shouldn't come as a surprise.

9. Unlike in the movie, The Break-Up, starring Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn, don't tell your guy you want to break up, if in fact you really are just trying to get him to notice and show appreciation for you. Breaking up is a terminator. He likely will act as a guy who has been dumped rather than more appreciative (as in the movie) and it will backfire on you, big-time.

I'd recommend you make an effort to break up in a loving way. You never know, you just might get back together and wouldn't want to regret what you said. Also, what would you want someone to say to you? The golden rule is a wise rule to follow when you break up.

Learn more about how to deal with a break-up at AspireNow:

The AspireNow Break Up Guide
How To Get Over A Painful Breakup
Digging In The Dirt

Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, 3rd Edition (Rebuilding Books; For Divorce and Beyond) Amazon Price: $10.34 List Price: $16.95

The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life Amazon Price: $7.99 List Price: $15.00

This article is written by Scott Andrews, Founder of AspireNow. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

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