I have been faced with the need to break up with the love-of-my-life-du-jour more than a few times over the years. However, I suppose the most difficult breakup for me happened about 6 years ago. She was tall, smart, with auburn hair and a beautiful smile. But, the signs were all there and the two of us knew that it just wasn’t going to work out.
There were just too many issues, too many lingering questions, too many doubts – and it had to end. So, one day I simply mustered up the courage to confront her and initiated the breakup. I will spare you the gory details, but suffice to say it ended badly.
Looking back on that fateful day, as I have done many times since then when the memory periodically pops into my head when I least expect it, I have studied what I did right and (much more significantly) what I did wrong.
For the benefit of future generations (and anyone reading this article), I have taken the time to put together some advice for breaking up in terms of what not – under any circumstances – to do. So here they are: the 4 things you must avoid when breaking up with him or her.
Thing to Avoid #1: Being too brutally honest : Sure, we all love honesty. We are told from the moment we can talk (and understand) that we should in all cases tell the truth. Well, I am here to tell you: during a breakup, there is a limit to how honest you should be. Don’t tell her you always hated her poetry. Avoid mentioning that his breath smells like an old shoe. Skip the part about that hottie from the office you had a crush on but never did anything about because you are such a good person. The point is: be honest, sure, but don’t be too honest. Otherwise, you will just be adding insult to injury, the equivalent of saying, “Don’t let the door slam your backside on the way out.”
Thing to Avoid #2: Do it via e-mail, phone or text message: Breakups are fragile. Breakups are delicate. Breakups require trust and honesty. So, for goodness sake, don’t use electronic communications to do the deed! You have heard of corporations firing people via e-mail or text messages. This is about as low, by my reckoning, as you can go in terms of how you treat another human being while remaining tenuously within the realms of legality. Now, imagine doing the same with a breakup: it just won’t go over well, nor should it. Yes, by doing the electronic thing you may sparing yourself the temporary discomfort of that awkward in-person breakup. But, STILL, c’mon: that is no excuse. Be a man or woman and do the right thing and break up in person.
Thing to Avoid #3: Calling afterward to see how they are doing: Okay, so if you have even a shred of remaining feelings for or goodwill toward your jilted lover, 2 hours (or 2 days or 2 weeks) after the breakup, you may have the overwhelming desire to call them just to see how they are doing. Don’t do it! You will only be forcing that person to have to embarrassingly share that they are in deep pain over your breakup. Or, worse, you may entice the two of you to meet for coffee and then – who knows what else that will lead to – all because it feels good in the short term but may be very bad in the long term. So, don’t call. Let some time pass – lots of time. Let the wounds heal.
Thing to Avoid #4: Ruling out possibility that the relationship could be rekindled: In life, there is never any final confirmation from the heavens that the decisions we have made were the best ones. Sure, they were the best we could do at the time, but later we may get new information (from the world outside or from our own hearts and minds) that changes our perception about what we could or should have done at a key juncture. Indeed , in some cases a breakup may not be the best choice for the two of you after all. Don’t rule out the possibility that staying together – or making up again – may be just the thing the doctor ordered.
Cliché or not, breaking up is hard to do. I can’t promise you advice on the right way to do it, but I can tell you with some fair degree of confidence (from my own experience) what NOT to do. So, if you are heading the way of a breakup, here’s to you. All I can say for sure is to be smart and proceed with caution. If you have already broken up or are considering it but think your relationship deserves another chance, hang in there. Do your homework and find out how to make your relationship work. It just might be worth saving!