Here’s to another almost there Thursday! One of our readers responded to yesterday’s post and raised the question: how do you let someone down easy? Well, there is no easy way to end things with someone when feelings are involved and time has been invested. But there are ways to break the news tastefully. Everybody has been on the receiving end of a devastating break-up at some point, while reliving the moment, we’ve all said to ourselves, “man, he/she could’ve said this” or “if he/she wouldn’t have been so nasty, it wouldn’t have been so rough.” Since you know the feeling that you’re about to hand over to your soon-to-be ex, it’s best to be firm yet gentle. Allow the space and opportunity for open, candid conversation. The point is for both people to walk away being a better person and having learned something about themselves that will be useful in future relationships. So here it goes . . . take a look!
Don’t Be a Punk About It - true story: relationships and marriage engagements have been called off via e-mail and text message! Digital break-ups degrade the depth of a relationship leading one to question if the other person was sincerely genuine to begin with. You have to be noble about these things and, as hard as it may be, have the conversation face-to-face and if that’s too much, a phone call will suffice.
Be Firm in Your Decision – that whole make-up to break-up business is for the birds! You know, the on-again, off-again madness? Then when it’s finally over, you’re not really sure because you’ve been down this road several times before and the both of you are wondering if “it’s really over this time.” Never use a break-up or “space” as leverage to get what you want out of someone because after that you can’t be taken seriously. Don’t waver with words like “maybe in time” or “if you had . . . ” Leave no room for question if “the fat lady’s singing.” It’s over . . . done . . . finished.
Thoroughly Explain - state your case. Let him/her know how you came to the decision to end things. Give them a general idea or specific event that marked the point of no return for you. You’ve likely had a discussion explaining why you’re unfulfilled in the relationship prior to its end, acknowledge the adjustments he/she and you tried to make to see it through and why it’s not going to work for you.
No Rehashing - there is absolutely no need to drudge up catastrophic events and hard times! You can’t dwell in the pain from the past if you’re moving forward, make sense? If you’re firm in your decision to split, then there’s no need to kick up dust or take him/her through the a variance of emotions. If you’re a peace with it, then peaceful it will be!
Allow Ventilation - again, the idea is for the both of you to walk away having learned something and, ultimately, be a better person because of it. When you’re not allowed the time, space and ear to vent your frustrations and why you might agree or disagree, you’re leaving or taking away excessive baggage. Once everything is out in the open, there’s just not much to harbor and he/she will move with ease.
Be Sensitive - if you’ve been out of reach for a week and finally call your significant other over to “talk.” then you already know you’re dropping a bomb that’s going to rock his or her world. There may be tears, fits of anger and cross examination, but you have to stay cool answer all questions the best you can and give them a moment if they need it. Remember, if it were you you’d expect a certain level of sensitivity.
Closure is Key - you both need closure. It may not come on the same day or within the same week for that matter. You know how you walk away from a situation saying, “dang, I should’ve asked this and said that.” Take some time and narrow it down to three, maybe four, questions or comments and mail them in letter form to him/her and expect no response. This is only meant to be therapeutic and to get any last thoughts off your chest. Take it step further and hold on to the letter for a week or so and if you feel the same intensity you felt when you wrote it, send it! If not, can it. Sometimes, literally, expressing your feelings onto a sheet of paper is all the closure you need.
Either way, this is not an easy conversation to have with anyone and it’s even more painful to be on the receiving end, so keep that in mind when you’re in the throws of a breakup because you never know when you might be the “dumpee.” You get what you give, no?