How To Break Up

This post was originally written for a zine created by participants in our Summer Peer Leadership Program (SPLI). It was created by and for high school students.

by Gurleen Kaur

What Not To Do

“The Reverse Psychology”

You’re not breaking up with them, they’re breaking up with you. This could mean creating an environment where you make the relationship not viable for the other person. Maybe you are suddenly messy when you know your partner likes cleanliness, or you’re suddenly mean, or high maintenance, or whatever makes the situation worse. If your partner loves Harry Potter, you now hate it. It’s about putting off the blame, and instead of facing your problem, you chose to let someone else deal with it.

“The Disappearing Act”

Artwork created for the Summer Peer Leadership Institute Zine.

Just cut off all contact and pretend they don’t exist. You might as well be dead if the other person asks. Suddenly, all night conversations become no night conversations. You are like a weird dream because of how sudden communication was cut. The appeal of not facing any emotional backlash might be too tempting to resist. You end up leaving behind an emotional tornado of confusion and hurt that your partner deals with.

“The Vengeful Lover”

For some reason, you hate this person and want to really make thinks painful. You have decided that you can end relationships by starting new ones. So you walk in with a new partner just to make yourself clear. There’s no communication and no respect present. It’s harmful to everyone in the relationship because it shows a toxic mindset that’s set on revenge and not moving on.

What To Do

The previously mentioned ‘methods’ aren’t a healthy way to break up because you aren’t acknowledging your or your partner’s emotions. Healthy breakups don’t need to be hard.

It isn’t always the easiest way to end things, but it can lessen the emotional damage to the other person and make sure that the person gets a little closure.

A healthy breakup can look like someone sitting down with a person alone and just letting them know that it isn’t working.

Hey [Insert name here}.

I realized that things weren’t working for me. . .

Our relationship seems to be falling apart because we aren’t . . .

This isn’t working because . . .

I know things were good in the beginning, but . . .

I still care about you so much, but this isn’t working for me . . .

Be assertive about your decision even if the person doesn’t want to accept it.

Yes, you’re sure.

No, you don’t want to try it out again.

Try to make the person comfortable and consider your feelings as well. The best you can do is assertively, but gently end the relationship. Acknowledge the good and the bad in order to effectively present your reasoning in a way that’s not overly harsh. There is no one way to break up in a healthy manner, just try your best to have a clean break. Breakups can get messy and if the situation is unsafe or dangerous, make sure you put your safety first.

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