(Unedited) question submitted via Formspring:
“What is the best possible way to dump someone? I wanna break-off my relationship, but I’m pretty sure my partner is still enamored with me. I wanna stay friends, and don’t want to hurt anyone, y’know?”
There’s good news, and there is bad news.
The bad news is: you are going to them; there is no way around it if they care about you, and you don’t care about them. And, don’t be in too big of a rush to ‘be friends’; that is your guilty conscious talking. People rush to be friends to ‘prove’ they didn’t really hurt the person that badly; after all, we are friends now, right?
The good news, though, is that you can be friends eventually…but you’ll need some time apart first. Actually, you’ll need about twice as long apart as you were together romantically; which pending how long you’ve been together might be a long time!
So, what’s the best way to break up?
In person, and in public, so that they are less likely to freak out, get overly emotional, or God forbid do something crazy. Coffee shops are better than bars, but bars are WAY better than restaurants. Coffee shops are the ultimate break up spots for the same reason they are the ultimate first date spots: it can be as short or as long a talk as you need it to be. If you do it at a restaurant (or behind closed doors) you can get stuck there for God knows how long. Awkward.
As for what you should say, steer clear of cliché things like “it’s not you, it’s me”; that is basically meaningless now. Also steer clear of telling them how wonderful they are or anything like that: since if you really thought that you’d still be together.
Tell them the truth…at least most of the truth. If you are leaving them because they are terrible in bed, or because you’d rather date their brother you should probably leave that part out!
But, if you don’t know why the spark isn’t there, tell them. If you just don’t want to be in a relationship, tell them that. They will want to know ‘why’, but the fact is when the dust settles there is no why; if you are over it, you are over it.
Let them know that you are sorry, and that you understand they’ll need some space, and that eventually you’d really like to be friends…and that it’s over. If they cry, beg, or plead, stand your ground; have enough respect for them to let them find someone who is going to truly care for them, and not just stay with them out of guilt or pity.
However, if you aren’t sure whether you should break up or not: this will help!
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B. Dave Walters
Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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