Breaking up with someone isn’t easy. Well, OK -- if your partner happens to be a piece of sh*t, it's a little easier than usual. But people usually don't break up because their partners are horrible people. Rather, they simply feel like things aren't working out -- that it's time to cut the relationship in order to grow as individuals.
If the person you’ve been dating for X amount of time is a good person -- a good partner, even -- then breaking things off isn’t easy. Unless, once again, you’re a piece of sh*t.
But if you’re a nice, kind person, it's difficult to break up with someone you still consider a friend. You don’t want to hurt this person, but you know there really is no other option. The worst is when the person you need to break up with believes you’re "The One."
Love is funny that way. It doesn’t need to be reciprocated to exist. Plenty of people are in love with people who don’t -- and never will -- love them back. It’s sad, but it’s also a necessary reality check. Having your heart broken makes you a stronger person. And overcoming problems makes you wiser and better prepared for the future.
So I know you feel like you're breaking your poor guy or gal's heart -- and if they think you're The One, then you're certainly dealing a devastating blow. But it needs to be done. For the both of you. Otherwise, you'll end up miserable.
The question now is: What's the best way to go about this?
1. Break up in private and in person.
Don’t even think about sending this person a text, an email or breaking his or her heart over the phone. That’s just wrong. If you know that you mean the world to this person, then at the very least have the courtesy to end things face to face.
Also, choose somewhere private, so you two can break down and cry if you need. I know that this situation might make you feel uncomfortable, but who said breaking someone’s heart was supposed to be comfortable?
If you've already fallen out of love, then you'll suffer some discomfort. But your partner is going to experience utter and world-shattering heartbreak. So suck it up.
I’m not the biggest fan of confrontation either -- I doubt anyone really is -- but confrontation is necessary when you’re a grown-up. It’s time to be a grown-up.
2. Be honest -- just not brutally honest.
Don’t bullsh*t. Don’t sugarcoat. Tell this person how it is, but do so in a way that won’t hurt more than necessary. You don’t need to get into all the details and list the specific reasons you are no longer interested, but make sure it’s clear that it’s over.
Don’t lie, because lies almost always lead to false hope, which just makes things a whole lot worse later down the road. I know it feels like you’re saving your partner pain, but you really aren’t.
Once your partner realizes that things are officially over, the pain will eventually hit -- and it will hit harder the more your partner tried to salvage things. Your ex needs closure, and you're the one to give it.
3. Make it clear that there is no chance of you two ever getting back together (ever).
Because whether or not you have an easy time with the breakup, your partner is going to suffer a lot. You are this person's everything, and you need to shift to being nothing. Your ex's whole world is about to get very confusing. His or her definition of love and trust will change. The person you’re about to break up with is going to be different from now on. You’re about to change this person forever.
I know this sounds like a lot of responsibility, and that’s because it is. You may not want to be in this situation, but that’s the hand you were dealt. Now you need to do the best you can with it, and that starts with making sure what the two of you have is over and done with -- for the both of you.
Be clear. Be direct. Be kind. There’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in the same position one day. Work on that karma now.
4. Give each other space.
I bet your ex will want to "still be friends." You can’t let that happen. I know some couples end up breaking up and staying friends, but I can guarantee this is not one of those situations.
If the person you’re about to break up with believes you’re The One, the only cure for that person is to find someone else -- someone your ex also believes is The One.
Maybe, when you've both moved on, you can be friends. That is a long way away. For the time being, more space is better -- for the both of you. Your ex doesn't want to let go and might try to hold on in any way possible. And since you're a good person, you’re going to want to say agree to stay friends.
But sooner or later, your ex will try to flip things back into romantic gear. And things will get really messy. If you want to cut things off, then cut them off. It’s better for the both of you.