Breaking up with someone can be hard. We talk all the time about how much it sucks to BE dumped, but not that much about how much it sucks to be the one dumping someone else.
Because it can be so emotionally exhausting, some of us fall into weird behaviors that ultimately sabotage our relationships and reveal us to be, well, kind of shitty people.
If you think it's time to cut the cord, you have a few options available to you. Here are five ways you could break up with someone and one way you should do it:
1. Rip it off like a Band-Aid. (Hint: This is the best option.)
Arguably, this is the most respectable way to break up with someone. If you are over it and you know you are over it, give it to them straight.
Of course, don't be a jerk if you don't need to be. Stick to the facts — that you have grown apart or whatever your circumstances might be — and say, for those reasons, you can't be together anymore.
Tip: Only take this route if you are SURE. Back tracking after such forward delivery makes you a flaky person and an untrustworthy partner.
2. Ghost them.
Likewise, this is arguably the most disrespectful way to break up with someone.
It is an intentional, shitty decision to ignore someone after spending intimate time with them, and they deserve to know what's going on.
And after being ghosted, they will go through a range of thoughts and emotions:
1. Hm, must be busy.
2. Uh oh, I hope they're OK.
3. OMG, what if they're really not OK?!
4. They can't be ignoring me, can they? We had, like, a really good time these past few weeks (or months or years).
5. OK, I see on social media they're alive, and now, I'm pissed.
6. What's wrong with me?! Why would someone treat me like this?!
7. You know what? Fuck THEM!
8. I can't believe this happened to me.
It's a real emotional roller coaster, and you're above putting someone through that.
Tip: If you are going to ghost someone, SERIOUSLY don't like their friends' stuff on social media.
3. Sneak out the back door (i.e. break up via text or email).
This is a popular option for those of us who know the right thing to do is explain ourselves, but we don't have the balls to do it to a person's face.
If you choose this route, take a minute to think about what you want to say, and give your message some weight.
Your ex may come back with lots of questions and want to meet with you (as any sane person might), and if you're brave enough, you should give them the opportunity to give you a piece of their mind.
Remember, their world is changing because of a decision you're making, and they don't have any say in it. Let them tell you you suck, so it's out of their system.
Tip: Leave emojis OUT of this one.
4. Trick them into breaking up with you.
This angle is for the profoundly insecure and particularly masochistic individual, and it's popular in both long-term and short-term relationships.
If you want the relationship to end but can't handle the guilt of the breakup being on your shoulders, you might be tempted to become such a shitty boyfriend or girlfriend that your SO makes the decision for you.
In taking this approach, you will likely draw out an already negative situation and end up feeling bad no matter what.
If you just CAN'T pull the trigger in person, revert back to option three.
Tip: Don't make them feel like a bad person for breaking up with you if they do get around to it. That's just rubbing salt in the wound.
5. Double down, then dip.
Sometimes, we might think rock bottom in a relationship is fertile ground to rebuild on.
If you and your boo just went through something traumatic that would, in other scenarios, cause a break up (i.e. someone cheated, you had a horrible fight, money issues, etc.), and you think now is the time to double down, listen to me: It is time to GO.
By recommitting harder to a horrible situation, you are just making for a more traumatic split in the long run. If you feel this kind of behavior coming, revert to option one immediately and save yourself.
Tip: Usually, will-we-wont-we relationships are because you WON'T.
6. Draw it out.
Oh you dramatic, dramatic Dave. Drawing out a breakup and living in the "will-we-wont-we" grey area is a favorite pastime of so many people who simply like the drama of a breakup, without wanting any of the actual consequences.
If you find you're in an on-again-off-again relationship, take a good, hard look at the inevitable and run toward it.
Maybe you ARE meant to be, in which case, stop playing this game! If you aren't meant to be, I can't say this enough: Refer to option one.
Tip: If you must, must, must draw it out, make yourself a great sad playlist to listen to in the car.
Choose wisely you heartbreaker, and do the right thing (cough number one cough).