The days after a breakup are particularly brutal for more reasons than one. For starters, you have to cope with the heartbreak that often comes at the end of a relationship. And to make matters worse, you have to tell everyone about it, which may make the post-breakup blues that much more painful. Figuring out how to explain your breakup to your family can be tricky and emotional, especially if you have to re-tell the actual breakup conversation. I spoke to a couple of experts to get an idea of the best way to approach your family after a breakup if they loved your partner, too.
While it is important to let your family know your partner is no longer in the picture, both experts stress that you don't need to tell them every little detail. "You don’t owe it to your family to explain the nitty gritty details of what transpired," Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily. "And should you ever happen to get back together one day, you’ll be very glad you didn’t divulge too much information, especially in cases where your ex may have been unfaithful." Even though you may forgive them if they cheated on you, your family may not be as understanding down the line. "It’s best to just say that you grew apart or that you felt like you were headed in different directions. Keep it light. Keep it classy," she says.
However, it's not that simple if you and your partner are simply going through a rough patch. For example, if you're on a break or you've broken up, but you're pretty sure you'll get back together soon, it may be best to hold off on telling your family for a bit. "If it’s the situation where maybe you’ll get back together in the future, or things are just a little bit unsettled, I wouldn’t share information until you’re sure things are going to be one way or another," Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching, tells Elite Daily. It may be even harder on your family if you tell them you're over one day, and the next you pull an "LOL, JK, we're back together."
Opening up to your family about your breakup can be extra difficult if you were the one who wanted to end things in the first place, especially if they grew really attached to that partner. Try "laying out the reasons why you’re no longer interested in being in a relationship or why that relationship isn’t right for you," Martinez says. "As long as you’re clear and honest and confident in what you’re saying, it’s easier to accept. When it’s clear that you haven’t fully decided or you don’t really feel strong convictions in your reasoning, then they’re less likely to just accept it."
If you know your family is going to be sad about the breakup, you may want to try to ease them into it a bit. "Start with different scenarios or maybe even feelings that you’ve been thinking about," Martinez suggests. "A lot of confusion and that feeling of being blindsided [your family may be experiencing], comes from your sharing information that you’ve been thinking about for a while that obviously they didn’t know." To help them understand that the breakup was the best thing for you and your partner, consider explaining that you've been feeling this way for awhile, and it wasn't a decision you came to lightly. "That gives them more confidence that this is not something you’ve done on a whim," she states.
Really, what it comes down to is being straightforward and honest, with minimal specifics. "If they start asking questions, just explain that you grew apart, and you really don’t want to talk about it in detail, as you are focused on moving onto the next chapter of your life," Leckie says. "It’s best to keep it as positive as possible."
Go into this talk with your family and try to understand they may not take the breakup too well if they loved your partner. "They may want to continue to be in communication with that partner," Martinez warns. "Maybe have a contingency plan if it’s OK for them to continue communication with [your now ex] or continue some sort of relationship." In the end, it's important to remember that if the breakup was for the best, then that's what matters the most. "You just need to do what’s right for you, and what feels right for you," she continues. "You need to allow everyone to go through their own grieving process." And that includes yourself. Once you're done worrying about how to tell your family, let yourself feel the loss. Embrace it. Chances are, it'll help you feel better in the long run.