Things aren't working out anymore with the person you're dating. For whatever reason, be it you're not into them anymore, they cheated, or you want to date other people, you need to break up with them. You've come to that conclusion, but you don't know how to proceed. Should you keep thinking on it? Should you just cut the cord and do it immediately, as soon as you get the impulse? How long should you think about breaking up before you should actually go ahead and do it?
Martinez says it's going to differ for each couple.
"If it’s a relatively new relationship, it may be easy to do that without a second thought," Martinez tells Elite Daily. "However, if you have a long history, mutual responsibilities, assets, or children then it may be a while before you can logistically envision life after your relationship."
She also notes that the reason for why you want to break up may make circumstances easier or harder for you to do so.
"If you’re conflicted about whether what happened is a strong enough reason, then maybe breaking up will be a lot harder for you," she says. "However, if the reasons are clear cut for you, (i.e. they cheated) then you probably won’t hesitate at."
Spira says you definitely should think over the breakup before doing it, especially if your partner doesn't see it coming. Ultimately, she says, there isn't an exact time indicator to know how long to think over it, though.
"Breakups can be gut-wrenchingly painful, and should be well thought-out before surprising your SO with the 'it's over' talk when they weren’t expecting it," Spira tells Elite Daily. "The point is there is no rule of thumb on how long you should think about breaking up with someone, because the circumstances on why you need to end a relationship vary from couple to couple. If someone cheated and you can’t forgive that, why drag it out, while worrying that it will happen again? If the sex started to wane, maybe you can reignite the spark with your partner."
Spira recommends writing out your thoughts in a concrete manner, by creating a list, so you can really process how you feel.
"Before you decide to call it quits, I suggest jotting down a list of the pros and cons of your relationship," Spira says. "Include the memories that brought you joy, as well as the disappointments, so you can see if the issues are minor ones that can be fixed before leaving the relationship."
If you do opt for this, keep in mind you do not want your partner to find this list. Remember what happened to Ross and Rachel in Friends? He ended up favoring her over Julie, but it didn't matter, since Rachel, of course, didn't like seeing her pros and cons written out on paper. Keep this list somewhere your partner won't find it, or you'll most likely be breaking up, no matter what you ended up deciding yourself.
Regardless if you make a list or not, your partner may be feeling like something isn't going so smoothly if you aren't, as well, says Spira.
"If you’re feeling like something is off, so is your partner," Spira says. You may be acting distant if you feel a breakup coming on, and your partner may notice something is up. "This is the time where you need to talk about the reasons why you got together in the first place. Go down memory lane with your partner to remind them the relationship has value. I’ve seen relationships of five years end on the phone with no notice, and relationships of a few months just start the slow fade until someone gets ghosted. It’s also the time to talk about if your long-term goals are the same or not. If not, it’s time to part ways and wish each other well."
Other things to consider, of course, are factors beyond just you and your partner being on the same page. If you live together, there are many logistical concerns to think through if you want to break up, so definitely think on it before you spring it on your partner.
"When you’re living together, you really need to take more time to talk about a potential breakup," Spira says. "Cohabitation and sharing bills and responsibilities can’t be shut down overnight, nor should you pack up someone’s things in boxes for them to find when they get home. I advise couples who are living together to get a third party or counselor to help them save or unravel the relationship with the least amount of damage. Try to give it at least a month before you go separate ways."
"Logistically, everything is more complicated when you are living together," Martinez says. "It’s important to take your time and try to do things in a way that doesn’t add more stress to an already difficult situation."
Another factor could be how long you two have been together, says Martinez.
"The longer you are together, the more likely you are to have mutual friends and be deeply rooted in family events and traditions," Martinez says. "That transition is hard. You also have to deal with the idea of dating again, which can seem daunting if you haven’t dated in a while."
Spira says the best way to call it off, if you're both local, is to meet in person to have that talk that they deserve.
"Who knows, having these conversations just might save your relationship if there were mixed signals or misunderstanding along the way," she says.
While it may be awkward, talking it through may end up saving your relationship, so you don't have much to lose.