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Staying in a stressful relationship is not good for your emotional health, nor is it any way to end up happy. So knowing how to cut ties is essential.
There are ways to break-up with someone that will make it feel like a good idea to everyone involved. Feelings might still be hurt and one person might be more bummed than the other, but when you do it right, everyone can lean back in their chair after recounting the tale to their friends and say, “But you know what? It’s for the best.”
“It’s not about toying with someone — it’s about how you frame the conversation. We tend to break-up by not telling the whole truth or leaving things open-ended in the name of trying to spare someone’s feelings. But that’s the worst thing you can do to someone when you’re breaking up with them,” Kolkata-based psychologist and counsellor Polli Sengupta says.
Here are some ways to tweak your break-up style so that everyone can get on board with it.
1. Breaking-up with someone is a thing you really ought to do in person. If you’re in a long-distance relationship, wait till you see each other again (or at least Skype/ Facetime, because plane tickets are expensive). It is not easy, but do not give in to the temptation of emails or texts.
“When you’re sitting physically together in some neutral spot, talking it out like grown-ups, you can make sure everyone leaves with the closure necessary for both of you to feel like moving on is really the best thing,” Sengupta says.
2. Remind them of how good things were — and point out how good they aren’t anymore. Don’t dwell on the old days, but it’s a good tactic to make sure everyone remembers that this relationship wasn’t an entire waste of time, because that feeling can be the source of a lot of break-up blues, says Sengupta.
3. Don’t lie about your feelings. No one wants to hear that their adoration for a person is not returned. Don’t overdo it when it comes to telling someone how you feel about them. This can often just be the difference between a ‘really, really, really care about you. But...’ and a ‘I like you, but...’ “Putting on an act will give the other person the wrong idea and lead to problems later on,” Singh says.
4. Let the other person be sad. If your new ex isn’t totally convinced yet that this break-up is a wonderful idea, they might be seriously sad. “Instead of trying to alleviate their pain, let them feel their feelings. But, they don’t necessarily need to have those feelings around you,” Singh says.
You don’t have to text back or make it all better or give them one last hangout. You’re not the person for that. Be respectful, maybe don’t be a jerk about the random late-night texts they send, but do your best to ignore their emotional outreach post-break-up.
“Their friends will finish the job of making sure they’re happy about the break-up for you,” Singh adds.
5. Be honest about the future. Don’t go around giving out false hope. “If you can, tell the person why you don’t think it’s going to work out. They might even agree with you,” Singh says.
When it’s harder to tell the person exactly why you’re jumping ship, don’t leave them with an ‘it’s just not the right time.’ Unless you actually mean that once you graduate from college or your sibling ties the knot, you’re going to be ready to date them. “It’s usually always the right time when you find the right person,” Singh adds.