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How to break up with someone you love

20 August 2015, 15:45

Relationships end for a variety of reasons. People move on, needs change, passion gets lost along the way. Sometimes it’s just a case of “when something’s not right, it’s wrong” to quote the immortal Bob Dylan.

While it is cruel to let a relationship drag on when you’re not really committed to it, it never easy to break someone’s heart.

Here are 5 tips to soften the blow:

1)    Don’t spring it on them. A simple “we need to talk” will warn them something serious is about to happen. But also don’t torture them by telling them that in the morning and making them wait the whole day for the blow to land.

2)    Don’t do it in public. While the temptation might be there since the presence of others diffuses tense situations, it really isn’t fair to the person you’re dumping. You don’t want to add humiliation to the hurt, do you? That said, if you are worried the person might get violent, rather do it in public. Or not in person.

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3)    Make it clear that you’re breaking up with them. If you try to soften the blow too much, the other person might misunderstand you, and trust me, you don’t want to have to break up with the same person twice.

4)    Try to keep your reasons as close to the truth as possible, but don’t be unnecessarily hurtful. Try not to blame your partner, since they might hope changing their behaviour will change your mind. Only criticise if you truly believe the insight will benefit them later in life.

5)    Expect them to say angry and hurtful things, but don’t retaliate. People often respond negatively to bad news. Give them the space to do that without rising to the bait. Place yourself in their shoes and have empathy with their hurt and anger.

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