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They'll all fall

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Breaking up - the right way.

Is there a right way to break up? Sure. Or at least, there is a right goal for breaking up: Give the other person closure.

Foremost, this means you must break up face to face. This is as close to an absolute as you can get. You get depressed for a week from breaking up face to face? Low cost. Do it face to face anyway. You live 2000km away? Buy plane tickets. Preferably with open return, or just buy two with enough time between.

That brings us to the next point: Time. Go in with enough time to have a long talk - this can take hours or seconds, depending on the other person.

There's also the question of location: Take it somewhere "disposable". He or she will get a lot of memories attached to that place, and they may be negative. As long as this is a place where the person does not need to go again, that's OK.

And when it comes to place, this should preferably be a place where you can have sex and cuddle and where you can show that you're NOT doing this because you do not care about him/her - you're doing it because you have to even though you still love him/her.

If possible, make sure that your (soon to be ex) partner has their support network available, and is reasonably rested when you break up.

And when you've broken up, STAY AWAY. Take at least a six month period apart, with no contact. If you want to build a friendship with the person, do it after the resting period.

One part of a good breakup is preparation. A trick: Make sure you don't store stuff at your partners' place that you do not want to abandon. When you have done the breakup and are leaving, it's best if can walk out the door and not have to meet again.

Update: Do not tell the person that "There is someone out there for them" or similar. This is either (A) obvious to the person, or (B) hurts the person by feeling completely untrue, and pushing them through feeling misunderstood, feeling that the other person don't know their world at all, worthless because everybody assumes this and it doesn't work, etc.

If you're good at this sort of thing, you can use the fact that they'll find somebody else as a presupposition. Telling outright will tend to just hurt, though.


When breaking up, it's important to keep communication going. That means you have to keep part of the relationship going even in the meeting where you are breaking up. If communication becomes difficult, slow down and introduce "chit chat" - getting into rapport, talk briefly about a funny anecdote, point out something around you - anything that takes the tension off. While your goal is to get things across - you may need to detour in order to communicate, so you can actually get the things across.


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