Four tips for a sensitive break-up

Breaking up is hard to do. It's devastating being the dumpee, but it's also difficult to be the dumper.

Even in a best-case scenario, when both partners mutually agree, maturely, that it is best to move on, there is still a degree of loss felt.

So be realistic with your aims when trying to break up with someone - it's never going to be an upbeat, positive experience.

But you can manage to do it with sensitivity, and by showing respect for the time and relationship you did share together, you can both emerge from it with new perspectives on love and relationships that can help you moving forward.

Some basic guidelines when it comes to breaking up include:

1: Specific reasons

Don't let them wonder what went wrong. Give them the exact reasons why you want to break up.

This is not only helpful for their post-relationship post-mortem, but it will help them, and you too, to learn about what you each do and don't want from a future relationship.

It will help you both take responsibility for the parts you may have played in why your relationship didn't work.

2: Where to do it

If you think they will be very upset, perhaps try a public place that will give you some privacy, but will deter your partner from possibly having a scene. It's almost always better to try to do it some place you can be alone to really talk things through, though.

Avoid places that contain happy memories from your relationship. You don't want to spoil them for either of you. If the break-up doesn't go well, and you still care for them, perhaps try to make sure they leave your talk for a person from whom they can get comfort.

3: How to say it

Use sensitive wording, being aware that their feelings will be heightened during a break-up talk.

If the relationship was heartfelt for them, there will be an impact and fall-out from splitting up. Be conscious of this influence on their life and future.

Don't lie - this helps no one. Be appreciative of the relationship you shared (because there was some good, at some point) but be clear it has now come to an end.

4: After the break-up

It's usually best to agree to a period of time during which you won't have contact with each other.

This lets you each move on and create new patterns without relying on each other for company or support. Don't reach out to your ex in a moment of weakness. No sex with the ex! Do not go there, no matter how tempting.

If you must remain in contact with them because of school, work or family it is important to remain mature about the situation.

Basically remember the main break-up points: be specific, sensitive, firm, and final.

Then you can both grow, apart, for the better, and move forward.

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