Sometimes, relationships run their course. You may or may not be at fault, but when it’s time to bring your relationship to a close, you want to do so cleanly and effectively. Here are some suggestions:
If you have personal items at your lover’s place, you want to start getting them back, since this is much more difficult to do after the breakup. If your lover has things around your home, put these in a box and have them ready to move. Be thorough — you don’t want to have things leftover for him/her to retrieve.
If you gave him/her something really personal like your home key, you should ask for it back, as protocol. But, don’t assume that it’s the only one she has — it might not be.
Don’t involve your friends, family, co-workers, etc., in the breakup. This is only between you two; adding others increases the humiliation factor.
If you’re afraid of a scene, break up at a public venue such as a restaurant. However, don’t “lure” your soon-to-be-ex there under false pretenses. Explain that you want to “talk about your relationship.”
Don’t wait until a “good time.” Do it as soon as you make the decision. Waiting only prolongs the inevitable and makes it even more difficult.
On the other hand, don’t break up with him/her on a day with special significance. For example, don’t break up on Christmas Day, Easter, or your (soon to be) ex-girlfriend’s birthday. This is cruel, and may remind him/her of the pain for years to come.
Don’t beat around the bush; get to the point. Be clear and specific. Don’t blame or argue, and don’t prolong the event.
Some people — either through fear of losing someone, or a feeling that they’re sparing their ex-lover’s feelings — do the “series breakup.” They start by getting distant, then they suggest that both see other people, then they stop answering the telephone, etc.
This just causes the pain to extend over a longer period than is necessary. Remember, you wouldn’t cut off a dog’s tail piece by piece (would you?); you’d do it all at once.
Be considerate of your ex-lover’s feelings, but don’t back down. Also, don’t promise to stay in touch, stay friends, or say that maybe you can get back together after you “get your head together.” This leads to false hopes.
Don’t unload your hurt or anger on this person. Be detached, unemotional and specific.
Breaking up is very difficult for both the person doing it as well as the person getting dumped. Always remember that you saw something in the person when you first got together. Regardless of what happened, he/she is still the same person you met and has a right to his/her dignity — and your respect.