Some relations don’t go longin that case it is mature to move ahead of the relation rather then hurting both you and your partner. You’ve recognized the signs, abandoned hope of resuscitation, and come to a decision: It’s time to end your relationship. But before devastating your girlfriend’s heart with a direct hit from the breakup bomb, consider the alternative. With adequate preparation and tact, you can let her down gently, thereby minimizing damage and safeguarding your romantic reputation. When you’re ready to hit her with the bad news, use these tips to soften the blow.
Know what to say
Once you’ve initiated the breakup talk, each word will carry the weight of a freight train, so don’t walk into this cold. Instead, collect your thoughts, commit them to memory and rehearse. A few run-throughs will help you refine your choice of language, get familiar with the terrain and prevent the need for improvisation, which has a nasty habbit of steering you into territory that will crush her.
Choose the right setting
Some circumstances lend themselves to an amicable farewell, others twist the knife. Opt for the former by choosing a neutral location. Otherwise, she’ll link her favorite spots around town to a tearful goodbye. Once you’ve found your drop zone, focus on timing. Her schedule has its own demands, and she may not meet an important deadline if she’s an emotional wreck. Finally, pencil her in for a time when she has an hour or more to spare. A respectful breakup isn’t an “oh, and by the way.” Plus, she’ll appreciate having time afterward to reapply her mascara.
Lying is fine when your naïve cousin asks how much you bench press, but when it comes to backing out of a relationship, the facts will be your salvation. This isn’t permission to inform your girlfriend of her every shortcoming. Getting dumped stings enough as it is, and guys who add insult to injury are begging for pepper spray. If you must, sugarcoat the particularly brutal aspects to help her stomach your spiel.
Fault shouldn’t rest wholly on either person’s shoulders. Pinning her with the scarlet letter will forever brand you as a jerk, not to mention accelerate her emotional anguish. On the other hand, refrain from assuming responsibility with a version of the trite “It’s not you, it’s me” line. Your best bet is to shy away from pointing fingers and direct attention at the central issue: incompatibility.
Your side of the breakup is no picnic, but your girlfriend will undoubtedly take the brunt of the impact. Trying on her shoes will give you insight about the pain you will inflict and it might help you figure out how to cushion her fall. As a bonus, empathy will also help you anticipate her questions and dodge potential land mines.
Don’t get into a fight
This conversation could push your girlfriend to the end of her fuse, regardless of its length. If she loses her temper, keep yours. Attempts to provoke you may take many forms — accusations, insults, a thrown purse — but your response shouldn’t waver. Listen to what she’s saying, breathe, and whatever you do, don’t tell her to calm down. As your composure remains intact, the heat of the moment will pass, as will her desire to kick you in the crotch.
Be prepared to cut off your speech
No matter how delicately you reveal your intention to call it quits, she might get the picture before your finale and yearn to retreat to a pint of fudge ripple. If this happens, don’t chat her out the door. Understand that she’s trying to salvage the pieces of a shattered ego and doesn’t want to be seen in a compromised condition. She’ll follow up if she needs closure, and rest assured, she’ll have the decency to hear you out.
Keep your distance
From the moment you go your separate ways, give her plenty of physical space. (That means staying alert at your usual rendezvous spots to preempt awkward encounters.) She’ll use the time to analyze recent events, adjust to your absence and potentially flush everything you ever gave her down the toilet. However, the lines of communication should remain open. Correspondence should be balanced, but fall short of giving her false hope.
Don’t discuss your new relationship
After “It’s over” has sunk in, your ex may seek clarification about what your new roles entail. Of course, only time will tell if settling into the rhythm of a friendship is feasible, so don’t insist, “We can still be friends.” Getting back on speaking terms will be your first milestone, and it’s easy to build civility from there.
Unfortunately, breakups hurt, and her initial reaction will probably reflect that. Nevertheless, take comfort in knowing that you’ve left the relationship by taking the high road. Your efforts to end things mercifully will show in her recovery and your improved chances of dating her hot friends in the months that follow.