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How to Write a Nice Breakup Letter

by Lucie Westminster

There is nothing glamorous about breaking up. However, if your relationship is strained, you are likely unhappy and this stress may even affect your health, according to a study published by Heather R. Walen and Margie E. Lachman. If you need to break up and can't do it in person, writing a nice breakup letter is another option of breaking the news. While the recipient will still feel the sting of the contents, careful writing will minimize these feelings.

Tone

Be kind and avoid harsh wording throughout your letter. The general tone of your letter should be honest but not mean or hateful. Use phrases like "I'm sorry" or "I appreciate the time spent with you," rather than "I'm glad you are finally out of my life." Even if anger has precipitated the breakup, keep the letter polite and respectful. Remember that when you write down your words, the letter is proof of what you said. Therefore, writing respectfully will ensure you don't regret hateful wording at a later time.

Wording

Write simple but concise sentences. Avoid wordy and complex phrasing that might lead to confusion, suggests Psychology Today. You want your partner to understand that you are breaking up with her and not leave any room for misinterpretation. Instead, start out the letter by writing, "Sara, I am writing this letter to break up with you." Stating your message upfront may cause initial negative emotions as she reads it, but the purpose of the letter will then be clear from the start. Then, in a few sentences, provide a clear explanation as to why you are breaking up with her.

Additional Contents

Include multiple statements that make it clear you are breaking up with your significant other. In addition, while it's appropriate to include a few examples of what you appreciated about that person, don't make those the focus of the letter. Even though you may want to let your partner down gently, you don't want to rub in how great things once were either. Also include any information regarding giving back or getting any items like clothes or toiletries the other might have in his possession. If you want the chance to talk to him after reading the letter, close by inviting him to talk with you at a set time after he has a chance to process the letter's contents.

Additional Considerations

To ensure your breakup goes as smoothly as possible, there are a few other things to consider. Avoid use of email for your breakup letter. Psychology Today suggests the use of internet for communicating sensitive content can lead to misinterpretation. In addition, you don't want your soon-to-be ex to read the email about breaking up at work or her smartphone during errands. Consider the overall timing of your letter. Be sensitive to other events that may occur near the same time you plan to breakup. If your partner experiences something major like the death of a family member, it's best to hold off for a few days, if possible.

About the Author

Based in Texas, Lucie Westminster has been a writer and researcher since 1975. Her work has been published in journals such as "Psychological Reports" and "Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior." Westminster's interests include developmental psychology, children, pets and crafting. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Miami University.

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