Dating has its share of challenges, especially when you have to call it quits with the guy you’ve been seeing. Sometimes this is difficult because you may be grappling with ending the relationship without hurting his feelings, or you may be struggling with your own fear of confrontation. Whatever your reason, it’s best to end the relationship as soon as you decide it’s not working for you so you can each break away and find suitable mates.
Be Sure About Your Decision
It’s a good idea to do an assessment of whether you’re ready to end the relationship. Yale associate fellow and columnist Rita Watson, writing for “Psychology Today,” suggests that you make a list of pros and cons about the relationship. Creating this list will help you determine if you want to leave the relationship for good or if you’re willing to work a little harder to make it work. If you’re not clear and certain about your decision to break up with the guy you’ve been seeing, it’ll be easy for him to convince you to stay with him if that’s what he wants. Once you’re certain about your position you can approach him with confidence.
Be Open, Direct and Honest
Once you decide to end the relationship you should communicate this to the guy you’re seeing openly, directly and honestly. Be open by clearly stating the reasons you’ve decided it’s time for each of you to go your separate ways. Watson suggests you highlight great things about the relationship to express gratitude for the experience. Be direct by getting straight to the heart of the matter in as little time as possible. No need for a long, drawn-out soliloquy about all of the things he didn’t do in the relationship and how they've influenced your decision to let the relationship go – try your best to quickly get to the point that you want to end the relationship. Lastly, be honest about your own feelings and role within the relationship and resist blaming him for your decision to end the relationship. Use a phrase such as “I feel it’s best that I move on and find a more suitable partner,” as opposed to “I’m ending this relationship because you weren’t a very good mate.”
Practice Fair and Active Listening
Once you’ve finished expressing your thoughts, allow the guy you’re breaking up with to voice his opinions about your decision. This doesn’t mean that if he says he wants you back then you have to honor his desires; it simply means that you should respect his right to contribute his thoughts to the discussion whether you agree with them or not. Try not to interrupt him while he’s speaking or turn the discussion into a debate about your relationship. Use nonverbal listening skills, such as head nods, and vocal gestures that denote active listening, such as “Mm hmm” and “Yes, I understand.” Even if you don’t agree with his perspectives, allow him the courtesy of expressing his thoughts and feelings, and seek to really understand his point of view.
Make a Clean Getaway
Some couples decide to remain “friends” after a breakup. While adults within any given relationship are free to do what they please, remaining friends with the guy you’re seeing once you two break up may pose some challenges to the process of healing from the relationship. Tim Loving, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin, writing for the website ScienceofRelationships.com, says remaining in contact with your mate after a breakup is challenging because partners’ identities become intertwined while in a relationship, and once the relationship is over it becomes difficult to detach from this linked identity as long as the partners continue to spend time and interact with each other. It’s best to go your way, and allow your mate to go his way in order for the two of you to heal from the relationship and move forward. If the two of you choose to remain friends in the future, do so once you’ve both determined that you’ve moved on and are psychologically ready for this relationship.
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