Breaking up is hard to do

You’ve decided to put an end to all the arguing, all the tension, all the indecision – and tell your partner: ‘It’s over.’

All you’ve got to do is actually do it!

It sounds straightforward enough. But it’s not always easy.

Maybe you’re worried about hurting your partner. Perhaps you know they don’t want to break up, and that doing so will leave them in a bad state.

Maybe it will be a surprise – one you can’t face springing.

Maybe you think things will be awkward at college or work. Maybe you have lots of friends in common.

Or, maybe you aren’t actually sure you want to break up – perhaps you’re caught between doing it and not doing it.

What to do?

Let’s start with the last one first. Knowing why you want to break up is often the most important thing when it comes to doing it.

If you’re not feeling satisfied with the relationship, have a think about what’s causing that. Is it because you want different things? Have you been arguing a lot and drifting apart? Maybe you feel you are different people compared with when you started out.

If you feel it’s something you might be able to figure out together, try talking about things together before making any decisions. That can be scary, and awkward, and sometimes it feels ‘staged’, but it’s also usually the best way to address things.

If you haven’t been sure about breaking up, knowing why means you’ll be able to better express yourself when you tell your partner.

Going through with it

We know it can be really tempting to send a text and get it done – and, sometimes, if you really can’t face seeing your partner, this is better than dragging it out for ages and leaving them hanging.

But it’s usually better to talk face-to-face because, that way, you can more clearly say what you have to say. That doesn’t mean being unkind, and it doesn’t mean telling them things it wouldn’t be useful for them to hear (such as: ‘I fancy your mate more’). But it does mean explaining where you’re at, and communicating that you’ve made a definite decision.

Try focussing on the relationship and on your own feelings (or lack of them) – instead of on your partner and things you may not like about them.

And, while it can be tempting to say that it’s not right for you ‘right now’, this can be a bad idea. It can leave the other person feeling that if they turn up in a year, things will all be fine, when – let’s be honest – this probably isn’t the case.

If you’d like to take a look, Relate is working with Status in its #BetterBreakups campaign. It aims to reduce the impact of breaking up on young people’s mental health. And if you’d like to talk with one of our counsellors about it, do give our friendly appointments team a call on 01234 356350.

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