How do I break up with my significant other?

April 1, 2018 — by Karen Chow

Editor’s note: The names below are pseudonyms and have been withheld because of the private nature of the situation.

Wiping her red, puffy cheeks, Erika sobbed at the message on her phone: “I can’t do this anymore. We are over, but let’s still be friends. I’m sorry.”

It had been a year since Erika and her boyfriend, Eric, started dating. After admiring him from afar for a few months, she eventually landed a date with him.

But as months passed in their relationship, Eric did not feel the same about Erika anymore. He knew his heart was not in the relationship, yet he waited months to break the news to her. That was his first mistake. He led Erika on, and in that time, she could have moved on instead of grow more attached and letting her feelings for him continue to build. The first rule in breaking up with someone is to do it as soon as possible because leading them on only causes more pain.

After the intense and emotional breakup, Erika stalked Eric’s Instagram profile. She kept refreshing the page to see whether he had posted any updates on Instagram or Facebook. Her obsessive behavior could have been prevented if Eric explained himself fully. On top of that, she was constantly texting his friends whether he had truly moved on, if “wanting to be friends” was real and if he talked about her behind her back.

Eric made a mistake by not explaining himself. Explain your reasons for the breakup fully, because your significant other deserves the truth. Do not lie or talk about them behind their back. A breakup is a personal matter that should not be shared or flaunted; there is no such thing as “winning a breakup,” but rather learning to accept it and move on peacefully.

Lastly, and arguably most importantly, break up with your significant other in person. The person who you dated, spent hours with, deserves the right to a personal confrontation rather than an emotionless text or a faceless call. It is unfair to the other person and it embodies cowardice.

By taking solace behind a phone screen, you disrespect and belittle the relationship, which in turn worsens the situation because on top of breaking up with them, it creates unnecessary emotional pain. It feels like they meant nothing to the person because they cannot even take an hour out of their day to have a conversation face to face, creating an even more painful breakup.


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