It’s Not You (Well Actually, It Is): The Fundamentals of Breaking-Up


Breaking up with someone – whether it’s over the phone, in-person or through another person – can be the easiest or hardest thing to do. Multiple questions pop into your mind before you reach for the phone or murmur, “We need to talk:”

Am I making the right decision?

Would it work if we stayed friends?

Should I give him/her another chance?

What if he/she seems surprised?

What if he/she was already expecting it?

In my opinion, the action of breaking up with someone should confirm whether or not this person was worth your time. If you’re feeling doubtful after breaking up with someone, you may still have feelings for him/her; if the other person is trying to make more of an effort after you have let him/her go, this may confirm that he/she still cares and want to show you he/she does so. But then again, if you offer your (now) ex-significant other or friend a chance to mend the relationship and he/she does not take immediate action, this will confirm that he/she was eventually going to end the relationship or just wait on you to eventually initiate the break-up.

Many people seem to avoid confrontation at all costs – that’s why most people enjoy things like Facebook or text-messaging. Facebook and cell phones are great comfort zones to settle in when dealing with sticky situations. It is so much easier to strike up a conversation with someone over Facebook Chat or via text-messaging, than it is face-to-face. When on Facebook, you are in control. You can sign off from chat or hide posts from your timeline whenever you want. If you want to end a conversation via text, you don’t have to answer. If the friend you were chatting with over the phone confronts you, asking why you didn’t answer him/her, you can simply say: “I fell asleep,” “My phone died,” or “Oh, I didn’t get your text.”

The problem with communicating in-person or over the phone is that, there isn’t an option to sign off, there isn’t a delete button – you must be efficient. Some people tend to clam up in uncomfortable situations and that’s why they resort to Facebook or text-messaging. Confidence and good communication skills are key attributes when it comes to any type of relationship. You can’t speak to your boss or co-workers through Facebook and expect the same salary or respect as everyone else. You need confidence and communication skills just in order to get the job! Your professor is not going to text you when you cheat on a test. You can’t simply delete this behavior from the records of your school career like it’s a text message. You can’t tell your teacher that you never got the text or that your phone died. It’s a serious manner – a serious manner that needs to be handled maturely, up-front, and not behind a computer screen.

Break-ups should be dealt with in a similar fashion. Break-ups should be done only in-person or on the phone. You will not get an accurate response through a text message: the person may or may not answer. Although a person has the right to hang up the phone, the action of abruptly ending a phone call will demonstrate how you are affecting him/her. Hearing a person cry and then hang up the phone tells you more than an unanswered text message.

Now let’s get into the appropriate dialogue.

Do not initiate the break-up with, “It’s not you, it’s me.” That is pathetic. Your boyfriend or girlfriend knows what’s coming and you haven’t even said more than five words. Whether you have been with this person for a month or a few years, he/she deserves to hear how you feel and how he/she makes you feel. Explain why you are unhappy and give actual examples. The last thing you want to do is hold anything back: express it all! This may be the last time you speak to this person.

The best time to end a relationship with someone is right at the climax of your disappointment.

If your boyfriend, girlfriend or friend keeps avoiding you and it’s been roughly a week of no communication, talk to them. When speaking to them, bring up how little they are contributing to the relationship. If there were past issues that were never brought up, shine some light on those too – you may hear something you weren’t expecting from your boyfriend, girlfriend or friend.

Always give them a chance to speak!

When you are finished with your whole spiel, ask him/her: “Is there anything you would like to tell me?” Once again, he/she may tell you something that could confirm that the break-up is a healthy move or that the problems are mendable. Don’t be afraid to give this person one last chance. If he/she does care about you and love you, he/she will take action immediately; he/she will make it up to you. But don’t be so quick to go back into the old routine of things, just because it feels comfortable: stick to your guns! If he/she does not make an effort after given a chance, it will once again confirm that breaking up with him/her was the right choice.

When ending any type of relationship (i.e. romantic, friendly, business), having closure is required. This may be the last time you speak to this person, but it may not be the last time you see them. Whether it’s giving your boyfriend one last chance to make it up to you, or telling your acquaintance you wish her the best of luck on her endeavors – it is the right and mature thing to do. It does not matter how you genuinely feel about this person. It does not matter how much you hate or secretly adore them, you must have closure. Like how you chose to initiate the break-up, try being the strong person (again) and initiate the closure. You will feel so much better about yourself if the relationship ends on a good note.

Facebook is a wonderful way to keep in touch with all of your friends, but it is not the best mechanism to use when hiding from the world.

Facebook confirms how small the world really is, but you may not realize it until you walk away from the screen.

– Dahv

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