The Art of Breaking Up

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Let me first begin by saying that I feel overqualified to be writing this article. I have been on both ends of a break-up and even with lots of experience, it never gets easier. I was inspired to write this while watching the Will Smith movie, Hitch, for the first time. Yes, I know it’s 2020, and I don’t watch a lot of movies or television, but I love LOVE. I hope that you find this information to be useful while out on the search for your very own happy ending, because dating doesn’t always end with falling in love.   

We’ve all been there before: Either on the receiving or the delivering end of one of the worst parts of dating…the break-up. There’s no easy way to frame it. If you’re out on the dating scene, inevitably you will experience a break-up at some point. While we wish that dating was all butterflies, stiff cocktails, good laughs, and passionate conversation, the truth is – dating is tough.

While there are sure to be times where you dance the night away, there are also sure to be nights of wiping the tears away. Dating is a series of ups and downs, with the goal being different for everyone. Some date to keep their social calendars full, while others are actually searching for long-term partners. While break-ups are likely to happen, setting an appropriate expectation from the jump is imperative.

If you’re truthful about what you’re looking for, it will definitely help soften the blows.

So you’ve set honest intentions, hit it off with a new beau, and now it’s been a few weeks, or maybe a few months, and then boom something changes. Whether you’re getting broken up with or you’re doing the breaking up, keep these five “rules” in mind.  

Be Honest. If you have decided that you’re not compatible, opted to rekindle with your ex, feel like the sex is just not – stimulating, SAY IT! Lying or making up some lame excuse as to why you no longer want to see the person just makes it harder for them to comprehend that it’s O-V-E-R. While the truth may hurt at first, you will always be more respected for being honest than lying and letting the relationship linger on.

Be Kind. There’s no need to attack the other person. You’ve decided to call it quits, but that does not mean that you have permission to point out all of their flaws. Do not attack a person’s character or appearance. Speak your truth but do so in a respectful manner. Remember, it’s not really about WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. Keep in mind, everyone has feelings.

Be Firm. Reactions to break-ups are unpredictable. In the most favorable response, the other person will be amicable to the split and relieved that you’ve handled the hard work for them. Bravo! More than likely though, this will not be the case. Break-ups are not that easy. The recipient may be angry and feel mislead or shocked. Or quite possibly, the worst reaction of all, they may be sad. Don’t let tears or guilt sucker you into a change of heart. You can delay the breakup for a short period of time, but that will ultimately lead to an even worse separation when it happens….and IT WILL happen! Stay strong, say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Be Transparent. People usually have questions. What changed? What did I do wrong? Is there someone else? Don’t avoid the questions. Answer them and remember the advice provided above- be honest, be kind, and be firm. People often have trouble letting go, because they are seeking “closure”, or a clear understanding as to why it’s ending. If questions are left unanswered, closing the door will be extremely difficult. Save yourself the trouble of having to answer painful phone calls and texts later on.

Be Gone. This does not translate into ghosting the person. The difference between ending things and ghosting is communication. But then, you should both agree to stop. It’s over. You are not going to change someone’s mind and you surely don’t want to be with someone that you have to prove your worth to. There is no need to continue to speak to one another. It is nearly impossible to remain “friends”. Friendship is just an unrealistic attempt to lessen the pain and will turn a quick split into a long drawn-out situation.  

When I first started writing this, I didn’t know that the movie, Hitch, would end with a break-up and then a make-up. Ironically, similar to Hitch himself, I too, do not just want, “fine”; I want “extraordinary”. But dating in 2020 does not always have a happy ending like it does in the movies. Remember to handle yourself gracefully, learn from each experience, and more importantly, keep it moving with your head held high – until you find… extraordinary. Each ending is just the start of a new beginning.

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