Breakup Etiquette

While your beau once left you feeling weak in the knees, the relationship now leaves you dreading your next encounter. Leaving an unfulfilled relationship has its own complications -- you may wonder about how to break things off as kindly as possible. Though you cannot spare your partner all the pain of a breakup, you can end the relationship respectfully.

A breakup conversation should not involve others.A breakup conversation should not involve others.

The Don'ts

Going into the breakup conversation angry will not do either a favor for either of you. You may end up saying things you will later regret, or you may resort to blaming your partner or calling her names, according to the Emily Post Institute. It is also cruel to break up the relationship via the silent treatment or by confiding in mutual friends to spread the message for you. When you do end the relationship, do so in person or by phone, if the relationship is long-distance. A breakup email or text message could be seen as cowardly or disrespectful -- unless you fear for your physical safety, according to

Breakup Considerations

Before calling off the relationship, think about whether or not a breakup is the right decision and keep those reasons in mind so that your partner does not sway you. Rehearsing what you plan to say is also vital, according to Going into the conversation unprepared may encourage you to postpone a necessary conversation and it might not give your partner reasons why the relationship is ending. As you practice, make sure your words are clear and their meaning obvious to your partner. You do not want to give him the mistaken impression that another opportunity to date could arise in the future.

Ending Things

Arrange for the conversation to take place in a neutral, private location such as your partner's home. Holding the breakup in public could cause your partner to feel humiliated, according to the Emily Post Institute. Stay calm and keep to the facts. You might say, "I wanted to settle down here, but you would like to move closer to your children. It makes me feel that sooner or later, our goals would conflict too much," according to Psychology Today's Hara Estroff Marano. Afterward, give your partner the opportunity to express her thoughts and feelings.

Moving On

It is not a requirement to explain a reason for the breakup if the romance was casual or lasted less than a month, according to Marano. Simply saying, "I don't feel right about this relationship," can be enough. Once the romance has ended, you don't need to go into detail with others -- or to criticize your former partner. Your words can get back to your ex and not only cause more pain -- but leave others with a poor impression of you, according to the Emily Post Institute.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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