How to Break Up


It sucks to break up with your girlfriend or boyfriend. Unfortunately I speak from experience. In this article I’ll tell you why it’s so hard, and I’ll give you five steps to follow next time you feel the need to break it off. It’s a slightly different story if you’re thinking of cheating.

Why it’s so hard to break up

The closer you get to actually breaking up with your partner the more fear comes up because you are threatening what is now a secure attachment. Your psyche is connected to this person whether you like it or not. Even if they’ve lost interest in what goes on in the bedroom, or worse yet, they talk while you’re trying to re-watch the last season of Six Feet Under, you are still attached to them. During the relationship, your brain has released oxytocin which has chemically bonded you to your partner. Their brain has done the same. You have literally developed chemistry together. That’s the science of love. When you threaten this attachment, your psyche will try to protect it by producing thoughts that are irrational and filled with absolute fear.

All your irrational break up thoughts

If you’re thinking about breaking up, it’s very normal for your mind to start wondering things like, “I may never do better than her” or “maybe I need to make more compromises” or “I guess I’m taking Six Feet Under a little too seriously and talking during the show isn’t that big of a deal.” STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP IT! Six Feet Under is a tremendous artistic achievement, full of thought-provoking storylines that touch us all. As viewers we are doing this glorious show a disservice if we don’t give it our undivided attention. What I’m trying to say here is that when you’re threatening your attachment to your partner, you’re psyche will try to keep it and protect it at all costs. But you can’t really believe these catastrophic and irrational thoughts. A better idea is to practice non-attachment when such fear-induced thoughts pop into your head.

Think of a break up plan

After you make it past those pesky thoughts, if you still feel like you want to break things off you’ll want to come up with some sort of plan. It’s smart to present your feelings at your partner’s place. If you do it out in public or at your own place, then you may run into a situation where you have to deliver the broken-hearted all the way back home. That always makes for an awkward trip, and it may just end up in break up sex or getting back together. Don’t try to break up in the middle of a fight either. That’s the easy way out. Be an adult and bring it up when you are both feeling measured and balanced. Now, are you ready for the five simple steps to a successful breakup? Let’s do this.

Five steps to breaking up

  1. Be honest and clear. Let your boyfriend or girlfriend know that you don’t want to date them anymore. Convey to them how hard it’s been to come to this decision, but it’s honestly what you feel is best. Don’t be all wishy washy and try to hide the fact that you want out. You’re already hurting someone’s feelings. You don’t have to try to spare their feelings at the same time. It’s painful to break up with someone but you’ll get through it and you won’t have to do it again and again if you are just strait forward the first time.
  2. Be nice. It can seem like it’d be easier to be mean to your partner in this situation because it feels better to be mad instead of being sad. You can storm away from each other with a parting message of, “Screw you! I can’t effing stand you and I never want to see you again.” Grief feels easier to deal with when we are angry because then we don’t have to get in contact with the sadness, but demonstrating this type of anger is not cool. Have some respect and don’t make it into a fight where you’re just pointing out all the unattractive and unlikable things about them. 
  3. Be sensitive. Remember that there was a time that you really cared for this person and you probably still do care about them to some degree. They are hearing this information and it may be a shock to their system, so let them down gracefully and be as compassionate as possible. If they cry let them cry. You don’t have to try to stop the tears by getting back together with them, but you could say some things that acknowledge their pain or maybe even hand them the tissues.
  4. Leave them intact. You don’t always have control over this but it’s a good thing to aim for when breaking up with someone. You want to try to at least leave them with as much self worth as they entered the relationship with. So don’t say things like “you’re a horrible boyfriend because you’re awkward in bed” or “you’re just the worst girlfriend because you laugh like a horse.” Those things are going to haunt them and make them feel unlovable, and may create insecurities that weren’t there before the relationship.
  5. Repeat. The first breakup never takes. That’s the truth. If it does, awesome. If it doesn’t, you’re normal. So after you run back to your boyfriend or girlfriend, go ahead and give breaking up another try. Perhaps after her horsey laugh starts pissing you off again, or when his twisted and odd facial expression in bed repeatedly gives you the creeps. As Jerry Seinfeld once put it, “Breaking up with someone is like knocking over a coke machine. You have to rock it back and forth a few times before it goes down.”

Once you’re all broken up and done with it, try to stay single for just a bit. Start spending some time by yourself. “Date yourself” for a while, as they say. Learn to tolerate being alone. Start watching a new television series. Pick up the first season of Dexter so you can leave the pasty white David of Six Feet Under for the sexy and tanned serial killer that you’ll soon grow to love. And then once you meet someone else and break up with them, you should consider going back to the girlfriend or boyfriend that you were with before because you probably can’t do any better, right? Kidding, kidding…just change the way you laugh because a bad laugh ruins everything. And stop being weird in bed. Nobody likes that.