By Ann Sullivan
As the song goes, “breaking up is hard to do.” It’s not always easy to break up with someone, or to be on the receiving end of a breakup. This is especially true if that person has time and emotions invested in your relationship and the decision is not mutual. There are ways to avoid hurt feelings, resentment, anger and possible retaliation. Some ways are worse than others. The important thing is to do it with respect and dignity, or you’ll end up looking like the fool in the end. Here are our top 11 worst ways to break up with someone.
The worst thing you can do to break off with someone is to simply disappear and ignore them. This is a term referred to as Ghosting in dating lingo. Unless they’ve posed some threat to your safety and well-being, no matter which way you deem fit to do it, tell them. Don’t just disappear, block their number, block them on Facebook and keep them wondering what went wrong and where did you go? That is not only inconsiderate, it’s downright cruel. After all, you must have had some feelings for this person at some point, no matter how long or short the relationship was. If it was a couple of dates from a dating site you met on, then at least let them know you’re not interested. That will save you the worry that they may be on the hunt to track you down. It will also give the other person closure that it wasn’t working out for you.
2) Fade Out
This is another cowardly method often used by those who are passive aggressive, irresponsible, and want to avoid any direct confrontation. If you know in your heart that the person you’re dating is not the right one, backing away slowly over an extended period is unfair to both of you. It’s best to just communicate that you’re breaking up, sooner than later. By staying around, you’ll be giving the other person false hope, while sending mixed signals at the same time. This can not only be hurtful; it can lead to confusion and possibly anger or depression in the end. Pretending you’re busy or not answering calls or texts will only lead to anxiety for the person on the receiving end. It’s always better to part on good terms, no matter how you feel. This will avoid the resentment that you never know might come back to haunt you.
3) Have Someone Else Tell Them
If you’ve successfully pulled off ghosting, the person you disappeared from will no doubt be seeking answers. It’s quite possible they will attempt to contact your friends, especially if you were together long enough for them to have known your friends. Don’t let your friends answer for you. This has got to be one of the top cowardly ways to break up with someone. It’s never a good idea to put friends in the middle of your troubles, even if they’re your best or closest ones. This can lead to more complications and could jeopardize the relationship you have with the person you put in the middle. Even if that person knows every bit of detail in what went on, don’t let them to be your bearer of your bad news. Simply man (or woman) up and contact the person you’re avoiding directly. Otherwise, your own ghosting may come back to haunt you as well.
4) In Front of Others
When breaking up with someone, it’s always a good idea to keep it private, at least until the news gets out. Unless you want to be hurtful, do it privately, no matter which way you choose. Breaking up with someone in front of other people is the equivalent of fighting in front of others. It only serves to make you look bad while making everyone around you feel uncomfortable. This also brings everyone else into the mix. Everyone has opinions and you don’t want your friends, or even total strangers in a public place, adding their two cents to an already awkward situation. It’s always best not to air your dirty laundry in public. Aside from being hurtful to the person you’re breaking up with, you may also be revealing private information in the heat of the moment that you otherwise might not want known publicly. Once people know something, they can’t unknow it. Besides, they also may be recording it!
5) By Starting a Fight
This is another cowardly way to break up with someone. If things aren’t working out, don’t make matters worse by starting a fight and possibly making a scene. You may not be able to anticipate how the other person will respond, whether in tears or in violence. Either way, save the drama for something else, and just be up front and truthful. If you can’t have a calm discussion because things have escalated, take a pause before things end up getting out of hand for real, rather than a staged performance. Plus, it will most likely end up backfiring and making you look like the bad guy or girl once the news gets around. Leaving with your dignity and self-respect is just as important as not hurting anyone by ending things with a fight, whether it’s fake or not.
6) While Drinking
The truth does usually come out when you’re under the influence of alcohol. However, it’s not advised to deliver the bad news during this time. Yes, it will give you the guts to say what you may not be able to when you’re sober. However, this could backfire in several ways. One, you may not remember what you said. The person you’re breaking up with may not remember either. Two, the person you’re breaking up with may not take it seriously, figuring you’re just drunk and having an off moment. Three, things could easily get out of hand due to the perceived super powers you may have acquired through those gin and tonics. If you decide to meet your partner for a drink to break things off, do it before you consume those cocktails. Chances are, you’ll want to have a binge night with your friends afterwards anyway.
7) By Getting Caught Cheating
A cheater never wins, and a winner never cheats. If you’re in a relationship with someone and it’s not going well, break it off before you start dating someone else. This could end up being a double backfire. If the person you’re cheating with finds out there’s someone else you haven’t broken up with, they may perceive you as a lying cheater as well. After all, if you’ve lied and cheated on the first person, chances are you’ll eventually do it to them. This scenario can only lead to resentment all around and potentially harm your reputation in the process. As the old saying goes, bad news travels fast. This can have a ripple effect, and before you know it, you’re known as the lying cheater instead of a person who just didn’t have the courage to break things off with the first person.
8) Through Social Media
This is another cowardly, if not hurtful, way to break things off. If, for example, your Facebook status said “in a relationship” and you suddenly change it without letting your partner know, you could cause a lot of grief and embarrassment for both of you. The worst thing you can do is to fight with someone on social media. This amounts to airing your dirty laundry in public and may only serve to make you look bad in the process. Add to that, you’ll probably be bombarded with tons of comments and questions that you’re not prepared to answer. Nor should you. Your private business is just that. Same goes for the person you’re breaking it off with. If you find compelled to use social media as your form of communication to break things off, at least do it in a private message. It’s not the best way, but at least it’s private.
9) By Lying
Here’s where the old “it’s not you, it’s me” comes into play. Everyone knows this is just plain cliché. Chances are you won’t be believed anyway. If you truly believe your partner is no longer a good fit for you, don’t make up stories or put the blame on yourself in some dishonest fantasy story. Tell them the truth. Just don’t be so blunt as to cause more pain then they’ll probably be experiencing from the break up as it is. It’s always best to be honest and part on good terms. It may be difficult to find the words. Try writing it down ahead of time so you can organize your thoughts about what you want to say. That way, when the time comes to say, you’ll have rehearsed it, so to speak. After all, the person you’re breaking up with is going to feel bad enough as it is. Don’t add a lie on top of that. That’s just downright insulting.
10) By Written Message
Whether it’s a text, an email, instant message or a post- it note, breaking up with someone in writing is a definite cop out. Chances are, upon receiving the written communication, they’re going to call you or want to see you anyway. Breaking up in writing will only serve to make you look like a heartless coward who can’t deal with an issue face to face. The mature and respectful way to break the news is to meet in person and let them down gently. Writing creates a barrier and is easy to hide behind. It will not be a conclusion for the other person, however. Surely, if they didn’t see it coming, there will be questions. You should be prepared to answer at least some of their questions, thereby allowing them to have closure, rather than an endless strain of wondering what went wrong.
11) After a High Point
If you’ve just returned from a romantic getaway or had intimate dinner or a great day out, don’t break up right afterwards. If you have feelings of breaking up with someone, you should avoid these types of dates anyway. All you’ll be doing is leading the person on and letting them down in a way that may be shocking because they never saw it coming. Don’t be a user. If you went on that romantic vacation because you wanted a vacation, then shame on you if you used that person to go with, knowing you had intentions of breaking it off afterwards. If that was not your initial intention, then at least give it some time before you drop the axe. You don’t want to be cruel or hurtful. The other person may have perceived that high point as the next step in your relationship, while you were thinking just the opposite.