4 breakup strategies for when it’s just not right

How to end a not-so-perfect relationship

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  • It's been real, it's been fun, but it hasn't necessarily been real fun and you need it to end. You loved spending time together, but there are so many red flags that it's time to pull the plug on the relationship.

  • We all want to say the long lists of "you're greats..." before we drop the truth bomb. But is that really what he needs to hear? And where should you break the bad news?

  • Here are four strategies to follow when you want to end a relationship:

  • 1. Signal

  • Stop holding hands, give them a little space on the couch, don't text back as fast or say "we need to talk." When you send small signals before you break up, they will be more ready and accepting when you actually say the words "we need to break up."

  • They may not see the signals in the moment, but when they think back about the relationship, they'll remember you pulling away a little. This will help them.

  • 2. Short buffer

  • According to the study "Bad news first," it's better to be as honest and straightforward as possible. Like I said earlier, we always want to tell them all the things they are good at because we think it will be easier for them to accept the breakup if they know we did think they were great.

  • In reality, they want a shorter buffer. The study reported that "participants also mostly responded that clarity and directness were more important than how considerate the message was."

  • People appreciate when you are honest and upfront. Now I'm not saying that this is the time to insult or criticize. You should share what you are feeling, but don't destroy them.

  • 3. Ask yourself if you're trying to protect yourself or protect them

  • If you are trying to protect yourself from physical harm, then make sure you are in a safe public place where they won't hurt you when you break up.

  • Otherwise, it might would be best to break up in a private place so that they can share their feelings too (not over a text or in a movie theater). Just because you are breaking up with them doesn't mean you can't be empathetic of how they are going to be feeling.

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  • The study states, "One of the great challenges of growing up and being a fully functioning adult is being fully aware of other people's needs around you and not just your own." You don't have to stay with him, but you can be kind because you are aware that this is going to be hard for him.

  • 4. Avoid saying these three things

  • According to the Huffington Post, there are three things you should avoid saying at all costs.

  • Avoid telling him exactly what you think is wrong with him. You don't need to destroy his confidence totally.

  • Avoid putting the blame on him. Phrases like "you're not happy" or "you deserve more" only give him the opportunity to convince you he's OK with it. And that just wraps you back into an unwanted relationship.

  • Avoid leaving it open-ended. Saying "We'll talk more later" or "I still want you in my life" gives him a glimmer of hope. The Huffington Post says, "If you have to chop off a leg, it's kinder to cut than saw." Again, you should be kind, but you don't need to stay in the relationship. Leaving it open-ended leaves him room to try to keep the relationship going longer than it needs to.

  • Relationships end. Or some just need to. This can be heartbreaking and nerve-racking, but the best thing to do is be honest. Don't drag it out, but rather express your feelings and leave them room to express theirs. You want people to be honest with you, so take the time to be honest with them.

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Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.

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