Monday, September 21, 2009


How To Breakup…When It’s Over

Author: Tonja Weimer

Did you ever breakup with someone? Did you try to avoid causing them pain? Breaking up can be hard to do. These are the kinds of letters I find in my email box everyday:

Dear Tonja,

My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for two years. But I know I’m not in love with him. I don’t want to hurt his feelings. How to I breakup without causing him pain?

Dear Tonja,

I have been in a relationship with someone for over a year that I don’t know how to get out of. Recently, I started seeing someone on the side that I really like but I feel like I’m cheating on the girl I don’t want to hurt but don’t love.


The main theme in the above letters is that the people don’t want to hurt anyone. Since everyone’s worst fear is rejection, no one wants to be the person who inflicts that imagined wound on another.

Would you like to have a better sense of “breaking up” etiquette? Would you like to know what’s appropriate, what isn’t, and the mature way to handle a difficult situation? Here are the major points to keep in mind when you know it’s over—but you know the other person doesn’t want to hear it:

1. Step up

Just as you worked your way into this relationship, you are going to have to work your way out of it. It’s not fair if you send an email, leave a post-it note, send a text by phone, or tell a friend to deliver the message. Nor is it fair to distance yourself emotionally and/or physically, waiting for the other person to break up with you so you can remain blameless in the situation. There is no easy way out.

It is also not fair to let someone hang out with you in a relationship, thinking you are committed when you don’t want to be there. This is far more hurtful and damaging to the individual than a mere breakup. You are preventing that person from moving on to find their soul mate by your chicken-heart. Don’t do this—to them or to yourself. You both deserve better. Do the RIGHT thing.

2. Show up

It is required that you show up in person and as a human being to deliver your breakup message. Keep it simple, succinct, and to the point. Do not defend your decision or explain yourself or be guilty if you don’t want to be in this relationship. There is no law that says you have to remain together—nor should you. Here is a short example of what you might say:

“As you may have recognized, I’m not feeling that this relationship is working for me. I think you are (give the person an acknowledgement here.) Thank you for (list a few things you are feeling grateful for.) And at this time I’m going to be moving on. It works best for me if you don’t call or email.”

Then, say goodbye and mean it. There is no point in dragging out the conversation or trying to be “friends” or saying things like “if you’d have come along at another time in my life, this might have worked out.” When one person wants the relationship to be a romance and the other doesn’t, these kinds of messages just muddy the waters. Further, you cannot extend a friendship. That’s just another way of trying to soothe your conscience about breaking up— and another inauthentic way for them to hang on, hoping you will have a weak moment and change your mind. Make it a clean break so you are both free to find other people.

3. Face up… to the lie in “rejection”.

It’s time to face up to the false thinking of being rejected…or, rejecting another. When you are the one telling someone that the relationship is over…that isn’t rejection. That’s important information you both need to know so you can both move on.

If you have ever been afraid of “rejection”, remember this: don’t make yourself emotionally vulnerable to someone before you know the person well. Keep good boundaries while you determine if you can trust them with your feelings. If you’re telling someone you’re in love on the first or second date, you aren’t in love with that person—you’re in love with your IDEA of that person. If someone you thought you had mutual feelings for suddenly says they don’t want to be with you… guess what? You don’t want to be with them either. This is a matter of dignity and self-respect.

Breaking up IS hard to do, but that goes with the territory in relationships. If you have the heart to fall in love, you have to find the grit to break up when it’s clear you don’t belong there.

About the Author:

About Tonja Weimer:

· Columnist: Weekly syndicated singles and dating columnist (over four million readers in the U.S. and Canada)

· Media: Coverage on TV, including CNN’s ShowBiz Today; rave reviews in USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher’s Weekly

· Author: NBC/USA TV Network, selected author for articles on dating and singles for website

· Articles: In House Beautiful, New Woman, GRAND, and other national magazines

· Coach: Master Certified Singles Relationship Coach; Associate Certified Life Coach; International Coach Federation; Relationship Coaching Institute; Institute for Life Coach Training

· Keynote Speaker: Regional, National and International conferences in U.S., India and Europe

· Academic: BA; MA in Human Development; U.S. Dept of Mental Health full fellowship

· Published Author: 7 Books(Fingerplays for Children; Creative Movement for Children, etc) winning over 25 awards.

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