Ending a relationship is like squeezing an orange: Everything comes out, it's messy and leaves a lingering smell on those who are involved. Unfortunately, some relationships have to end and there is no real easy way to do it - though there are right ways and wrong ways.
Moreover, the longer the relationship, the harder it is to break the bonds created, unless, of course, you are breaking up because there were no real bonds in the first place.
1. Don't drag it out! When it's over, it's over. You're not doing anyone any favours by delaying the inevitable when you have already decided to break it off.
2. Be firm, decisive and honest. But being honest does not preclude being tactful.
3. The best reason to give when asked why the relationship is over is “the feelings I had for the relationship just aren’t what I had when we first started.” The focus is on the relationship. You don’t have to justify how you feeling. It’s just the way you feel.
4. "Let's be friends." Don’t expect your relationship to continue as if nothing has occurred between the two of you. Over time this may change, but be realistic that some awkwardness will mar your relationship in the short term.
5. Let the “dumpee” have an opportunity to talk too.
6. Don't do it in a public place. Don't make a scene. On the flip side - breaking up over the phone, email, IM, ICQ, fax or any medium other than face-to-face after you have been going out more than two dates is not classy at all. If you feel the need to write it out on paper, that doesn't eliminate your face-to-face break up. Refer to rule 5.
7. Don't try to hold on if it's over. That's cruel and unusual punishment. Refer to rule 4.
8. Try end off on a positive note. It's easier to move on afterward. Try to focus on the positive aspects and "good times" of the relationship. You two got together for some reason at the beginning (unless it was your Aunt Hilda who set you up because you both enjoy doing nothing).
How to end a date
In a perfect world, all dates would be perfect and fun. The person you go out with would be sane and normal, hold a healthy sense of humour and is all things you ever wanted in a date. Some would argue that not every person you go out with ought to be the perfect person to spend the rest of your life with, as this would defeat the purpose of going out… you’re on a quest to find that person. But even those who hold this line of reasoning would agree that the date itself should be perfect and fun.
But what do you do if your date is boring, obnoxious or just plain crazy? How do you get out of it? While we have always given you dating extensions to keep a good thing going, we are now confronted with ending a bad thing early, or what we call: Dating Retractions.
Before delving into the retractions themselves, it is necessary to stress that different dates have different time requirements. For example, a daylong date can seemingly go on forever, while a night date has to end at some point - no snoozing allowed.
We always suggest that for daylong dates you should set a time that the date must end before the date so that regardless of how well the date is going, you have a fixed conclusion. For all other dates, once the activity has finished/gets tedious, you can always end the date then, before someone suggests using an extension.
You really have two options when requesting to terminate a date. (1) Give an honest reason or (2) make up an excuse. If you choose #2, you must decide the form of excuse. This can play on a physical attribute (e.g. “I’m tired”), a previously planned engagement (e.g. “I have to get home to wash my puppy”) or the straight-out “I would like to go home.”
Never, ever, give more than one reason why you want the date to end. Pick a reason and stick to it. This adds credibility to your explanation and avoids the absurd situation of having to justify why you want to end the date. If your date asks to join you in your (excuse) post-date activity, thank them for the date and decline the invitation. You may try changing the subject by asking your date whether they ever engaged in that post-date activity (or feel the way you do, depending on your excuse).
While GOIT would never advocate the use of untruths, there are some situations where an honest excuse would not be appropriate. If you think that your date will follow you to your post-date escape, you may want to use a little misdirection or try the straightforward “I would like to go home.” Again, never, ever feel the need to justify your desire to end a date. This will put either or both of you on the defensive and may lead to unwarranted quarrelling.
We all wish our dates would go well, but when they don’t we shouldn’t have to justify our desire to get home, and quick.