Mental Health Relationships

How To Break Up Well: 8 Steps

So maybe your heading to uni and you’ve decided the long-distance thing just isn’t for you. Maybe it was a summer romance that in the school corridors just doesn’t feel right. Whatever the reason, breaking up with someone can be really tough. Plus, given how common it is do to things like go completely off-grid (hands up who here has ghosted someone) or cheat on someone rather than end it, we figured everyone needs as much help as they can get to break up with someone well. When you have the same friends or you are going to bump into them every single time you have maths, breaking up well can actually be pretty important. So, here ya go team, don’t say we never gave you anything. 

PSA: We know that sometimes relationships can get pretty toxic, and breaking up can put you in danger. If you think this might be the case, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here and we can offer you confidential one on one support and specialist advice. 

1) Think about why you are doing it beforehand

The backslide. Going back to an ex after breaking up with them can be great, but it can also be pretty catastrophic. If you want to stay broken up this time, the important thing to do is to list all the reasons why it’s not working, and why it won’t work in the future.

It can be that you want different things, your senses of humour don’t quite match, or they aren’t behaving in the best way. Whatever it is, make sure you remember it. Plus, doing this might help you understand the best way to go about breaking up with them. 

2) But make sure you talk to them before mutual friends 

It can be really tempting to go to friends to talk this stuff through before you bite the bullet. The issues with this is that things have a sneaky way of finding their way to exactly where you don’t want them to go. This is especially important if you share friends.

If you feel like you need to speak to someone, reach out to a friend that doesn’t spend time with your other half and see if they can hear you out, speak to a parent or sibling, or the anonymous Ditch the Label Community here

3) Be wary of birthdays and stuff 

There really is nothing say here except for this: don’t be the person that breaks up with someone on their birthday, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or anything like that. It will never be good, and you will hurt them more than you want to.

But, similarly, don’t just stay with them because their Mum brought you both tickets to a festival next year. It’s not fair on either of you, and you’ll probably end up having a few pretty nasty fights in the meantime. 

4) Stay calm 

It can be really easy to get worked up when you are breaking up with someone, and that’s completely ok. At the end of the day, it’s a major change to your life, and sometimes, things go down ahead of a breakup that make it impossible to keep your cool. However, if you want to remain friends for the sake of friends or that you share spaces with them, it’s important to go about the breakup calmly. 

Need help combatting anxiety? Read this on things to remember during a panic attack

5) Do it face to face 

Breaking up to stay friends means you probably should do it in the kindest way possible. This means doing it face to face. Breaking up over Whatsapp can leave a lot of room for misinterpretation but little room for everything you want to say. This way, you have a chance to discuss it, hear their side of the story and come up with a plan moving forward. 

6) Do it in private

Kinda the same as the above, breaking up with someone in front of all their mates or in the middle of the school field is not going to help the whole long-term friendship/respect thing. Doing it in private means you both have the space to say what needs to be said without the whole world overhearing. 

7) Avoid clichés

It’s not you, it’s me. At the end of the day, you guys have been a couple. And no matter how long that has been for, and if you want to stay civil, using the old clichés is not going to help. Being a couple means you have been intimately involved in each other’s lives, and that deserves at least some original explanation. 

8) Be ready to go when you need to 

Have a plan for someone to come and pick you up at a certain time, or to meet your parents or a friend for dinner or something. That way, not only is it safe for you, but it puts an end time on the conversation so you can say what needs to be said, without it going on forever or turning into a big fight.

Need to talk to someone confidentially about your relationship? Go to the Ditch the Label Community for one to one support and advice here.