How to deal with a breakup

Breakup theory comes from many places and has many variations. Some people will say it’s ok to just stop contacting the person, some people insist on face to face, and some people construct complex hybrids that involve various levels of verbal and nonverbal signals to prepare the other person for impending doom.

In all of my relationships except one, I have initiated the breakup. I would like to share with you what I have learned from this. Take it as you will. It’s no more or less valid than any other advice you’ll find out there.

1) Termination without warning: applicable to first and second dates with whom you have nothing in common

2) Text message: This broadly defines “breakup” to include those with whom you go out on 1-5 dates and then suddenly realize you’re just not right for each other and want to be polite, but don’t want to move to a higher level of communication.

3) Email: My favorite method! I prefer writing. I think it both allows you a chance to say everything you want to without being interrupted, rethink everything you wrote before you hit send, and gives the other person a chance to absorb and process. It enables you to have a level-headed discussion about where the both of you are going and why being a relationship isn’t necessarily the best idea.

4) Over the Phone: Would not recommend this. Awkward on all levels. You respect them enough to call them; you don’t respect them enough to actually meet up with them. Sends a lot of mixed signals, you lose a lot of body language, and your only recourse if things go awry is to hang up on them and put your phone on silent for the next year (or, of course, block them).

5) Skype: Unless you’re in an LDR, no. Because it’s awkward when you say, “I don’t think we should see each other–” and the connection goes bad. This is a fiasco waiting to happen.

6) In Person: If you’ve been in a committed relationship that hasn’t gone horribly wrong, then this is ideal. Shows a lot of respect and love, even though you don’t think you should continue on the same path. Use an appropriate place–either public or private. Make sure you feel safe. In the event your partner is slightly more of a psycho than you gave them credit for, stand on a table and scream your head off till help comes.

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