Couple standing back to back & holding up a broken heart

The Decent Person’s Guide to Breaking Up

by Eharmony Editorial Team - February 5, 2009

Breaking up isn't easy, but you can make it easier on the other person by taking these steps.

Whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee breaking up isn’t easy. The relationship could have only lasted a few dates or it may have stretched years but how you handle the breakup is ultimate going to be a reflection of you and the lasting impression the other person has. Remember the Golden Rule and read on for our decent person’s guide to breaking up.

Stick to the Breakup

There’s nothing worse than reliving a breakup over the course of weeks. The noncommittal breakup, where both parties are still calling each other everyday to check in, texting, or perhaps even meeting up for a rendezvous, only keeps wounds open. Go cold turkey.

Right after a breakup is not the time to start being friends—that can wait for both parties to decide if they can strictly be platonic. If you’ve come to the realization that your relationship isn’t working out and it’s time to move on, it’s important to give the breakup the time apart it deserves. Not all breakups last forever, sometimes both parties resolve their issues and choose to date each other again, but if you don’t give time for the issues that broke you up in the first place to be solved then you’re just going to be in the same place again weeks or months later.

Choose an Appropriate Location and Time

As long as you aren’t afraid for your own safety, dumping someone in a public place, a restaurant or at a party is just cowardly. The person you are breaking up with might exhibit strong emotions from hearing their relationship is over. There’s no reason to embarrass your soon-to-be-ex. Be decent, and break the news over a long walk with the person or in the privacy of their home. Timing is everything. No one deserves to hear something difficult while at or before work, on their birthday, or moments before they take off on a plane for a long-planned vacation. Chances are, you’ve been thinking about this breakup for quite some time now and it isn’t a decision you came to quickly, so it shouldn’t be difficult to plan your day and time for the breakup accordingly. Once you pick this day and time stick with it.

Break up Face to Face

It will be hard but you must breakup face to face. Ending your relationship over the phone is acceptable only in the case of a very long distance relationship. Breaking up over text message, email or using a social networking site to change your relationship status before you’ve even let the other person know it’s over is just not a decent way to breakup. The other person should be able to find closure by seeing and hearing your feelings about the relationship not reading them over the Internet. Be Considerate It’s simple, just be considerate. Breaking up isn’t the time to recount every detail that annoys you about the other person’s personality or looks. The dumpee deserves an explanation of why you’re breaking up but you don’t have to drag their self-esteem through the mud while you do it. Leave the relationship as you went into it, honest and true to yourself, but show respect for the person that you have shared your life with, whether it was a few dates or a few years.