Before you use a breakup script with another person, though, you'll need to first have a different hard and honest conversation: with yourself. Get clear about your reasons for wanting to end the relationship without soliciting outside opinions that might cloud your judgment. Keep in mind that the only people who ever really know what’s happening in a relationship behind closed doors are the two people in the relationship in question.
Once you confirm with yourself that a breakup is the best path for you, it's time to stand confident and strong with the decision. Even if the decision results in short-term emotional pain, know that the long-term effect is allowing more space and energy for a more aligned romantic dynamic to come along for each of you. A breakup is absolutely not a failure. Now it's time to decide where and when to have the conversation to use your breakup script.
The most effective environment for your breakup conversation
You might not be able to control how the other person will react to the news of your breakup, but there are certain factors you can plan for. One such example is taking care to have the conversation in an appropriate environment. This includes being cognizant of both the location and timing of your breakup conversation.
As long as you feel safe in doing so, it's a best practice to have the conversation in person—not over the phone, via text, or through social media. Block off ample time so you are not rushed or distracted. The physical setting will ideally provide enough privacy to have an open and honest conversation. Some options to consider may include an intimate space at a relaxed coffee shop (one that's not exceedingly loud, though), a park, outdoor walk, or privately in your home.
A breakup script for ending things respectfully
1. Avoid blame and criticism, and focus on how you feel
To uphold a level of respect and compassion, steer clear of language that casts blame or relies on criticism. Instead, work to focus on your own feelings and concerns; treat them like you would want to be treated. This can be a challenge, especially if you feel hurt and believe they are the reason for that pain. Keep in mind, though, even that pain can be a learning that can help you prioritize what you value in your next relationship.
By communicating your concerns and providing insight into why you are breaking up, the other person is likely to feel less attacked and therefore, less defensive.
So, instead of saying “you don’t treat me right and never take me out. You don’t care about me and are always too busy,” try a more self-aware approach.
What to say: “I don’t feel appreciated or listened to about my concerns. I understand your schedule is demanding and I feel like we are not in the same place with matching needs right now.”
By communicating your concerns and providing insight into why you are breaking up, the other person is likely to feel less attacked and therefore, less defensive. This will ease the conversation so that you can have more open and honest communication about the situation.
2. Affirm their reality, even if you disagree
It takes two to tango, and two to break up. With this in mind, allow the time and space to let your partner speak and ask questions during your breakup conversation. Aim to stay present and listen to them. Doing so doesn't mean going back on your decision to break up—it simply acknowledges their feelings as valid. Even if you don’t agree, know their feelings are still real to them.
What to say: "I hear what you are saying. That you are angry, confused, and hurt. You have every right to feel that way. My hope is that over time, you will see that this is what’s best for us and that you will end up with an amazing partner who is wonderful for you.”
After the conversation, give yourself grace and the time you need in order to heal from the breakup. Even if you initiated the end of the relationship, the feeling of loss can still resonate. You are entitled to grieve in your own way. Believe in yourself and the decision you made.
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