How To Break Up With Someone You Love

November 23, 2018 by  
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How To Break Up With Someone You Love

Sometimes relationships don't work out - no matter how much you care for someone, there's a factor that stops things from working. In this guide, we'll show you how to break up with someone you love and move on to the next part of your life.

Step 1: Start Addressing Your Feelings Now

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Start Addressing Your Feelings Now

Break-ups are emotionally powerful events, especially when you genuinely care for the other person. Unfortunately, as a society, we're not taught much about how to deal with these emotions in a safe, healthy way.

For that reason, it's best to start the break-up process by confronting your feelings. People often feel sad, angry, confused, resentful, jealous, afraid, or regretful afterward. If you ignore these feelings, they'll continue to affect you and stop you from moving on.

One of the best ways of addressing your feelings is talking about them with someone you know won't tell the other person what you're planning until you're ready. For many people, this includes close friends and family members. Try to talk to someone who's been through a rough break-up before.

As you do, you'll probably start to realize that what you're feeling is normal and that the break-up isn't the end of the world. Other people have survived this and come out better, and you can, too.

Next, start writing out your feelings. Properly addressing them can take time, and by putting them into words, you can isolate the nebulous sensations of loss into something more concrete. Writing things out can help you figure out why you care about them so much, what you're going to miss about the relationship, and why you have to end things.

Most people consider this text too private to share with others - and that's fine. Keep it locked away if you plan to go back and read things later, or dispose of the paper after you're done writing it out. Be sure to use paper and a pencil for this, not electronics - physically writing things down has an observable effect on the brain and your memory.

The most important thing to write is the positive reasons for the break-up - that is, why it's important for you to do it. This is the part you'll remember the most, and keeping good reasons for your actions in mind can help you avoid sliding back into a situation that isn't good for you.

​Step 2: Understand That Break-Ups Are Normal

Understand That Break-Ups Are Normal

​Most people don't like to talk about this, but the truth is that many relationships end with a break-up.

It's relatively common for people to date well into the double-digits before finding a true match.
Entertainment media rarely shows this. Even as children, we hear all these different stories about being alone until we find "the one." That creates some unrealistic expectations about what we're expected to do and how we should treat our first few relationships.

That said, things get easier when you understand that a break-up was probably inevitable. It's sad that it didn't work out, yes, but there's no way you could have known that from the start. Rather, it's likely things were always going to turn out this way - so try to think about the good times you had.

​Step 3: Avoid Personalizing The Loss

Avoid Personalizing The Loss

​Most people blame themselves for a break-up. This is completely normal, but it's not healthy to let it go on for too long. The main culprit is often thinking "What could I have done differently to stop this from happening?", but the factors pushing people out of relationships with those they love are rarely anyone's fault.

Remember, everyone in a good relationship is trying to meet their own needs. Some couples are successfully able to do this, while others aren't. You and your about-to-be-former partner probably did your best with all the information you had, but there are factors that neither of you can control.
However, if you genuinely feel like you could have done more - and most people do feel this way, rationally or not - consider trying to improve things in your next relationship. Write down the things you want from someone else, such as the amount of time you want to be together. At the same time, write down what you're willing to do for them. Remember, relationships are about what you give as much as what you get.

​Step 4: Prepare For Taking Care Of Yourself

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Prepare For Taking Care Of Yourself

​The first few days following your break-up are going to be the worst. You may not feel like sleeping, eating, or moving around - but it's important to do all of these things. Consider taking a few days off from work to rest and recover from what's sure to be one of the most emotionally damaging things to happen to you in years.

Prepare a few healthy meals ahead of time - plenty of fruits and vegetables, and ideally something that won't need too much preparation when it's time to eat. At the same time, make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep a day following the break-up. Go to bed early if you have to, and take herbal supplements or sleep medicine if needed.

(Sleep deprivation will only make things worse. You must avoid this if at all possible.)
Finally, try to start or maintain an exercise routine. Aside from being healthy, exercise helps to create endorphins in your mind - and endorphins, quite literally, make you happy. A good jolt of another emotion can stop long-term depression from sinking in and allow you to move on.

​Step 5: Decide On A Method Of Breaking Up

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Decide On A Method Of Breaking Up

When deciding how to break up with someone you love, there are a few ways to go about it. Doing it in-person is emotionally rough, but many people feel they owe the other person at least that much. After all, it's not like you hate the person and don't want to see them again.

If doing it in person is too hard, consider writing a letter to explain things. Don't just send a short message over social media.

Instead, explain the reason for your decision and why you feel like breaking up is the right thing to do. It helps to focus on the situation surrounding you, rather than blaming anyone for what happened. This is easiest if the primary factor is genuinely beyond your control - such as moving out-of-state and no longer being there to date them.

Decide On A Method Of A Break Up

However, the real reason for doing this is trying to spare them as much pain as possible. One of the things that make it hard to break up with someone is the knowledge that whatever you feel now, they're probably going to feel more of - and we don't like seeing those we love in pain.

By fully explaining yourself and making it clear that you don't think they're at fault here, you can soften the blow and avoid triggering any excess feelings of guilt. You may also want to arrange for some support - if they're surrounded by their friends right after the break-up, they might get over it faster. (This isn't appropriate in every case, so think hard before you start arranging something like this.)

​Step 6: Don't Believe You Can Get Back Together

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Don't Believe You Can Get Back Together

Some people hold on to this hope - but just like the story of Pandora's Box, hope can be the most dangerous thing of all. If you focus on the relationship that was, you'll never be able to move on with your life. Even if you start dating someone else, you won't be able to fully commit to the new relationship.

Instead, put aside any possibility of getting back together. It's not going to happen, and the longer you wait to accept this, the worse it's going to be.

​Step 7: Don't Try To Maintain A Friendship

Don't Try To Maintain A Friendship

The "friend zone" is often considered the worst place to be - and with good reason. The sad truth of the matter is that most people can't truly maintain a friendship with an ex - not for several months, at least, of no contact at all. If you can't physically separate, try to avoid talking to them or looking at them until you're feeling emotionally stable again.

To be clear, this doesn't mean that they're a terrible person or that they'd be a bad friend - it's just that it's only harder on the two of you if you try to stay close despite the break-up. Trying to maintain a friendship is often part of hoping you'll be able to get back together and become "more than friends" someday.

These seven steps are the most important things to know about how to break up with someone you love. It's never easy to do this, but the most important things in life rarely are. Don't dwell on what you've lost. Instead, be thankful for what you had - and move on.

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