14 Days of Love Day 1: Wrong Ways to End a Relationship

Jane Heise, Managing Editor

Although most people would like to place breakups in the backs of their minds, this raw and emotional time can be made significantly easier for all parties involved if done correctly and respectfully. In the 21st century, technology has notoriously cut down on face-to-face human interactions in favor of convenient communication via  smartphone; relationships, however whether beginning or ending deserve more thought and importance than a thirty-second text. Despite the uncomfortable situation you may encounter at  the end of a relationship, multiple ways exist to avoid worsening the experience.

Whether you have been dating for a few months or a few years, breaking up over the phone should be avoided at all costs. If, for whatever reason,  the relationship must end immediately, you owe it to your partner to call or FaceTime them: never end a relationship over text. Ending a relationship over text leaves room for miscommunication and hurt feelings, and generally guarantees no chance of friendship with your ex-partner after the split. The convenience of texting qualifies for sending reminders about grocery lists, nail appointments and dinner plans; cutting someone out of your life (should) weigh slightly heavier than booking a massage. Even if you have lost all feelings or respect for your former partner, you owe it to yourself and your future karma to take the high road and let them leave the relationship with their dignity and self-esteem intact you never know when you could be on the receiving end of a breakup text. 

If you cannot meet with them under any circumstances, call them and gently, but firmly, explain yourself and your reasons. Planning out what you need to say can help when the person on the receiving end bursts into hysterics. Communicating properly over the phone can be tricky, so lay your thoughts out before the phone call and make sure they understand the situation before hanging up. Simply explaining that the relationship has ended and then promptly hanging up conveys the same sentiments as a breakup text; you have to treat them like a person cancelling dinner plans and ending a relationship do not constitute the same treatment. Even if the conversation takes a wildly uncomfortable turn, wait until they have understood what has happened, and then hang up. If they text you after the call to instigate an argument, do not answer: you said what you needed to say and your feelings deserve to be heard. If faced with anger at the way you ended the relationship over the phone, understand that the abrupt, impersonal manner in which it ended may make them upset. However, if you could not wait (safety reasons, long-distance, etc.), do not feel bad: your feelings should always come first above all else and staying in any kind of toxic relationship will harm your mental health. 

Ending a relationship in the correct space can ease the discomfort of a distressing situation. If done over the phone, find a quiet, private space to talk. You are not starring in a romantic drama: your ex-partner most likely would not appreciate their business being put on speakerphone for you and six of your friends. Ending it in person may cause anxiousness and create discomfort at the thought of being alone, so find a public space where you can still speak in private. Meeting at a restaurant is usually a safe option: you have a table to privately talk at, but the public setting provides a safe escape route with plenty of people present in case it goes south.

Do not ever choose to ghost someone when looking for an easy way out. Not returning texts or calls and letting the relationship fade away leaves your former partner with zero explanation as to what happened and forces them to agonize over a relationship that has already ended. Breakups have the potential to get exceedingly messy, and the alarming issue with ghosting is that one side never gets closure. Providing no reason as to why you ended things may leave that person with trust issues in future relationships, or leave them unable to move on at all. If you absolutely refuse to break up with them over a phone call or in person, at least send them a text to let them know how you feel.

Breakups are messy, complicated, gut-wrenching and chaotic. But, treating the other person with the same respect you would hope to receive can ease your conscience and help them understand the situation better.