In particular, Breakin' Up is HARD to do WELL.
Let's face it: your relationship is over, or perhaps you've moved on or your partner has. Even if we're not talking girlfriend/boyfriend status, everyone has romantic entanglements of various kinds. (Some of us are more varied than others, but I digress.)
Now. Let's do a little informal poll.
Time to walk away. Do you:
1. Send a text message over your phone?
2. Write a brief note on a post-it?
3. Send a message through another friend?
4. Send an email?
5. Post it in your LJ?
6. Write a letter?
Because if the answer is any of the above? You blew it. Big time.
Some people feel that the phone call is too impersonal. I don't agree, but I do think that if a person has decided to move along with their life and leave behind someone else that they've been seeing... it ought to be done with a certain amount of respect. The time and effort you've invested so far prove that the person is worth talking to.
Oh, I know. Breaking it off with someone sucks big time. No one wakes up in the morning and says, "Gee. I haven't done anything particularly nasty lately... how can I screw up the life of someone I care about?"
I mean, if you're breaking up with someone for whom you no longer have any good feelings, if your partner has turned into someone you can't be with, if you no longer have any respect for them... it's easier in a way because you aren't as worried about breaking their heart or hurting their feelings.
Let's face it, it doesn't always work that way. Life isn't black and white. Maybe you still have feelings but know in your heart that relationship can't go on.
So, you need to adjust or end a relationship.
May I pontificate for a bit?
Here are some better ways to deal with it... and WHY.
The Instant message:
Not the best option by far. Still viable as it offers real-time conversation and privacy (if done right.) It also gives both sides a chance to consider what to say and how to say it. Not very personal, though. It is the type of communication that ought to be used when nothing else will work, for example both parties live in different states, or perhaps there's another logistical problem with getting together another way. If you use this method, you had better have a damn fine excuse.
The Phone Call:
Much better. Standard deal now, actually. A phone call, and make sure that both parties are alone and have some time and privacy. It's a real-time conversation once again, plus you have the personal touch of each other's voice and speech, rather than typing which comes across as flat. A phone call actually meets BARE MINIMUM requirements, and so you have to ask yourself: Was this a bare minimum relationship?
Face to face:
Best deal, honestly. Think about it yourself, wouldn't you want the respect given, wouldn't you want to hear the truth from the person in question? It's the hardest way. It means that you have to look someone in the eye and see their heart break, or harden. It means that you have to face the personal wreckage, you have to see it all come apart for your partner. This sucks very much bad. But in the end, hiding out from this method of break up is cowardly. You're not doing it to spare anyone's feelings but your own. Be brave, and face facts.
But the method of communication is only part of it.
Then there's what to say, and how to say it.
Here are some of the worst, and most common mistakes:
"I've Replaced You." Breaking up with someone by going out with someone else? High school, man. If you're over the age of 20 you have no business with this kind of crap. In the poly community we call it "wingwalking" sometimes. Set up the next deal before letting go of this one. It's rude. It's disrespectful, and it is not fair to the new partner. Give yourself a few days (minimum) to "mourn the relationship" before taking up with someone else. Otherwise it smacks of cheating or deception.
"It's not you, it's me." We all know this one. It's not a secret code anymore. Don't do it, or if you have to do it, be as honest with yourself and your partner as possible. "I am not able to continue this relationship because of BlahBlah" is a viable option.
"I love you but I'm not in love with you." Don't. Seriously. Just... don't.
So what does one say?
Honesty is good. You can sugar coat it, or you can be brutally honest.
You ARE GOING TO HURT THIS PERSON. Consider for a moment how to minimize damage.
Think of the real reason for the break up. Incompatible in bed? Tired of fighting? No common interests? Lack of respect?
Find out what it is, and tell the person that. After all, don't you want to know what went wrong when someone breaks up with you? In short, BE BRAVE, BE HONEST, and BE THERE. Don't hide behind someone else, or a persona, or a public forum. It's just plain cowardly.
I refuse to get into the "I still want to be friends." That's another rant for another day.
Comments are screened, so feel free to throw me some critique or personal anecdotes.