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It’s Not You It’s Me – The Civilized Guide to Breakups

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Breakups happen. It usually isn’t easy. More often than necessary breakups are downright ugly. So, this is my guide to doing the dirty deed with as much class as possible. This guide is intended someone who is ending a relationship that is established. However, this is not a guide for talking divorce. That’s a whole different ball of wax.
What to say? Something like this.

“In the time we’ve spent together I’ve really come to appreciate what a great person you are. This is the very reason I feel you deserve more than I am really able to put into this. I just don’t feel my head or heart is in this relationship the way it should be. Because of that I know as hard as this is, it’s time for me to end this. At some point maybe we can reconnect as friends, but for now, I think we really need some time completely apart to adjust to this. It’s going to be hard for both of us.”
In other words, it’s not you, it’s me.


What not to do.

  • Do not in anyway indicate you’re confused or uncertain. It’s not fair to the other person. It leaves them in limbo.

  • Do not use words like “right now”, which indicate things might change in the future.

  • Do not give a list of things you think are wrong with the other person needs to change or things you think are wrong with them. Own this.

  • Do not say you need space or a break as a way of making the talk easier. Space and breaks rarely work. Be in or out.

  • Do not do this over text or email. Dignify the other person by doing it in person.

  • Do not have this talk after sex.

  • Do not call to check on them or email just to say “hello” anytime soon.

  • Do not even think about the booty call or sex with an ex. As tempting as that is, it’s never really a good idea and everyone knows it.

What to do next.

  • When you are finished, give them a hug, not a kiss and offer to get them a ride home.

  • Make arrangements through a mutual friend or acquaintance to return personal items or keys.

  • Change your Facebook status if you need to in the middle of the night and delete and status update, so you aren’t humiliating your ex with 1000 people asking you why you’re single.

  • Cut social media connections. It’s awkward to unfriend your ex, but it’s far less awkward than worrying about how they will react to seeing pictures of you with a date in the future.

  • Notify your pertinent loved ones.

  • If you share close personal friends or workmates, let them know as a matter of courtesy, but do not make them confidants.

  • Lay low on the dating scene for at least a couple of weeks, if not longer out of respect.

  • If any communication is absolutely necessary, and it might be for wrapping up loose ends, try to do as much of it as possible via email.

  • Spend time every day visualizing both yourself and your ex, thriving, happy, and healthy through your transition

If you are living together at the time of the breakup:

  • You need to be the one to find a place to stay until details are handled.

  • Figure that out before the talk because nothing is more awkward than trying to manage that in the red hot moment. A friends couch will due.

  • Be prepared to contribute to joint household finances for 30 days after the split or to contribute to the other person finding a place. They haven’t had the time to ramp up for this the way you have.

  • Work quickly to straighten out legalities like who’s name is on the utility accounts and cell phones if you share.

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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.

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