Neil Sedaka sang “breaking up is hard to do” 40 years ago, and 40 years later the sentiment still stands. Whether you’re the bearer of bad news or on the receiving end of the blow, breaking up is plain awful. I’ve wrapped my head around the proper way to write this column and I kept asking myself: is there an art to breaking up?
The resounding word of advice you’ll hear from people is to break up in person. This should be a no brainer especially if the person is accessible in person. If the person is not, break up on the phone or through Facetime. I think my biggest pet peeve of break ups is when someone visits the other person just to break up with them. Stay where you are and just do it. You can grieve and heal separately once you get off the phone or Facetime just as you would if you were to leave a park bench after an in person break up.
Do not text, Facebook Message, Snapchat, Tweet, Instagram or Facebook a break up. Do not leave the lingering evidence of your last words to each other just floating somewhere. When you break up with someone you already hear their last words in your head for about a year. They knock around your head sometimes even when you think you’re over the person.
The best advice I can give is not how to break up, but when. This point of time is different for everyone because it takes time to realize or get to the point of wanting to end a relationship. It is such a definite act that often we wait too long to end something. Sometimes we think that we can see a future with someone, but cannot be with them right now. Time is more fluid than we perceive, and people can be good in your life at certain points and not great at others.
However, when there is an irreparable lack of trust in a relationship, when there is a lack of respect for each others’ lives and independence outside the relationship, when you believe that you simply fell out of love, it’s time. Some of these are hard reasons, but they’re important. As painful as break ups are, under these circumstances a person will feel better and more spiritually liberated single.
I don’t have the answer. I don’t think anyone does. Breaking up is awkward, uncomfortable, painful and irrational. It can be strange. My first break up ended with my ex and I saying “I love you” for the first time. There’s no set way, and no matter what end you’re on, or even if it’s mutual, it stinks to break up. Sometimes, you simply need to do it in order to see a light on the other side. In this case, yes breaking up is hard to do, but it will get easier.