The right way to break up with someone


Monday, May 13, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


MAKING the decision to pull the plug on a relationship, whether you have been with the person for years or just a short period, can invariably be painful.

It can also ignite unhealthy emotions, such as hate and resentment, which can lead to adverse outcomes such as physical and/or emotional harm to one or both individuals.

Unfortunately, this is what most of us have been taught about what break-ups should look like. However, Sex Therapist Dr Sydney McGill says while there is no way of completely controlling how your partner will respond to you wanting to move on, planning how to go about ending the relationship can reduce the chances of a hostile situation.

Unsure how to end things the right way? Dr McGill shares some tips on how to handle a break-up maturely:


Be clear

You want to make sure that you want to discontinue the relationship, and so you want to be clear. So, instead of saying, “I do not think that things can work out”, say, “I do not wish to continue this relationship”. This way your partner is not led to believe that there is hope for you and him/her.


Consider things that may seem insignificant such as tone

Tone, setting, body language, and your choice of language when informing your partner that you don't wish to continue the relationship are very important. Use a calm, assertive tone that is free of any aggression, and make it clear, when you arrange the meet-up or talk, that you have something important to discuss.


Make it personal

Unless you are scared that the person you are in a relationship with will hurt you, inform the person that you want to discontinue the relationship face-to-face. Breaking up over the phone, through a text, call or by email, is immature and disrespectful.

Other cowardice behaviours are those who decide to ghost (disappear) or send messages through others.


Maintain eye contact

Undoubtedly, the conversation will bring about some amount of anxiety and discomfort. Maintaining eye contact is a sign of respect. It also signifies your commitment to your decision. It says that you are confident that you are making the right decision and that you are ready to move on.

Avoiding eye contact, on the other hand, shows uncertainty.


Conversations should be free of blame

When talking to your partner about your reason for moving on, it might be quite tempting to get stuck on all the things that your partner did to you that influenced your decision to move on. Instead of saying, “You are draining the life out of me”, say, “I want to focus on myself”, or, “I need to move on because our plans for the future do not align” instead of, “You are why we are stagnant”.

It is important that you are honest about the true reason for the break-up, but say it in a way to avoid a confrontation.

Make it short and sweet

Ending a relationship can be time-consuming. If you allow it, there can be plenty of back and forth, but try to avoid this. The general recommendation is that it is no longer than 30 minutes. Tell him/her your intentions; allow him/her to respond then close; you can even part with a friendly hug but don't overindulge in unnecessary conversations.


Allow your partner to say what he/she thinks or feels

Allowing your partner to express his/her feelings after you have said your bit is telling him or her that you respect what he or she has to say in response to what you have said. It does not mean that you are going to reconsider your decision and you can also make this clear to him/her.


Make sure your partner is the first to know about the

A break-up is a big decision and that means that sometimes we might find ourselves asking friends and family for advice, but when you do, make sure that the person(s) you confide in respects your privacy. A break-up is already painful and you don't want the break-up to become a gossip when he/she does not know about it.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon