3aib! And The City.

An everyday girl who happens to be a psychologist

The Breakup Manual

24th November 2012 - 6 mins read

My dearest readers,

Welcome back - I have truly missed writing to you.

“Congratulations, you are now dumped!” Unfortunately, Hallmark makes no such card. In fact, Hallmark does not make a single card for breakups (No, I haven’t actually fact checked this, but I’m quite certain).

Breakups. Just the word itself is filled with so much doom and gloom, so much negativity and terrible memories, so much past pain. Not to mention of course that the act itself is never, ever pleasant for anyone. Sure, maybe one in every three hundred thousand people will have a clean break, but usually, it’s a story to be told in tears or pure uncomfortable awkwardness.

Having said that, is there really ever a pleasant way to break up with someone? The answer is…. No. There is never a nice way to break up with someone because usually, one person is left feeling devastated, hurt or lost. Even when two people mutually agree on a breakup, it is normal that they would afterwards feel a little lost having left someone they had been with for a certain period of time. So no, while there is no “nice” way to break up with someone to have them avoid feeling that way, there is most definitely a respectful way to break up with someone. There is a civil and courteous way to end any relationship with someone so they don’t end up feeling like a pile of rotting garbage. Most of the time though, people do not resort to the civil way. To avoid guilt, drama or unnecessary pain for themselves, people pick one out of a variety of ways to get it over with as quickly, and as easily, as humanly possible. Bur remember that your partner, no matter how long you were with them for or how good or bad your relationship was, is not an animal. The same way you demand, expect and give respect in a relationship, you should provide the same in a breakup.

So here it is folks, the list of dos and dont’s of breakups. This list isn’t fact, just a friendly recommendation from your friendly anonymous blogger.


How To Not Break Up With Someone

  1. Text/BBM/Twitter/any messaging medium.

Why not? Usually, people in relationships, especially long-term ones, do to some extent care about the person the person they’re in a relationship with. And even the most free of people will expect that their partner cares to some extent too. Sending someone a text message to end a relationship will not honor that caring for them. It pretty much sends the message: “You’re not even worth the time of a face-to-face breakup.”

  1. Send a friend to break up on your behalf.

Why not? It’s simple, really. Your friend’s not dating the other person - you are. Don’t be a coward and do your boyfriend/girlfriend the courtesy of showing up yourself instead of a messenger.

  1. Over the phone.

Why not? This is a step up from a text message, but the audio courtesy just doesn’t cut it quite enough. While it may be uncomfortable for you, it is likely that the other person will want some face-to-face justification and/or closure.

  1. On any major occasion like birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, pet’s death, etc.

Why not? It is likely that your partner will want to experience a moment of happiness (or sadness) during any of these types of events and dropping the break up bomb will obviously take a toll on that.

  1. After doing something really sweet like giving them a present or planning a romantic evening.

Why not? Pulling a romantic gesture and then breaking up with someone may seem like putting them down easy but in reality, this only serves you. It frees you from your guilty conscience of feeling like a total douche knowing you’re planning a breakup just a few days away. Your partner will be completely confused and this could lead to a long period of insecurity.

  1. In the middle of a stressful time.

Why not? If your partner is going through something difficult, breaking up with them will only push them over the edge. Breakups usually need time to process and it’s better to do it when your partner is relaxed. This is out of respect for the relationship you had with them and they are more likely to take it better in a calm state of mind. Pick your timing well.

  1. With a cliche excuse, like “It’s not you, it’s me” or “I just need to spend time focusing on myself.”

Why not? These responses don’t give any sense of closure and are likely to keep your partner wondering for a long time afterwards. They are too generic, dry and cold. It’s up to you how honest you want to be with your reasons, but make it meaningful.

  1. By acting like a complete jerk/bitch until your partner breaks up with you instead.

Why not? Of all the ways to break up with someone, this is the most cowardly. You may think this will make your ex’s life better because now they will hate you instead of missing you, but no, this just makes you a big ol’ douche.

  1. In a moment of anger/sadness.

Why not? Most times, decisions made in an emotional state are not rational. Even if you do not end up regretting your decision to break up with the person, it is likely that the way you break up with them will be unpleasant and that is completely unnecessary.

  1. When you have ten minutes to spare.

Why not? Give your partner the courtesy of the time to talk through it. It’s not a bathroom break.

  1. By disappearing and assuming/hoping the other person will just get the point.

Why not? Do I seriously need to answer this one?

  1. With a singing trio/telegram at the office or outside the house, like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=balLV6pEO90 

Why not? No. Just…. no. (Although if you do, please e-mail me a video.)

How To Break Up With Someone

  1. Give them the courtesy of doing it in person, explain yourself, be kind and compassionate, and dare I say, give them the space to come back and talk to you if they need more closure.

Why? Breakups can shape a person’s romantic future depending on how pleasant or unpleasant they are. They affect the way people see people of the opposite gender because we are likely to remember how a relationship ended more than how it began. More importantly, the time directly after a breakup is usually upsetting and stressful and letting someone go in a respectful, courteous manner is likely to make this period of time shorter, easier and calmer. Also, leaving the door open for future communication, as long as it is not excessive or obsessive, will make you an even more admirable person. While you do not “owe” your ex anything, relationships are not made in a court of law. They are a human connection between two people and even when your relationship ends, especially when it is a very long one, that connection may still be valid and strong. Your ex may need to clarify some things even after a long period of the break up and it’s just genuinely nice to offer them that.


As always, remember my advice is not a rule. This is based on my own experiences and observations of others. You may have a better way of breaking up with someone and sometimes, you are forced to break up with people in unpleasant ways because they push you over the edge or don’t give you the chance to break up with them in a decent way (I broke up with my ex over BBM). Just remember that the more courteous and respectful you are, the likelier that your own, and your ex’s, experience will be better handled and remembered.

And if you do break up with someone through a singing telegram…. 3aibandthecity@gmail.com

Kisses and hugs,