By Nick Anstett and Kaitlyn Fowler
Elm Staff Writers
This week we are talking about breakups, and when they need to happen. What is the apropriate way to breakup with some one? How do you keep the relationship civil after a break up? Nick and Kaitlyn give their opinions on this troubling topic.
Nick says… Unfortunately, all good things have to end at some point. Even some of the happiest and healthiest relationships reach a point where both sides just aren’t compatible anymore. There is no shame in this. In fact, knowing where and when to end a floundering relationship is a good thing. It’s better to part while things are still mostly amicable than to force yourself to endure weeks of possible emotional stress.
Again, (I’m aware I probably sound like a broken record at this point) the best break up is a direct one. Make it clear that you are no longer happy in the relationship and that you do not want it to continue. In most situations an explanation of some kind would be at least courteous to your girlfriend or boyfriend. Especially if the two of you have been dating for an extended period of time, suddenly opting out of a relationship with no apparent reason why would be particularly traumatic for him or her.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that when initiating a break up you need to keep his or her feelings in mind. While it is possible that they are just as ready to opt out at as you are, it’s also just as likely that they think nothing is wrong. Explain directly and with care why you can no longer be in a relationship with them, but avoid using insults or direct attacks against their character. Focus on how you feel, and why you feel the way you feel. If your reason is that your partner has terrible table manners and smells like hibernating elephant, it’s best to leave these untouched.
Instead, explain that your partner makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s important to find the perfect limbo between vagueness and specificity. Perhaps most importantly, remember to be firm. There is nothing with more potential for extended stress and heartbreak than being talked back into a relationship once you have made your mind that it is time for it to end. Chances are that you have reached this decision for a reason, and you’ve committed to it.
If you still have some doubt, approach the break up as a conversation rather than a decision. Come to a resolution together as a couple. Break ups are not fun, and chances are in all situations someone is going to be at least a little hurt. I do think these methods are a strong foundation to avoiding future emotional pain and making the process as easy as possible.
Kaitlyn says… Breakups are never easy. Ever. No matter how you promise to stay friends or go back to the way things were the reality of it is never just as easy as that. Just because it isn’t the easiest thing in the world, doesn’t mean that breakups have to be horrible, soul wrenching piles of pain either. Okay yes, there will be some pain, but any breakup, even if it’s just friends who fight and can’t forgive, causes pain.
It’s the aftermath that is the hardest part; the constantly running into each other because, let’s face it, this is a pretty small campus. It’s going to be awkward without a doubt. Frankly, it would be a little weird if it wasn’t awkward. Just think about it, you have shared a highly personal and intimate relationship with this person and now that relationship is gone. Of course there are going to be ripples from the giant relationship-ending pebble you’ve just tossed in the water.
The best thing you can do is just handle it with dignity. Obviously the two of you had liked each other. Maybe you didn’t know each other all that well before you started dating or maybe you were friends for years. Either way there were definitely some qualities about that other person that made you like them and want to spend time with them. Sure there are probably valid reasons you broke up and maybe you hate their guts for it, but if not maybe you can be friends or at least friendly someday.
I’m friendly with some of my exes, but the pattern that I’ve noticed is that the exes I’ve become friends with again handled our breakup dignity. There was no name-calling or rumors floating around or anything nasty like that. Not having all that junk in the way made it so much easier to rekindle our friendships later on down the road.
Note that I said later on down the road. We didn’t jump straight into the let’s be friends category. The pain is still going to be fresh from the breakup so getting lunch with them quickly may not be the way to a good friendship. Maybe you have to wait a few weeks or maybe it’s even a few months. For me an ex I just recently became friends with I didn’t speak to for almost two years after our breakup. We had spent so much time apart we could see each other and just be ourselves and hang out without having to dwell on the unpleasant breakup so far now in our pasts.
Here’s my main piece of advice for you when breaking up with someone. Just because you don’t want to be a couple doesn’t mean you have to crush them in the process. You can always rebuild a broken bridge in the future if you choose to. Although, if you’ve burned that bridge to ash in your breakup that road may be closed down for good and unfortunately you two won’t have anyone else to blame for that but yourselves.