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Skye Thomas
Breaking up with honor.

I wish I could say that all relationships turn into happily ever after but thats just not true. Sometimes you work really hard at making a relationship move forward and it just doesnt have that special spark of magic needed to make it over the long haul. Other times, you got into the relationship for all the wrong reasons and now its time to bail out before you really hurt the other person. Nobody can really help you make the decision to stay or to go. You know in your deepest heart of hearts if the person you are involved with is good for you or not. You know whether or not you really love them or just want to love them. Nobody can make you fall in love, not even you. It happens or it doesnt so for the sake of this article, lets assume that youre in that place where you have made the tough decision and youre going to end the relationship youre currently involved in. How do you make it as painless as possible for both of you?

Have you ever found yourself going along enjoying what you think is a perfectly pleasant relationship only to have the other person dump you without explanation? Or worse, they do it without even facing you? Its bad enough to have a relationship end, but to not even know why can cause our inner critic to come out and wreck havoc all over our poor self image. If you think that you are doing them a favor by not telling them what they did wrong, you are sadly mistaken. You are making it even worse for them then if you had simply told them the truth.

If the other person did something wrong, like you caught them cheating or they have some sort of a major flaw in your opinion, then you have to make up your own mind how best to word things. If they dont ask you why you are breaking up, then I guess you could keep it to yourself. However, if they ask you why you are ending the relationship, unless you really hate their guts, you owe it to them to tell them the truth. One would hope that if it was something they could fix, that you would have at least discussed the subject with them prior to deciding to break up. If after trying to openly and honestly work through a problem, it just doesnt work, then you can tell them that its that same problem that you tried to discuss with them earlier. They will already know that you were not happy about it.

If the person you are dumping didnt do anything wrong, then tell them so. Theres nothing worse then tearing yourself apart after a break up trying to figure out what you did wrong. Why did they leave you? Wasnt everything going so nicely? Tell them the truth. If you are a player and you never stay with anyone for very long, then you should learn to say so preferably up front at the beginning of a relationship, but if not then at least relieve them of the self-criticism that happens from not knowing why someone is leaving. If you are dumping the person because you have been flirting with someone else and have decided that the other person is smarter, better looking, funnier, wealthier, or whatever else they are, then you should tell the person you are dumping the truth. Dont tell them that you think someone else is superior to them. Tell them that youve been cheating on them and that you have found someone else. You should make it clear that you cheated because you were selfish or undisciplined not because they are flawed.

If you are going to break up with someone, you should honor them enough to at least do it yourself and preferably in person. If you cannot do it in person, then at least speak to them on the telephone. Do not use the Internet to end a relationship. Do not do it via any form of a Dear John letter either. There was a time when you couldnt get in touch with soldiers and others who were overseas any other way. However, our modern communications system is such that most people can be reached by telephone even if only occasionally. If youve made a promise to wait for someones return, then you can just keep your promise and break up in person if there is really no way to reach them. No, you dont need to write them love letters and pretend that you still have feelings for them, but a Dear John letter is a horrible thing for a soldier to receive and could likely send them impulsively into a suicide mission. Wait until they call you or even better, wait until their home on leave.

Dont send your friend to do it for you and dont do it when theyre going to have to be seen in public for the next few hours. Dont do it during a lunch date when you know they have to go back to work. Dont do it on the way to a major event. Dont call them at work to do it. Do it in person on a Friday evening when they have the weekend off to recover before going back to work on Monday. Make sure you time it so that they have time to ask questions and to make sense of it all. If you really feel that the two of you would be better off as friends, then tell them how much you really mean it that you want to remain friends. Sometimes we really can be friends after a break up, but it can take a bit of time. Speak to them with the same kindness and honesty that you would want someone to use with you. Walk in their shoes throughout the process.
Skye Thomas

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