Ask Dr. Tracy

Ending It

Nobody enjoys ending a relationship with someone, especially someone they care about. Whether you're breaking up or being broken up with, the key word to remember is "grace." Try to end the relationship gracefully. There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but if you sneak out the back, Jack, you'll only wind up with a trail of ex-lovers bad- mouthing you.

Even if you haven't dated very much, known each other very long, or made promises of lifelong fidelity, the person who's being left is going to be upset. They're going to feel hurt and rejected, and maybe even angry.

So when you break up with someone, be sure to let them know you think they're okay, that you like them as a person, and even that you want to stay friends. After all, there must have been something that you liked about the person in the beginning. Whatever you liked is still there.

Here's how to end a relationship with class and style:

  1. Break up cleanly and completely, not partially. Leaving someone with hope that you'll get back together when you know you won't is cruel and unusual punishment.

  2. Show respect for the person by telling them in person. Breaking up by phone or by letter is cowardly. Unless you're physically afraid of the person you're leaving, do it face to face.

  3. Do it in a restaurant or other public place where emotions are more likely to be contained.

  4. Reassure the other person that they're worthy, but it's just not working out. If you're in love with someone else, say so. In effect, take the blame and don't give any.

  5. Return expensive gifts and belongings. If you've been given a "friendship" or "engagement" ring or other gift, give it back.

Related Keywords: Letting Go, Love Strategies

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