How to Break Up With Someone the 'Nice Way'

broken heartThe dreaded breakup is a tiny slice of hell for both the one doing the breaking up and the one being broken up with. Most times, that slice of hell is slightly larger for the one being dumped. The end of a relationship can be a very traumatic experience no matter what, even if the one initiating the split is being "nice."

Nice? I really don't think there is a nice way to break up, is there? One study says there is. 


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Apparently, to be nice, you have to break up with love, the researchers say. Love? Well, this is awkward, but isn't the whole reason you break up with someone because there is no more love there?

Their point is that you have to drudge up what little love there is -- compassionate love, as the experts are calling it -- and break it to your significant other softly. This will no doubt come more easily for some. Some people just don't get compassion.

Confused? Well, here are the examples of breaking up that the study in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships outlines. See how many you can personally identify with. And then let's discuss.

1. Withdrawing and avoiding. In this scenario, the one who wants to break up starts to pull back and avoid intimacy with the other instead of just telling the partner what's going on. So no more kissing, no more sex, no more talking, no more acting like you're in a relationship, period. This is most definitely not a nice way to break up. Effective? Probably, though it might be a long, slow burn for those who are gluttons for punishment.

2. Manipulating. This is when the partner initiating the split starts acting mean in the hopes that the other person does the breaking up so he or she doesn't have to. It's a total cop out -- and it doesn't always work. It also gives the one being manipulated a complex. SO not nice.

3. Using an impersonal form of communication. This is pretty self-explanatory -- it means breaking up by text, email, on a social media site, over voicemail, or another "indirect" way instead of in person or on the phone. This one sucks. I'm speaking from experience -- I've been broken up with by text. It's awful. Don't do it. Ever. Don't do it by email, either.

4. Using a positive tone. You know the saying "It's not what you say but how you say it"? This apparently works wonders if you can somehow sugarcoat a breakup and not end up hurting the other person's feelings. I see how that's nice, but it's still going to be hurtful even if there is a cherry on top of the knife being stabbed into your heart.

5. Being open. This is all about being honest. So if you want to break up, instead of telling everyone but your partner, tell your significant other. Sounds "nice." Honey, I brought home the milk you asked for. By the way, I want to break up. See how well that goes over.

In my experience (and when thinking about the experiences of friends), 1, 2, and 3 were most commonly used. Maybe there was a bit of 4 and 5, but that usually came when 1, 2, and/or 3 were attempted first.

I come back to this, though: There isn't ever a truly "nice" way to break up with someone. It's a split -- it's going to come with hurt feelings, maybe tears, possibly followed by a lot of alcohol and/or chocolate cake, and not the celebratory kind.

There definitely are mean ways to break up with someone. But if you want to be the good guy even when you are being the bad guy, you can follow the "rules" on the nice way to break the "I don't want to be with you anymore" news. And remember ... NEVER break up by text or email!

Is there really a nice way to break up with someone or being broken up with? Have you experienced any nice way or mostly the not nice way?


Image via josh james/Flickr

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