As many couples have had to keep their distance amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, some are learning they like their lives more or less without their partner around. With school about to start online, some folks are anxious to cut ties and move on, while others are ready to reunite with their sweetheart and live in a post-pandemic world where hugging and touching isn't taboo. With COVID-19 altering the ways relationships work and some recent graduates deciding to separate before departing for college, it's only natural that teens contemplate how to handle their breakups. Here, one Generation Next writer dives into the do's and don'ts of how to breakup without breaking a heart, and how to respond.
Taking it well
So you’ve just been dumped, huh? It’s probably because your significant other has read my other articles bashing relationships and romance. I am all too familiar with feelings of anger, heartache and shock that comes after the words, “We need to break up." But if you follow these guidelines, you’ll be fine.
Ladies, fellas, I know the first thing you want to do when getting dumped is try to fix the relationship. This is a big no-no. When you’re crying and begging for it not to happen, it comes off as pathetic, which only makes your ex believe they are making the right decision. I’ve been in your shoes before once, and to this day, I beat myself up over it, because usually I have rules for this sort of thing.
Rule No. 1: Do not act hurt, but don’t overcompensate by acting like a jerk, either. Just "accept" it. I put that in quotes, because obviously you won’t be accepting it. Still, pretend that you do, and one day, you really will. I promise. It hurts now, but it won't forever.
You can ask why it’s happening, but honestly, they probably won’t tell you the real reason. They don’t want to sound selfish, rude or admit they might have done something to hurt you behind your back. So I would honestly just skip the ‘80s cop movie interrogation. All you need to know is they are clearly not happy with the relationship, so let it go. That said, don't get so wrapped up in your head asking yourself what you could've done differently. This breakup does not at all define your self worth, and one day, you'll find someone who loves you for you and would never in a million years think of leaving you — no matter what.
After the breakup, do not stalk their social media accounts or contact them. I know it’s hard, but again, we are trying to win this thing. To be honest, usually “it’s over” doesn’t really mean it’s over. Wait for them to crawl back to you, and if you act unfazed, they usually will. And if they don't, they aren't worth your time anyway.
If it’s been over a month and they haven’t contacted you, it’s good to assume that it’s officially done. The best thing you can do for yourself and them is accept it — for real this time. No, that doesn’t mean you should start dating someone else right away. Forcing yourself to move on is the worst mistake you can make — a mistake I’ve made too many times that did more bad than good. If you try rebounding or finding love again too soon, you might end up breaking more hearts, including your own all over again.
Take your time, but accept that significant other’s absence from your life. Don’t hate them, either, because it’s childish to hate someone for doing what they think is best. If they weren’t happy, the breakup was fair to both you and them. Ultimately, you deserve to be with someone who will be happy with you.
Splitting up smoothly
Call me a jerk, but I have broken up with a lot of women. Some breakups went smoothly, but most went horribly wrong. Honestly, I’m grateful for the times they went badly, because I learned what not to do and can now share that knowledge with you.
Whether you’re in an unfulfilling relationship with a real piece of work, want to focus on yourself or you just miss the single life, here are the best ways to break that special someone’s heart.
Here’s the golden rule: Tell truths, but not the truth. You know you don’t want to give the real reason you’re ending things, so what I always do is tell little reasons as to why I’m leaving, but not the main one. This way, you're not really lying, and you're also not totally crushing your girl/boyfriend either. For example, if it’s because you want to get back together with your ex, just say things like, “I feel like our lives are going in different directions,” or “Honestly, I don’t feel like we click that well.” Whatever small honest thing you can think of. Also, never say that cliché, “It’s not you, it’s me” nonsense. Has that ever actually worked? Nope.
If you’re a little sleazy jerk who cannot stomach the thought of potential awkwardness, like me, then try getting the other person to break up with you instead. It’s a tactic old as time. My worst, but perhaps funniest, attempt was when I didn’t like this one girl, so I asked her what her middle name was — you’d think as her boyfriend I’d know, but of course not. When she said it, I asked if I could call her that instead of her first name. When she asked why, I said I couldn’t stand her first name. To this day I cannot believe it, but she did not break up with me, so if you want to get someone to dump you, you’ve really got to shoot for the moon.
OK, one more tip — and it's sincere: When breaking up with someone, consider their feelings. In all seriousness, honesty and forwardness are the best policies. I know breakups are a very harsh thing to come to terms with, but if you’re breaking up with someone, it’s not about you: It’s about them. So just be real and open, and don’t stress too heavy if things take a bad turn. In the end, you both deserve happiness. You're doing what's best for you, which, even if they can't see it, is also best for them. So, trust your gut and rip off the Band-Aid.