Whether you have been casually dating or are invested in a long-term relationship, it's never easy to break up with your significant other. From the logistics of where to meet, to the details of what to say, there's no foolproof way to end a relationship gracefully. The key is to think about the relationship and make an effort to be honest and respectful during the breakup.
Long-term relationships, or those that have become sexually intimate, deserve to be ended in person. This gives your significant other an opportunity to ask questions and respond, which will make it easier for him or her to accept the breakup and move on.
Some people prefer to break up over dinner, but that can lead to an awkward situation if the breakup discussion occurs before the meal is over. Meeting for coffee or drinks, or to simply go for a walk, may make it easier to end the conversation naturally.
Talk over the phone
If you have been dating for only a short period and the relationship has been more casual, it may be better to break up over the phone. Calling lets you have a two-way conversation, but can be more comfortable for you both if you haven't yet reached the stage of having emotional discussions in person. Be sure to call at a time when your partner can talk and don't leave a breakup message on his or her voice mail.
Do not use email or text messages
Sending a one-way breakup message via email or text message is bad form in any relationship. That is also true for breaking up through social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. No matter how unhappy you are in the relationship, you shouldn't let discomfort keep you from ending it over the phone or in person.
No one wants to hear "It's not you, it's me" or other breakup cliches. You aren't doing your partner any favors by hiding behind these generic cop-outs. You will both know that there are things you are not saying, and not knowing the reason for the breakup can make it much harder for your partner to heal and get past the relationship.
Stick to the facts
It's important to be honest when breaking up with your significant other, but you don't have to be cruel or overly critical. Focus on the relationship instead of any perceived flaws with either of you. It's more appropriate to talk about a basic incompatibility with your different personalities, approach to life or goals for the future.
Take time apart
Even if your relationship ends amicably and you want to stay friends, it's best to spend some time apart. Give yourselves several weeks to get over your romantic relationship. In time, you may be able to move on and establish a new relationship as friends.