Breaking up is a little like field-dressing your own chest wound. You don’t have a choice. Your heart’s still thumping in there somewhere. Do it right and the damage might be negligible, the scar insignificant. You’ll be back in the s— before you know it. Do it poorly and you’ll be left lying around for weeks in a bed somewhere, pondering your future in an emotional wheelchair, with this nasty weeping gash over your heart. And eventually that will start to smell.
1. Operate quickly.
If you’re the one doing it, do it now. Do it tonight. Don’t wait. Don’t over-plan, or rehearse excessively. Quit Googling, you putz. Don’t read any more Web pages promising to help you with the perfect breakup. Get moving. Time is your enemy. Every hour you spend in the company of someone you don’t want to be with, someone who may very much think otherwise with regards to you, is the perpetration of a fraud. If the breakup is happening to you, go just fast enough that you still understand everything you’re hearing. Don’t sit there and beg for a few more minutes. That’s pathetic. Always. In this way, time is your enemy, too.
2. Tell, don’t show.
At their very beginning, and at their very end, relationships are about want. Just say what you desire. Clearly, honestly. Declare yourself in these terms only. Go for the simplest answer every time. Being with someone is a kind of long-term demonstration, an act of showing the other person what you feel. But breaking up is simply an act of telling them what you want. Get clear on this: they either want the same thing, or they do not.