Breaking up needn't be so hard to do

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A “good breakup” is perhaps the most cherished oxymoron that exists.

With a few tips and a little polishing, you can make ending a relationship feel just as good as when you first walked into it.

In fulfilling this seemingly contradictory notion, there are many issues to consider. “Angela,” who is a senior writer at the Toronto-based men’s health site www.xyyz.ca offers her own tips for a clean split:

The right timing. Staying with [your partner] just because it’s cruel to break up before Valentine’s Day is a bad idea. Valentine’s is about (hopefully) true romance. If you don’t love her or him, don’t lie and don’t wait. That way you and your soon-to-be-ex will have time to make alternative plans to celebrate " or curse " the stupid Cupid.

The place. The most painful-yet-swift breakup I had was at a crowded restaurant on a Friday night. There were too many people around and I didn’t want to relieve my dumper’s guilt by making a scene. A public place may seem cold, but it limits the opportunity for the dumpee to act up.

The wording. Make it short. Do not guilt your party. It’s great to be honest, but use your common sense to decide if too much honesty may be cruel. A line like, “I’m not that attracted to you anymore,” is just plain bad taste.

The after-care. As with most things in life, making a decision is better than sitting on a fence. Once you dump your partner, do not booty call on Valentine’s night, or worse, call to reminisce about the good old days.

When it comes to expressing your inner concerns, it’s best to play it smart and choose your words carefully. This is critical if you want to maintain some semblance of integrity.

“Exercise discretion when it comes to wording your feelings,” Dan Colbert, a fourth-year management and organizational science student, says. “At that particular time, tensions are running high, which could cause a disaster. Why say it in 10 words when you can say it in five?”

“When contemplating a breakup, I usually find that I’ve been in the relationship too long; it becomes a complete routine " that’s when you know it’s time for a change,” Megan Stang, a fourth-year health-science student, says. “Instead of being in a relationship for yourself, you’re in it for the other person. When you really don’t like the person, the breakup isn’t that bad because you don’t care about what they say or do after.”

“First thing that comes to mind is what’s best for yourself,” Colbert says. “Flirting is the first sign that something isn’t right. When you’re thinking about other girls, it’s probably time to pack it in.”

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