Once you’ve decided that parting ways is the best solution, doing the actual breakup can be pretty nerve racking, since people’s hearts are on the line. Here is a series of steps to help you through it and suggestions of ways to reduce pain caused to the other person.
Make sure you understand why you are doing it. Sometimes the surface reason isn’t the real reason. Dig deep within yourself to find the real reason. Being surrounded by the situation can cloud your judgment. Separate yourself from the situation and spend some alone time. This will help you gain the clarity you need. I’ve found journaling to be an effective tool.
2. Self Honesty
Make the commitment to be honest with yourself and the other person. The truth will set you free. Be committed to that.
3. Setup Meeting Time
Setup mutual time to talk to your partner as soon as possible. Some people are opposed to phone breakups. I think that face-to-face is always best, but if distance separates you, it’s best to do so as soon as possible rather than waiting.
4. State of Compassion
Before your meeting, get into a state of compassion for the other person. In a state of compassion, you will exude love and understanding, which you’ll need to help the other person heal. Some suggestions to help you get into a compassionate state:
- Deep breathing. Stand up straight, close your eyes, and place your hand on your heart. Take deep, long inhales and exhales. You can count the inhale/exhale length. After inhaling, hold your breath for a five count before exhaling slowly. Repeat at least fifteen times.
- Gratitude. Sit somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, and picture everything you are grateful for. One by one, images of people, situations, places, and things appear in your imagination. Alternatively, try writing this down instead of visualizing.
- Focus on love. Close your eyes. Optionally, put on some slow music that you enjoy. In your imagination, go back to all the times when you felt loved and when you felt love for others. Imagine times where you truly felt happy and free. Imagine yourself as a little kid, experiencing joy and freedom. Do this exercise for at least five to ten minutes.
5. The Meeting
During the meeting, focus on communicating your reasons clearly and respectfully for the sake of the other person. Here are some additional pointers for when explaining yourself during the meeting:
- When explaining, focus on how things made you feel, this way your partner doesn’t get defensive. Make it clear that the situation is not their fault, since blaming doesn’t add value in helping the situation.
- Talk about things you’ve learned from the relationship and what you are grateful for.
- Be genuine in everything that you say. If you don’t mean something, don’t say it. People can detect when you are not being authentic.
6. Be There
Your partner will get emotional and possibly very upset. They will bounce between different emotional states. Your job is to be there for them. Become the observer of the situation. Stay conscious, calm, and alert.
7. Don’t Take Anything Personally
When we are emotional and feeling hurt, we can easily become irrational and say things we don’t mean. Don’t be surprised if your partner acts like a small child and says unreasonable or mean things to you. They don’t mean it. They are simply hurt and need attention from you. Don’t take anything personally. Become the observer so you don’t get attached to what’s being said and react defensively.
8. Love Them
Love them regardless of the situation. They are human and have feelings. Remember you can love people without needing to be in a romantic relationship with them. Be there for them in that state of love and compassion, regardless of how they react. This will help you find your center, while remaining calm to best help the other person deal with the situation.
9. Fully Express Emotions
If you feel like crying, do it, and do it fully. This will release the emotional clutter in your inner space.
10. Multiple Meetings
It really takes several days before news can sink in. Don’t expect to meet once and be done with it. It is your responsibility to be there for that person, at least initially during a breakup situation.
11. Be Available
Do whatever is necessary to help them heal without compromising your values. Be available for them when they need you.
Give them space. They will be hurt no matter what, so even if they appear fine on the outside, they are hurting. What they need now is time. Check up on them a few times in the beginning to make sure they are okay and to let them know that they matter. Remind them that you are here if they need your help to heal.
13. Relinquish Guilt
You may experience guilt, since you are the one initiating the breakup. You see that you’ve caused pain and this may affect your state of being. The following are some ideas that help to let go of this feeling:
- Deep breathing
- Alone time
- Exercise to release energy
Please visit my blog  for more advice on dealing with a breakup.