Talking With an Expert About How to Break Up

Dr. LeslieBeth Wish
Dr. LeslieBeth Wish

In this how to break up interview, you will learn the best way to end a relationship with your partner. Expert Dr. LeslieBeth Wish is a psychologist and licensed clinical social worker. She writes a weekly relationship column for QualityHealth and articles for The National Association of Social Workers. Currently, she is doing research on the love problems of professional women and you can find out more about that on her website, Love Victory.

How to Break Up Interview with Dr. LeslieBeth Wish

LTK: How does someone know he/she is ready to break up?

Dr. LeslieBeth Wish (LW): Breaking up is difficult enough, so don't make it worse by breaking up in haste, only to find yourself riding a rollercoaster of breaking up, getting back together and breaking up again.

If you want a clean and smart break up, make sure you can answer these questions first before ending your relationship:

  • Have I tried approaches that don't involve nagging, criticizing and blaming?
  • Have my partner and I gotten beyond complaining and have moved on to coming up with solutions?
  • How much do I really understand how I might be contributing to the problem?
  • Why did I choose this person in the first place?
  • Was there something going on in my life that would have made me rush into love, such as illness, death of a parent, financial woes or ticking of the biological clock?
  • Have I given the relationship time to see if our new ways of communicating work?
  • Have I sought professional help?
  • Have I been in this love situation before and why?

LTK: When is it a good time to break up?

LW: It's important to be sensitive to your partner's needs. Of course, every situation is different but the following are some guidelines of what you don't want to tell your partner:

  • Before an important work event such as a job interview or major project
  • While someone close to your partner is in a medical crisis such as a parent who is very ill
  • When there is an important exam
  • When your partner just received bad medical news or has to undergo treatment or surgery that is scary

LTK: What can someone say when breaking up?

LW: It's a good idea to make it short and sweet and follow these tips:

  • If possible and true, tell your partner that he/she is a good person.
  • Mention one or two things about you to hang onto that explains the reason for the break up. For example, "I'm not ready for a commitment" or "I need to concentrate on my family/career."
  • If the relationship has been stormy or abusive, generally, you should get out first and explain later - if ever. Abusive people don't see themselves as being part of the problem, so there are very few words they will hear.
  • End with an offer of friendship or kind words to each other.

LTK: What are some methods of breaking up?

LW: How we hear bad news from others greatly affects our reactions. Follow these tips to break up with someone:

  • Do not use emails or text messages. Don't be an impersonal coward. Would you want to get a message that says, "It's over!"?
  • Hand write a kind note that follows the guidelines above and leave it for the person and/or mail it snail mail to the person.
  • Talk things out - make it short and sweet - and still send the note. Sometimes people read notes, over-react and then calm down and are able to read the note to learn from it again.

LoveToKnow Dating would like to sincerely thank Dr. LeslieBeth Wish for her time and advice in this how to break up interview.

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Talking With an Expert About How to Break Up