Owning your break-up: How to be good at being the bad guy


Owning your break-up

Being heartbroken is one of life’s worst feelings, but what about being the heartbreaker? The Imposter discusses the importance of owning your break-up and being good at being the bad guy

They say that breaking up is hard to do, and they aren’t wrong. At one point or another, we’ve all been stuck playing out a failing relationship and wondering how exactly to press eject. But the most important thing isn’t just being able to break-up; it’s about doing it decently too.

We live in an age of instant dating and hook-up apps, where accountability is scarce and ghosting is commonplace. As a result, there’s an army of daters entering into relationships with no real experience of ending relationships properly, especially if they go beyond casual. Now, more than ever, it’s almost overwhelmingly tempting to duck out without ever having to deal with the other person’s feelings. Or worse, checking out completely and hoping the other person will break-up with you instead.

Well, I say enough is enough. It’s about time that we start owning our break-ups and getting good at being the bad guy.

So, you’ve decided to end your relationship, what now?

Can’t I just message them?

There is much debate around what level of commitment warrants an ‘official’ break-up and what medium this should take. Personally, I’ve always leaned towards face to face conversations for serious relationship. If I’ve loved you, if you’ve met my friends or family or if we’ve been away together; I owe you a face to face conversation. There are always exceptions though. If your relationship has been in a bad place for a while and you’re finding it impossible to talk to one another properly, hashing things out via email (not messaging apps) can sometimes be a more appropriate route to take.

Be as clear and direct as possible

If you feel as though the magic has gone, don’t tell your partner that you’re leaving them because you’re sick of them! Instead, explain how you don’t think the chemistry between you is the same anymore. If it’s something you don’t think you can work through then say so. Don’t shatter their self-confidence with your bluntness and don’t agree to work through things if you know your heart isn’t in it anymore. Be honest without being cruel. Similarly, if they’ve hurt you, say so; but try to resist using your break-up as an opportunity to get your own back. Take the high road; it’s much less messy and will ultimately get you what you want faster.

Be prepared to be the villain of the piece

Whichever way you look at it, you’re the one who’s officially dissolving this relationship. You have to be prepared for your partner to dislike what you have to say and, quite possibly, dislike you for saying it. The narrative of the ‘dumpee’ will always cast the dumper as the villain because you’re the one striding into their life and shifting the roles that you play together. You have to be prepared for some push back and the possibility that they may end up hating you for taking this action. In fact, they might hate you forever. You can’t please everyone 100% of the time, and you can’t control how your ex-partner perceives you after a break-up, but don’t let that prevent you from ending a relationship that’s wrong for you.

Face the music

If you’ve done something that you shouldn’t have, own up to it and come clean. Don’t lie or just say whatever will make it less messy for you. Whether we like it or not, our actions have consequences, so be an adult and respect your partner enough to tell them the truth. Rewriting the truth to control your partner’s reaction and make it easier to get what you want is not only a manipulation, it’s also completely classless. So, do the decent thing and face the music, even if you really hate this particular song. You’ll be a better person for it, I promise!

Always remember, it really isn’t about you

Although the decision to end the relationship may be yours, the act of breaking up needs to be about the other person. Remember, you’re coming into this conversation knowing your mind and being completely prepared. Your partner may not have had the same amount of time to reflect and properly digest what is happening. Consider this when deciding how, when and where to break-up.

Break-ups are incredibly difficult, awkward and emotional, especially if you’re the one breaking hearts. Even so, trying to cherry pick the parts of a break-up that you want to engage with and the parts that you’d rather not, isn’t going to get you anywhere constructive.  Nothing can replace clear, open and honest communication. No-one wants to be the villain but, sometimes, dignifying your relationship with a proper ending that honours and acknowledges how much you did mean to one another, means being the best bad guy you can be.

Read more from The Imposter on her blog My Life As An Imposter or keep up to date on Twitter @cocoapatootie

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