It's a difficult prospect. There's nothing wrong. He's a wonderful boyfriend- he says all the right things at all the right times, he's good to you and treats you well, you fight just enough to keep it interesting but not enough to make an impact, he's supportive and kind, giving and thoughtful - he's everything you wished a boyfriend could be -and yet something just isn't right.
While he's thinking marriage, you're still thinking of it as temporary, you know it's not forever-you just haven't mentioned it because some part of you wonders if you're simply self-sabotaging, that perhaps you're measuring your relationship against those in chick flicks, that maybe relationships aren't meant to be what you thought they were, that there's always one person more in love than the other.
You start to disconnect yourself and he feels it, your emotional unavailability makes him feel rejected, dejected, unwanted. You try to make up for it by being over-the-top romantic, even though it's not your style and everything seems okay for a while-maybe you just need to try harder- but sometimes, it's better to simply let go than to deprive him of a chance to meet someone who can love him with the same fire with which he loves you.
It's a difficult prospect but it's a very real one and an increasingly popular one as women find themselves focusing on their career path over their relationships. It's not a commentary on how career women have to be 'hard', it's just that now with so many opportunities, we're no longer transfixed by the idea of a big wedding to a dreamboat husband who will work to support his family while you tend to the home and children.
Ending a relationship that is from outward extern, entirely wonderful is possibly the hardest thing to do, but once you're outside of it, it will be clear as day that it was the right decision - even if he or she can't see it immediately, down the track, they'll be grateful that you left so that they could find something better suited. It's the actual break up that's the hard part.
Here are our tips for doing it with minimal fallout:
When there's nothing wrong, the thought of choosing the words to end it seems impossible. You'll summon up those cliched lines from films and the person will find it insulting. If you've been having problems that aren't really improving or if you've noticed the person has been unhappy (or vice versa), make that your starting point, let them know how much you care about them, let them know why you're doing this but leave out anything that can be construed as judgemental or blaming. If you're legitimately doing this for them, because you can tell they're not happy, then tell them that but if that isn't the truth, it can shut down the conversation pretty quickly.
Choose your location wisely. Unless you're a complete lunkhead, don't take them to a public place for the sake of them not making a scene, they will always make a scene if taken to a public place because you're not giving them the opportunity to truly take it in, you're more likely to elicit an anger response through such an impersonal scenario. Always choose somewhere private, whether that's a room in your house where you can shut yourselves away and be uninterrupted or a place you both know and feel comfortable.
If you live with the person and it's more their home than yours (ie renting with their name on the lease or they own the home), plan to move out immediately or at least have somewhere else to stay that night. If they're likely to get angry to the point of destroying things you'll know in advance so start moving things out in small amounts that they won't notice over time so that you can fit everything in one car load when the time comes. Recruit friends to help if needed but make sure they come after the breaking up part is done and the person has migrated to a different area of the house, don't allow your friends to interact with the person unless necessary to ease the process. If the person isn't the angry type, plan to stay elsewhere that night and arrange a time to come back with friends to move your things out.
If you don't live together, it's infinitely easier - well, logistically anyway.
Should There Be a Last Hurrah?
It's common to think it'd make things easier and ensure things end on a good note if there's a final date, a last supper - however it just builds up in the person's mind that things are great before you drop them back to earth with the news that you're leaving them.
If you're looking to break up, you shouldn't want to be liberal with affection anyway but don't put it on for the sake of an amicable split. It's confusing and unnecessary.
If you've gotten to this point, you must be pretty resolute, but even the strongest are still moved by someone crying, telling you they thought you were the one and how they didn't see it coming (even if you thought it was obvious). This is especially true when it's the woman doing the breaking - we're not used to seeing a man cry, especially so if he's not the emotional kind and in the moment it can be jolting and make you questions whether what you're doing is right.
Expect to Ride a Wave of Emotion for Days if not Weeks
You just left someone who was wonderful and a relationship where nothing was exactly wrong- it just wasn't right. You're likely alone, surfing couches or going it alone in a place of your own. This is where all the second guessing comes in and you'll find yourself surging between being adamant that you made the right decision and the overwhelming self doubt that you've just royally stuffed up.
Be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with friends who know your relationship, know you ex-partner and know what you need. Perspective is an amazing thing and most certainly everything you need right now.
If you've moved into your own place, make it a 'home' - buy yourself flowers every week to make the house bright, furnish beds and sofas with comfy blankets and cushions, welcoming bedding and dot candles about the place for relaxing candlelight. Hang artwork and make your new house a real home, even if it's just a temporary one.
Don't Jump on the Tinder Wagon Immediately
While your friends will undoubtedly advise swiping right on as many potentials as possible right now to 'get your mind off it' , this leads to dangerous behaviour and scenarios and as well as being a bad move health-wise, mentally, you're not going to feel fulfilled (in a deeper sense of the word), you're more likely to feel devalued and look fondly on your fresh ex-relationship. This is where couples commonly get back together - either because the person who did the breaking has a freak-out about the decision and the new-found singledom or because the complacency of the known becomes too attractive in the loneliness of the single life. This just starts a vicious circle and often, infidelity on both parts - the person who was broken sees it as a means of getting back at you or for evening the playing field emotionally and the person who did the breaking cheats because they never really wanted back in but they were too afraid/ timid/ complacent to go through it all again.
Don't Focus on the Good Times
It's easy to look fondly on the good times, on the person's behaviour during the breakup, the things they say to try to fix it and the plethora of amazing things they've done but right now, this is not what you need. This is liable to just upset you and push you towards those negative behaviours mentioned earlier in the search for affection.
Don't necessarily focus on the bad points but remind yourself WHY you made the decision. It's not something you entered into lightly - if you were resolute enough to finally take action, there was a good reason , if not multiples smaller reasons why you felt it needed to be done.
If you think you're likely to forget them, write them down - don't cast blame or make judgements, rather make the reasons about yourself - the way being in that relationship made you feel, the restrictions you felt, the emotional sway, how things feel now and your reflections on the break up and read them often, ensuring that each point is absorbed and reflected upon with each reading.
Stay Friends But Not Too Friendly
You just left someone who has effectively been your best friend and partner in crime for the last however long. You can't lose a best friend and a partner in one go. Also, they didn't do anything wrong, they're hurting too and if they're not the type to share, they may need you to reaffirm the decision, let them know it's not about them, that it wasn't something that could be fixed. Help each other through it but don't lean on each other entirely. Certainly don't let it get to a more than friends stage and keep encounters brief. The point is to let each other know that you're there and keep conversation up, talk about your day, let each other know that things are ok and eventually taper off contact to a level where you're just friends, not as close as you were, but friendly.
Take Care of Yourself
You made a huge decision, it's going to be hard bu it's also going to be wonderful - it'll just take time to get there. Go easy on yourself. Try new hobbies and see friends to keep busy. It will stop weighing on you. You may not be grieving the relationship but you're still grieving a loss, a best friend, someone you'd usually turn to for everything, even just to tell exciting news to . Set a goal and start working towards to . Be kind to yourself and take it a day at a time. It will get easier and though it may not feel like it for a while, you did make the right decision.