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How many ways to start a breakup?

Psychologist Leslie Baxter (1986) once asked 64 male and 93 female students to write papers on how they split up. After the research, Baxter concluded that there is a clear classification of the way of breaking up: direct or indirect breakup. In some cases, people will clearly propose a break-up; however, it is found that in most cases, people tend to use indirect strategies to end the relationship without raising a break-up.

1. there are two direct breakup strategies.

The first strategy is to break up without any explanation. It may be just telling the other party that they want to break up, and then there will be no response or just a word or two to cover up. The second strategy is to explain the reasons while breaking up. When the breakup explains the reasons, they may adopt the methods of A. “justification”, “B.” de-escalation “and C.” positive tone/self black “.

“Breakups hurt—-the person who mentioned the break-up, will it be bad? How to end a relationship correctly”

The defence tends to elaborate the negative part of the relationship, such as blaming the other party for causing harm to itself; while “demotion” focuses on persuading the other party to agree to break up by describing the benefits of the breakup, and the breakup will hope that the two will keep the relationship, but downgrade from “partner” to “friend”. “Positive tone” refers to the process of breaking up, the breakup tries to take care of each other’s feelings, such as the possibility of trying to empathize (“I know you are so sad”), or try to reduce the other party’s guilt by self-blame (“this is my problem, don’t be sad, blame me for it”) (banks et al., 1987).

2. indirect breakup strategies can also be divided into two categories: “ghost” and “manipulation”.

“Ghost” means to disappear without saying a word. The other party may suddenly never reply to any information from you, do not answer all your calls, and suddenly cut off the relationship. And “manipulation” is through various means, to hope that the other party proposes to break up or actively away. For example, some people will use the “passive attack” to force the other party to propose a break-up by doing bad things, and some people will start to alienate each other, hoping that the other party can get hints from their own coldness (Baxter, 1986; banks et al., 1987).

Different people will take different ways of breaking up. And the same person in their own different intimate relationship, the breakup strategy may be different. Why?

What factors affect how people start breaking up?

1. different attachment types of people may have different breakup strategies

Attachment type affects people’s performance in the relationship, and of course, it also includes the time of relationship disintegration, which method will people choose to break up. In the attachment type, the people with a higher degree of anxiety being abandoned will delay their proposal for a breakup as long as possible because they are very anxious about losing their partner’s love. Or even if you take the initiative to propose a nominal break-up, it’s hard to really cut off your relationship with your predecessor. They will offer hope to continue to be friends with each other, and even retain the possibility of compounding.

People with a higher degree of “avoiding intimacy” tend to break up in indirect ways, such as they may suddenly alienate you, expect you to propose a break-up, and immediately after the break-up. This is because the backward attachment wants to avoid intimacy and deep communication. Once the discussion breaks up, they may touch the deep feelings and ideas of talking about themselves.

“Breakups hurt—-the person who mentioned the break-up, will it be bad? How to end a relationship correctly”

The safe attachment is more inclined to express their intention to break up with their partner directly. They will be more active in seeing changes in intimacy, including breakups. They think that even if the relationship ends, they still have the opportunity and the ability to enter into the next relationship with others, so breaking up is not a terrible and avoidable thing (Collins & goliath, 2012).

2. the closer you and your partner are, the more likely you are to propose a break-up

Unlike some people’s imagination, the closer the relationship between the two, the more likely they choose to show their intention to break up directly to each other. Because the intimate enough partners communicate more, and also know the other side will make a response to the break-up, trust the other party will not be too excited by the break-up. Instead, if you are less intimate, you will choose to escape to avoid possible conflicts and get rid of each other indirectly (banks et al., 1987). So if you are honest and direct, believe you were at least really close to each other.

3. the choice of a breakup depends on who you think it is wrong to break up

The attribution of the cause of the breakup will also affect the breakup strategy people adopt. The more you think the relationship is deteriorating, the more likely your partner should be responsible, the more likely it is to take a “defence” approach when breaking up, and directly tell her about her mistakes in the relationship and express his anger.

If you think that the relationship ends mainly due to external factors (such as job changes), the more likely you will cherish your relationship will tend to talk about breakup with each other positively and amicably, hoping to be friends even if they are no longer partners (Sprecher et al., 2010).

4. people with high self-esteem are more likely to offer to break up

People with high self-esteem are more likely to offer to break up than those with low self-esteem. Because of high self-esteem, people will know what kind of relationship is beneficial to them and it is easier to identify whether they are harmed in the relationship; once hurt, they will also leave the relationship more decisively. Because of high self-esteem, people know: they deserve better.

On the contrary, the low self-esteem people are less sensitive to the harm and pain in the relationship, and they don’t know what kind of relationship is good for themselves; meanwhile, in the low self-esteem people’s view, they are not worth getting a better relationship, so they often persuade themselves to satisfy the pain status quo and choose not to propose a break-up (Svoboda, 2011).

Different ways to break up

“Breakups hurt—-the person who mentioned the break-up, will it be bad? How to end a relationship correctly”

It has an impact on both breakups and Breakups

The breakup itself will not only affect the person who is separated but also has a negative or positive influence on the breakup. The impact of different breakup strategies is different (banks et al. 1987; Georgopoulos, 2011; Svoboda, 2011; Collins &goliath, 2012; Whitbourne, 2014).

1. communicate with breakup vs. not communicate, only evacuate (avoid talking about breakup)

Many people choose to “evacuate” to avoid talking about breakups, such as escaping immediately after telling each other that “we broke up,” or disappearing without saying a word, or explaining why they split up with obvious false excuses. Because it is difficult for some people to talk about the breakup. They are afraid to face the questioning and entanglement of their partners, to expose their true ideas and to be the “bad man” who hurt their partners.

However, if the breakup refuses to communicate with the breakup, it will cause great harm to the person who is separated. The breakup may constantly guess what causes the breakup to leave, even produce “intrusive ideas” (i.e. unable to think about the related matters with the breakup, and they can’t stop) to try to find the reason for the breakup. It will take more time for the broken up to be relieved.

Also, because the breakup will need to get reasons, to obey the rationality of their breakup, they have a greater chance to entangle the breakup, trying to ask for a statement; some of the breakups will think that the breakup does not know the reason for the breakup, that is, there is the ability to recover, so they will repeatedly entangle.

At the same time, for breakups and Breakups, they may lose the opportunity to repair relationships and improve themselves. Neither side can get feedback from each other to understand the problems they have exposed in the relationship, and it may take more time to realize their shortcomings in the intimate relationship and improve them in a targeted way.

Instead, if both parties can communicate with each other about the breakup, discuss the reasons for the breakup honestly. Then both sides also have the opportunity to understand the specific problems in the dissolution of the relationship, and may find the possibility of repairing the relationship; if there is no way to recover, the sharing and feedback of both sides can help them to improve their self-awareness and self-improvement.

Also, talking about breakup allows both sides to express and release their negative emotions and talk about the real ideas that might have been suppressed in the relationship. Studies have shown that if breakups and Breakups have the opportunity to talk about the reasons for breakups, both parties’ depression after the break-up will be reduced.

2. take care of the other-oriented vs. self-oriented in the process of the breakup

Some breakups try to slow down the negative emotions of the other party during the process of breaking up, such as using a gentle tone to express empathy, and actively self-blame (“blame me”) and so on. For breakups, they can avoid conflict with each other in such a way and can better comfort themselves (“at least I’m good for you when you break up”).

But taking care of the other side’s emotions can also hurt the breakup. Trying to understand and consider the feelings of the breakup may make the breakup feel more guilty. If self-blame is taken initiative, the study found that the breakup will be more likely to feel depressed and less “relieved” after losing love.

Some breakups want to take care of each other to make the breakup more comfortable. But the researchers found that the feelings of the breakup were also more complex. Some of the breakups will feel that the good intentions of the breakup are “hypocritical”, and then they feel more dissatisfied with the breakup. For example, the breakup will think that if the breakup really needs to take care of their emotions, they should not propose a break-up; or, the breakup thinks that the breakup actually uses self-blame to cover up the real reason for the breakup. Also, there are feelings of the breakup that the polite words used by the breakup are only superficial respect and comfort, which actually reduces the intimacy of each other.

However, some are being separated who will appreciate the consideration of the breakup and will be more willing to continue to be friends with each other after the close relationship. However, the breakup may also be more difficult to release for a longer time. They will feel angry because they are separated, but they will not be able to release their anger. Because the breakup will think the breakup is good enough for themselves, they have no right to go angry with the breakup again.

Instead, if the breakup only takes care of their feelings during the process of breaking up, such as expressing their dissatisfaction with the outspoken. The breakup will feel very angry at that time, but sometimes it helps the breakaway to get out of love because the damage they get in the break-up will make it easier for them to accept that “the last relationship is not good for me.”.

3. manipulation: forcing the other party to propose a break-up

Some breakups want to end their relationship, but they are afraid they will regret it in the future, or they don’t want to be the ones who harm their partner. Therefore, they will force their partners to propose a break-up using various means (such as passive attack or gradual alienation). In this way, if the breakup regrets and hopes to make a compound with each other in the future, Ta does not put forward a break-up, so TA will not bear the burden of “violating his previous decision”. However, manipulation is a selfish approach, which is essential because the breakup does not have enough courage to face the conflict and pain caused by the breakup, so they choose to avoid the responsibility of ending the relationship and try to give the responsibility to the other party (Miller & Perlman, 2010). 

What should I do if I want to break up?

So what is the more appropriate and useful way to break up?

1. prepare before breaking up

a. Make sure you decide to break up

Before you propose a break-up, you should assess the relationship. Lesli does, a marriage consultant lists several questions to help people determine if they really need to break up (Kim, 2016):

·Do I look too emotionally at the issues in the relationship?

·Do I put my responsibilities on my partner, such as hoping to meet all my needs with TA?

·Are we still growing up in our relationships?

·Does my partner make me better or weaken my strength?

·If I break up, will I be more painful than I am now?

·If I had a child, would I have TA in such a relationship?

If you have more than one “no” answer to the above questions, maybe you can consider breaking up.

b. Once you decide to break up, don’t avoid it

People often avoid breaking up because they are guilty or don’t want to face conflicts. Your avoidance and delay are a waste of time on both sides, making yourself miserable and preventing the other from looking for a better relationship earlier. And people have the right to express their true feelings, and if you are dissatisfied, you can point them out to each other. Maybe the other party will suffer after listening, but in our life, there will always be something that makes us feel heartbroken. Breaking up is just one of them.

c. Make a specific break-up plan

You need to make a plan before you propose a break-up. You can list the conversations and conflicts you may have during the break-up process on paper, and you can find friends to play roles, practice how to deal with conflicts, and how to express your emotions firmly.

Second, you need to think carefully about the changes that may occur after the break-up, whether emotional or financial. For example, if you are living together at present, you may need to find a place to live temporarily; if you share some valuable items, you should also want to have good ownership at that time, to avoid the delay of the separation process due to delivery.

2. during the process of breaking up: show friendly, frank and sincere

Try to choose face-to-face, although the short message transmission is fast, but may miss the other party’s non-verbal information. When it comes to breaking up, you can say your reasons peacefully and sincerely, don’t use excuses, and avoid communicating in a too negative tone. In the end, you can calmly thank each other: “thank you very much for this period”, “this is what I learned from you, I will take it with me”, “and this is what I hope you can learn”, “bless you” (perel, 2015).

Pay attention to the process of breaking up and don’t drag it off. If you don’t want to give the other party meaningless hope, don’t be vague and express your intention to break up. If you want to be friends with each other, you can propose, but also understand that the other party may refuse; if the other party proposes that you can continue to be friends with you, but if you do not want to, you should not choose to accept to comfort the other party, or you will regret later.

3. after the Breakup: establish a reasonable boundary

After breaking up, you need to stop doing anything your partner will do immediately. For example, shopping together, watching movies, eating, etc. You need to redefine the boundaries with each other, and maybe at first you will feel as if the distance from each other becomes more distant, but it is necessary. Don’t contact or close the other person with guilt

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