Writing a Breakup Letter – Ending the Relationship

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Some may say that breaking up via a letter is a bad idea or insensitive, but I beg to differ. While this may all bring to mind that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie gets dumped via a post-it note, you can rest assured that a sticky-note breakup is not what I’m getting at! No, I’m talking about writing a breakup letter; a well thought out letter that expresses your feelings and does your former relationship the justice that it deserves.

Believe it or not, writing a break up letter can prove the best way to end things with someone. Here’s why;

  • You have the time to convey everything that you really want to say because you’re able to be more rational than you would be if doing it face to face especially when there is anger involved.
  • It’s easier to open up and be completely honest when you’re not faced with the person there in front of you. The things that are difficult to say in person are more easily expressed in a letter.
  • You can end things without looking back and wishing you had said something differently because you have the option to re-read and edit the breakup letter over and over before sharing it.
  • It offers a sense of closure for many that you never quite get with an in-person or over the phone breakup. For many of us, putting it in writing really does seal the deal.

Now that you know why writing a breakup letter is in fact a good idea, it’s time to talk about how to go about it the right way. The first thing you need to know is that penning your break up isn’t something that should be done in haste no matter how brief your relationship or how heinous the reason for wanting to call it quits. Not only do you want it to get your message across clearly, but at the end of the day, no matter what the other person has done to you, being able to hold your head up high is what matters the most. And besides, this is another human being we’re talking about. Seeing the demise of a relationship scribbled across paper will be tough for even the strongest or meanest of people. Taking the high road here means refraining from name-calling and obscenities. Does this mean that if the break up is because of something like infidelity that you should be kind and sweet? Absolutely not! Just be sure to get your feelings across and make it clear why you are ending the relationship without stooping to the other person’s level. Trust me, you’ll feel better in the end knowing that you came out with your dignity.

Something else that you should know about breakup letters is that they often get read more than once—over and over as a matter of fact. You may picture the person on the receiving end tearing it up in a huff but the majority will read several times and not only to themselves but often times to a friend or family member. That’s another reason why taking the high road and not looking too harsh or irrational is a must.

Final Tips

  • Don’t just point out the negative when breaking up. Your relationship and that person did mean something more to you at one point and things likely weren’t always bad so be sure to let them know that you did value what was once there.
  • While you want to be kind and respectful of the other person and the love you once shared, you don’t want to send mixed messages. Make it clear that you are ending the relationship so that you’re not misleading or stringing anyone along.
  • Don’t play the blame game and accuse the other person of being entirely responsible. The nicest way to do this is to blame it on the universe, as in ‘it just wasn’t meant to be’.
  • Sleep on it before sending. This gives you a chance to re-read it with fresh eyes so that you can be sure you’re sending exactly the message you want to send.
  • Breaking up is never easy, but by writing a letter you are able to make a cleaner break and make it a little easier on both of you. Write from the heart and be compassionate and you’ll pen a break up later that will offer closure and not haunt you down the road.

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