As you might expect by the descriptions of these factors, subsequent research showed that all breakup strategies were not equally effective—or pleasant. Specifically, research by Sprecher and colleagues noted that strategies primarily focused on using a positive tone and open communication were among the most compassionate and effective (Sprecher, Zimmerman, & Abrahams, 2010; Sprecher, Zimmerman, & Fehr, 2014).
Across several studies, the team found that participants reported certain strategies to be among the best:
As you might expect by the descriptions of these factors, subsequent research showed that all breakup strategies were not equally effective—or pleasant. Across several studies, the team found that participants reported certain strategies to be among the best:
- Be open, honest, and direct. Set a time that is mutually beneficial and not rushed to talk to your partner face-to-face. Honestly share with them your desire to break up. Verbally explain your reasons and concerns in a calm and logical manner. Show empathy and understanding for their thoughts and feelings too.
- Avoid blame. Do not blame your partner for the break up or hurt feelings in the past. Do not let them drag you into negativity and conflict with their responses. Instead, focus on maintaining a direct and positive conversation. This will reduce the likelihood of ending the relationship on a sour note—and of later regret over saying unkind things in the heat of the moment.
- Remember and share the positive. In the conversation, make sure to emphasize the good things that the partner has done for you. Tell them that you do not regret the time spent together, even if future needs or circumstances are sending you in different directions. In short, be grateful for the time spent together and share your gratitude with them.
- Find mutual benefit. Even in a breakup, relationships are still a social exchange, and there is still the possibility of mutual benefit. Therefore, at the end of a relationship, it is still important to focus on where you can meet both your needs and those of your partner. If it is within your power and they are agreeable, try to make the transition easier by being helpful and supportive. Try to ensure that you can both go on with your lives in a positive and healthy manner. Although it is never ideal, try to make sure that the breakup meets the needs of everyone involved as best as possible. Leave them better than you found them.