It’s definitely not always easy to tell how to break up–or even if you should (but there’s an app for that). It gets a lot harder to know how to break up with someone when you’re actually frightened of their reaction, especially in potentially abusive situations. But some schools are encouraging healthier dating habits and safer splits by actually offering classes on how to break up.
While most schools offer some form of sex education (at least for now–a lot of budget cuts are happening), few actually deal with the messy aftermath of soured relationships. The “Break Up Summit” seminars are being held in Boston and 11 other cities nationwide as part of the Start Strong campaign, which seeks to promote healthy relationship habits for teens. The campaign isn’t just on how to break up, but also on why to break up, because the reasoning can be so murky.
Part of why the classes exist is because knowing how to break up can save you from other consequences of a crappy relationship that you might not even realize: your grades can slip because it’s hard to focus. What’s potentially worse is that you and your partner can both be depressed, which will only lead to more issues–low self-esteem (that can make you feel trapped and like you won’t ever find anyone better) and even possible unwanted pregnancies. That’s scary stuff, girls!
A lot of times–admit it!–you might wait til it gets really dramatic or hurtful before you decide to end things, right? But the seminars actually help you realize that a lot of times when it gets to that point, chances are you, your partner, or both of you have been unhappy for a while–it just takes some time to show. The Break Up Summit seminars encourage breaking up before one or both of your unhappiness leads to cheating, embarrassment, or, in more extreme (but still all too common) cases, violence. In fact, the experts behind the summits want you to learn how to break up before it gets to the point of infidelity, because cheating is often seen as an excuse for dating violence–and let’s be real: There is absolutely never ever an excuse for dating violence.
That doesn’t mean dating violence doesn’t happen, unfortunately. Close to 1 in 10 students reported that a boyfriend or girlfriend had physically hurt them in the past year–and keep in mind, those are only the ones who reported it. Even scarier? Once it starts, it sort of gets ingrained in you that it’s the norm. About 22 percent of adult women who were victims of rape, assault, dating violence, or stalking also experience some form of the same as teens. That’s why it’s super important to know how to break up in a respectful but firm way.
One way not to break up? Over Facebook. Changing your relationship status to “single” without talking it over with your partner first is a recipe for disaster, because not only is it a smack in the face to them, but it also makes rumors spread super fast and just creates a ton more drama that no one wants to deal with. Text messages aren’t much better, either, girls–you know how quickly and easily those can be forwarded?
If you’re looking for exactly how to break up, ideally, it’d be face to face and private before things got really ugly. However, if you’re afraid of a partner’s reaction, breaking the news to them gently but firmly in a public place–think a diner, coffee shop, or anywhere else that people will be around but not necessarily able to eavesdrop on you–is a good bet. If you’re really scared, though, you’ll want a more solid plan on how to break up and stay safe. If you’re in an abusive relationship and not sure how to break up, get help and make a plan here.
Do you think it’s a good idea to teach classes on how to break up? What was your worst breakup like? How did you learn how to break up? Tell us in the comments!