Breaking up can be a difficult process, particularly if you want to end things on a good term, you still care for the person, or they don’t feel the same way you do.

But sometimes, you know it’s time to move on. Maybe you don’t love the person the way you did before, you grew apart, or you find your life is going in a different direction from your partner.

No matter your reason for wanting to leave, there are certain tips that may help you when you’re reading to make the break.

Breaking up is hard to do isn’t just an idiom. Science generally supports the notion that several influencing factors can make even wanting to breakup difficult.

While you can’t change some factors, such as living together or having a healthy relationship, that affect your ability to cope with a breakup, you can take some steps to help ease the transition.

1. Prepare for the split

Before having a conversation with your partner about your plans to breakup, it may help you to get as ready as you can prior to. This could be practicing what you are going to say. You can do this by practicing with a trusted friend, family member, or in front of a mirror.

As you prepare, also think about the best spot to do so. A spot where you both feel comfortable can help. If you’re concerned about safety, a public space may work best.

2. Breakup in person

Breaking up in person is generally the best way to go, particularly if you want to maintain a good relationship post-breakup. Emails, texts, or sending a friend all sound like easy options, but they won’t give you both the same closure to the relationship as having a face-to-face conversation.

One consideration is safety. If you’re leaving an abusive relationship and can’t breakup safely in person, other options may be the best choice.

For tips on healing after an abusive relationship, click here.

3. Be honest

If your former partner asks you why you want to end things, be honest with them. This can help with closure for both of you as well as help them in future relationships.

A large 2017 research suggests that having an understanding of why the relationship ended positively influences your mental health and the health of future romantic relationships.

4. Make a clean break

A clean break can help both of you move on. This can include limiting or stopping contact on social media, avoiding texting or calling, and other forms of contact, at least for a little while.

You may still want to be friends, but you will both likely need a bit of space before moving on as friends. If you don’t want to be friends, try to avoid saying “let’s stay friends,” because it can lead to further hurt feelings when you don’t follow through.

5. Keep with your decision

Your ex may try to talk you into staying or convince you to continue the relationship. You may feel guilty about breaking up with them but staying with them due to guilt or because you feel bad isn’t a good reason to stick around.

Instead, you can try reminding yourself why you want to leave. Staying with the person likely won’t change anything about how you’re feeling about the course of your relationship.

6. Write about it

Writing about your breakup in a positive way can help you cope with your emotions surrounding the breakup. It may also help boost feelings of self-growth following your split from your partner.

You may consider freely writing about your feelings and emotions connected to a stressful life event or challenge, also known as expressive writing, to improve your overall well-being.

A 2017 study suggests that expressive writing decreases your heart rate and increases your heart rate variability, which can lead to lower stress levels.

7. Don’t be afraid to seek help

Breaking up with someone can lead to depression and mood changes. Often, you have reasons why you may want to stay with the person, even if you have more reasons to want to end things, leading to internal conflict.

According to a 2019 study, experiencing a breakup can be considered a stressful life event that may lead to symptoms of depression.

Compared to people in romantic relationships, those who’ve experienced a breakup within a 5-month period were more likely to report:

  • feeling sad or low in spirits
  • loss of interest in daily activities
  • difficult with concentration
  • feeling less self-confident
  • sleeping difficulties

If you find yourself overwhelmed with sadness, a depressed mood, or losing interest in things you once enjoyed, you may want to consider speaking with someone about your feelings. You may also consider other ways to cope with depression, such as:

  • exercise
  • getting enough sleep each night
  • mindfulness
  • making healthy changes to diet

Breaking up can be a difficult process for both you and your partner. There’s no one size fits all solution, but taking time to prepare, being honest, and sticking with your decision to split can help ease the transition.

You may find that engaging in activities, such as writing about the breakup, helpful in processing your feelings. This may lead to better overall life satisfaction and help you avoid some of the negative fallout from the split.