It is really tempting at the end of a relationship to “spill the rest of your truth”. I mean, why not come completely clean now about what’s always been on your mind – you’ve moved on/don’t want them/don’t care anymore, right? Might as well be as frank and candid as possible, besides – you never have to see them again. Who cares how you leave them feeling, you don’t have to deal with them.
There are many reasons not to leave a relationship a smoking pile of ash, but here’s 2: at best, you earn a ton of bad karma points and deeply hurt someone that at some point you claimed to care about; at worst, you will inevitably have to see/deal with that person again. So whether you’re leaving them because you’re incompatible, because you’re done with their dumb shit, or because you found someone better, it is best to end it civilly and compassionately.
Here are 10 things not to say to your ex-lover on the way out the door:
1. “I never loved you anyway.” Wow, way to completely invalidate a relationship that may have meant something to them. No reason to say this except to be cruel. Save it, it’s unnecessary.
2. “I see why your (previous) ex left you.” Again, unnecessary cruelty. Unless you’re ready to give specifics and suggest a therapist, this would be a good one to skip as well. Also, they don’t want to hear it coming from you.
3. “Maybe if you had ____________, I wouldn’t be leaving.” No, sorry, even if they were abusive or you found their quirks intolerable, you are making the choice now to leave them. Not the time to school them on how they should’ve been.
4. “You taught me so much – now I’ll go on and be a better woman/man.” Um, no – what am I, a training wheel? No one wants to hear how much “better” you’re gonna be for the next person. A guaranteed way to get yourself unfriended and blocked for life is to tell someone that they were just a “practice” lover. Don’t be a jerk.
5. “My new lover makes me want to be a better person for them.” See number 4. Also, there’s no need to make your last lover feel inferior to your next lover. Unless you’re a jerk. Which maybe you are. I, hopefully, don’t know you like that.
6. “You were always a lousy __________.” And you never told them, just put up with it? Granted, today’s cute little quirks become tomorrow’s annoying habits, but if you didn’t tell them then, why now on the way out? Please, if you ever loved someone, don’t mess with their insecurities. That’s just mean.
7. “I never liked your (insert loved one here).” So his mom was overbearing, her sister was whiny, the kids were little cretins. You’re on your way out, let it go. Besides, inevitably you’ll encounter those loved ones again someday. Do you really want to wonder if they know how you “really” feel? Why risk creating a future awkward situation?
8. “Maybe if you changed _________ about yourself, you’d be more attractive.” I had an ex tell me this when we broke up. My thought was, but I got you, and I was how I am now. Why wouldn’t another guy think I’m attractive? This reflects on you: why would you date someone you don’t find attractive? Also, feeding insecurities again. Please, just don’t.
9. “You should have known this wouldn’t last.” Well, if you told them it was temporary during your relationship, then there’s no need to repeat it. And if you led them to believe it was indefinite, then they didn’t know, so stating this is moot. Either way, it doesn’t matter – it’s over now. Jerk move.
10. “I think you’re a real (insert shitty insult here).” Name-calling is petty, and especially hurtful coming from someone you love. Also, you aren’t in middle school anymore (are you?), so put on your Big Boy/Girl pants, and walk away with dignity intact.
Breakups suck, no arguments there. No matter who’s the breakup-er (or even when it’s mutual), one or more parties will be upset, angry, confused, devastated or all of the above. Regardless, ultimately, it’s over. But if both people can refrain from intentionally causing each other more hurt, then hopefully they can both walk away feeling okay. Not necessarily thrilled, or triumphant, or even happy for themselves or the other person, but okay.
And isn’t that the most and the least we could ask for at the end? That we both walk away from a meaningful relationship feeling okay.