Do set a time limit for how long you plan to spend breaking up with your significant other. Make the time be appropriate for relationship length. The longer your relationship, the more time it will take to discuss and break-up.
Don’t spend too much time on the fact that you are breaking up. The longer you spend on the process, the more painful it will be. The faster you can get into the discussion of why, the better.
Do pick a location where he or she will feel comfortable and safe. They could become an emotional wreck in the process, so make sure they are already somewhere safe, like their house or apartment. Break up face-to-face. It shows maturity and allows for an honest conversation.
Exceptions: long distance relationships, or if you genuinely fear the person.
Don’t break up in a public setting. That’s cruel and heartless. Don’t break up via text message, phone call, social network message, or even prerecorded message from a breakup site. All of these are impersonal and make you seem cowardly. If you fit one of the exceptions above, breaking up via a phone call is acceptable. Don’t just disappear as your way of letting them know you are done. A lot of people think this is a valid way of getting the message across, but the indirect nature of it means that the person will never know exactly what you want or what made you leave. You both need closure in order to move on and disappearing takes away any chance of closure.
Do focus on yourself and the aspects of the relationship that didn’t work for you. Be as honest and straightforward as you possibly can be.
Don’t mention what you think is wrong with them. You might not know them as well as you think you do. Don’t leave them with false hope. You might want to make things easier for yourself by saying that you might be able to try again with the relationship at a later date. Avoid this at all cost.
Emotions and Reactions
Do act calmly and maturely. Expect them to react to the break-up. This is good. It means you can talk about it. Protect yourself if they make physical threats toward you. Remain calm, but leave immediately.
Don’t get into a fight or state your decision to break up in the middle of a fight. Don’t use clichéd lines like “We need to talk.” It gives away exactly what is coming and makes a person react defensively to protect themselves from it. You want an honest conversation, not an argument or a one-sided discussion. Don’t let yourself be manipulated into changing your mind, no matter what they say or how many tears they shed. Don’t get pulled into an argument. Stick to your guns and let them know arguing won’t change your mind.