Open Gently

Musings on the introspective life.

If You Want to Stay Friends...

To keep an ex-date in your life, it's a good strategy to blame yourself.

Yes, there are 50 ways to leave your lover, but they're variations. 

In the study cited below, researchers identified seven main strategies for ending dating relationships.  

  1. avoiding contact
  2. blaming yourself for the breakup and trying to make your partner feel better about breaking up—“you’re too good for me”
  3. a simple in-person statement that you want out 
  4. picking fights 
  5. indirect tactics, like telling friends you want to end a relationship 
  6. remote communcation, for example, sending an email, or changing a Facebook status 
  7. phasing in separation, like asking for a break

They also asked people who had been on the receiving end how they felt.

To stay friendly, or if you want to keep open the possibility of a reunion, blame yourself. Strategy #3 was rated most ideal by the dumpees, but it makes both a friendship and reunion less likely.

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Collins, T. J., & Gillath, O. (2012). Attachment, breakup strategies, and associated outcomes: The effects of security enhancement on the selection of breakup strategies. Journal of Research in Personality46, 210-222.

 

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Temma Ehrenfeld is a New York-based science writer, and former assistant editor at Newsweek.

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