Write a Break-Up Letter: A Quick “How To”

By and large, break up letters are generally not a good idea. The news of a break up is something that should be delivered personally, not by phone call, letter, or heaven forbid, a text message. Despite this, some people still have a desire to write a break up letter. Perhaps they wish to take the opportunity to express their feelings and motivations without being interrupted or derailed by their partner. Perhaps their partner just hasn’t gotten the message that the break up is a fact, and so they want to draft the letter in order to give the break up a sense of formal dissolution. Either way, some people still want to know how to write a break up letter, even if they’re not the best way to end a relationship.

Sometimes it can be difficult to explain to your partner the reasons for a break up. By drafting a break up letter, you can formulate your key points and issues clearly without fear of interruption. Think of it as a kind of rehearsal – by going over the reasons for the break up alone, without interruption, it can help you to stick to the important subjects when you’re breaking up face to face.

Then there’s the situation where your partner just doesn’t get the fact that you’re broken up. A well written break up letter will give them something to focus their attention on. They can read and reread the reasons for the break up, and with any luck, this repetition can help drive the reality of the situation home, allowing them, and you, to move on sooner.

If you’re going to write a break up letter, you want it to be effective, and judicious. You don’t know who your partner might show it to, so you’re going to want to make sure that anything you put in it is something you’re comfortable with other people seeing. While you may think a break up is highly personal, and a break up letter is private, you can’t know what your partner will do with the letter.

When writing a break up letter, don’t send your first draft. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the intense emotions of a break up. You might be angry, or frustrated, or even relieved, but you don’t want these feelings to come through in the text. Instead, write your first draft, save it, and go back to it at least 24 hrs later, if not more than that. Time lets us distance ourselves from our words, so setting it aside and then looking it over again before you send it can help you to go back and edit with a clear head. This can make your letter more effective by letting you focus on your reasons for breaking up, as well as calmly emphasizing the finality of the decision. It can also help to have a friend or loved one give the letter a read through, just make sure that anybody you ask to read it is somebody you can trust.

Lastly, try to be brief. You don’t want to drag yourself, or your partner, across the coals for an extended period. The break up itself is hard enough for both of you already. These key points are essential to writing a break up letter that is effective and clear.