Answer by Dushka Zapata:
I know. People do horrible things to each other and often we are better off without someone. I will set these open and shut cases aside.
What about the times where the guy (or woman) we are breaking up with is not right for us but is a thoroughly decent human?
What if people do the best they can?
What if those we select to share our lives with were well chosen and as such happen to be splendid people? What if they know us better than anyone? What if aside from lovers they are friends? What if we can manage to change the terms of our relationship with them without losing them?
Aren't they worth rescuing?
Shouldn't we consider turning our backs on the colourless narrative that a breakup means war, that a person we loved must become an enemy?
If you want to break up with someone, please don't wait. Don't put it off because "you don't want to hurt him" or "because it's not the right time".
You will hurt him. It's never the right time.
Don't disappear or dwindle or attempt to fade into the horizon or send subtle signs or let the information trickle and "speak for itself".
Please don't break up via text or phone.
Break up in person, face to face.
Then, be as direct and as clear as you can.
While assembling these clear and direct words keep in mind that your priority is to preserve the other person's dignity. (And yours.)
The person in front of you is someone you used to love and spend time with. Think of the day you met, about the times you were excited to see his name on your screen, instead of thinking of the fights or the last few weeks.
Who we are is not who we are at our worst. Who we are is a collection of everything. To do this moment justice, conjure the full picture.
Assume, in your conversation but also in your thoughts, that what went wrong was you. Blame is a form of aggression towards the person you are talking to but mostly an aggression towards yourself. Nothing is more disempowering than not being responsible.
Keep the entire process private. This is the end of your relationship, painful and intimate. It does not belong on Instagram.
Then, give it time. My hope for you is that one day not too far into the future you will be having dinner with him and he'll offer an insight into your life that clarifies something, illuminates something, untangles something. "You always know what to order within seconds of opening the menu. It's exactly how you make decisions about what you want," he'll say.
And you'll know that you have before you a person who understands everything.