Is There A Wrong Time To Break Up? 5 Situations When You Should Hold Off From Ending A Relationship, According To Experts
It’s often said that there’s no right time to break up. There’s always going to be something else you and your partner have to deal with that the breakup makes even harder. There’s always going to be something you looked forward to that you won’t get to do. And there's always going to be that nagging feeling that maybe you acted too soon. But even if all breakups suffer from bad timing, is the timing always equally bad? Or are there some times so inconvenient that you should hold off no matter what?
Typically, it’s best to break up as soon as you know you’re going to, Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, relationship therapist and founder of online relationship community Relationup, tells Bustle. "You need to give yourself time to mourn the relationship and be ready and available for another door to open," she says. "Staying in the relationship delays you from moving on. Once you decide that this relationship is not forever, you will stop caring and begin to shut down. Your attitude will change from 'how do we make this better' to 'I just don’t care anymore.'"
But there are a few exceptions to this rule. It's OK to stick around with your soon-to-be ex for a few days or weeks if that spares you both a truly awful breakup. Here are the most common situations where you should probably wait to break up.
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1. When They’re Going Through A Crisis
If someone’s battling a major health issue, dealing with a death in the family, or recovering from a layoff, breaking up with them adds insult to injury, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Chandrama Anderson, LMFT, tells Bustle. Feeling abandoned during a tough time can leave them with a sour taste in their mouth and even cause them to develop trust issues.
2. When You Have Guests Over
If you’ve got in-laws or friends staying over, stay together until they leave, lest you drag them into the drama, says Anderson. Same goes for when you yourselves are guests in someone's home.
3. When They’ve Got A Big Day Coming Up
If your significant other is about to give a presentation, enter a competition, or ask their boss for a raise, you’re better off waiting until after their big day is over. “Breaking up before those type of situations will undermine their confidence, and everyone will pay in the long run," says Anderson.
4. On Their Birthday
You probably didn’t need me to tell you this, but someone’s birthday should be a day to make them feel good and put aside your own agenda. Plus, if you break up with someone on their birthday, they might end up revisiting this painful memory every birthday thereafter. Holidays are also probably best to avoid if you can.
5. When You’ve *Just* Decided You Want To Break Up With Them
The worst way to time a breakup is do it the moment you make the decision instead of sitting on it, Kevin Darné, author of My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany), tells Bustle. At least give yourself a few days to plan out where to do it, what to do about your shared belongings, and how you’ll handle other logistics so that it goes as smoothly as possible. But don’t put it off unnecessarily, he adds. ”Knowing what you have to do days or weeks in advance can weigh upon you.”
There are some exceptions to these rules, says Anderson. For example, if your partner’s abusive, you should get out as soon as you can. If you find out they've done something truly awful, like cheating on you, you're also free to skedaddle. And if you’re only casually dating them, the timing’s not so important. But in general, hanging in there a few more days or weeks during a very inconvenient time won’t make a huge difference for you, and it could save them a lot of distress.