Breaking up with somebody with whom you’ve shared a bed and a range of emotions is certainly very difficult, and regardless of the reason, you always want to minimize the impact of the breakup on the other person if you truly care about them. One thing is for sure: no matter how gently you try to put it, it will still affect your partner – however, you can go a long way in determining that extent. There are several ‘precautions’ you can take in order to make the breakup as easy to handle as possible, and here you’ll find eight simple yet respectful and polite ways to tell your soon-to-be ex that the two of you are done, and that you need to go your separate ways:

1. Don’t Put the Blame Only on Your Partner

No matter if your partner has cheated on you or if the two of you have communication problems, it is crucial to understand that it is almost never only one person’s fault. In a relationship or marriage, the blame is usually ‘shared,’ where each of the two parties has a fair share of culpability, and things are never simple. You might be tempted to place the blame only on your partner, but it is important to try being as objective as possible. In the end, this will make things easier for both of you.

2. Don’t Leave Any Open Doors if You Are Not Interested in Staying Friends

Another common mistake people tend to make in breakups is that they tend to leave ‘doors open’ – there is a very thin line between doing this successfully and making your partner believe there is a chance, however slight, that you might get back together, stay friends or become ‘friends with occasional benefits,’ as opposed to splitting up for good. That being said, if you are really not interested in keeping in touch with your partner once you break up, try to make that very clear. Put it gently and don’t ever forget that your partner has feelings, but at the same time be very clear and direct. If you leave doors open, the other may continually try to remain close – and if you don’t want that and reject his or her friendship, you will only end up hurting your partner all over again! Therefore, save both of you some time, trouble and heartache and discuss the matter openly and truthfully.

3. Make Sure to Inform Your Partner First

One of the most disrespectful and hurtful things you can ever do to your partner is to inform your common friends or family that you intend to split up (or even worse, that you have already split), and to let your partner be the last to know about it. This is a guaranteed way to push the other person away for good, and to generate ill will. Show some respect for the things you two have shared and make sure to inform your partner about your decision before changing your status on Facebook, for example, since this is a matter of common courtesy.

4. Do Not Break up Via Text or Email

Another rule rooted in common courtesy and respect is to discuss these private matters face to face. Of course breaking up with someone can be a very intense and emotional experience, and emotions almost always run high in this situation. However, no matter how tempting it is, try to gather your strength and courage and address this issue in person. Avoid text messages, voicemail, letters or email, since this is a serious matter that deserves undivided attention.

5. Be Honest About It!

Respect and honesty go hand in hand. While it’s true that people often use those small ‘white lies’ with the intent of actually protecting those we genuinely care about, sometimes we need to be brutally honest about things, since this is actually a way of showing respect. If you want to avoid significant problems and drama in a breakup with your partner, make sure to avoid excuses and to be honest about your real reason and feelings – no matter how hurtful this may be at first, your partner will undoubtedly appreciate your honesty in the long run.

6. Try to Be Warm and Minimize the Heartache

This should actually go without saying, but another very common mistake that people tend to make when they are trying to break up with their partners is that they become instantly distant and cold. You do not need to be overly emotional, but keep in mind that your intention to break up will often take your partner by surprise, so showing some basic affection and warmth can help him or her deal with the heartache faster and easier.

7. Find the Right Time

Choosing the right time to break up with your partner is vital, since this can ultimately go a long way in deciding whether you can maintain a good relationship or become bitter or adversarial. While there is no such thing as the perfect time to drop such bad news, you can minimize the impact by avoiding ‘dropping the bomb’ before a holiday or a particularly important occasion or celebration.

8. Try Not to Overreact or Argue

Last, but not least, it is important to understand that breaking up with someone can inflict serious emotional pain on both parties, and the chances are that you will tend to argue and overreact. Some people do not handle rejection well at all, and cannot bear to think about life without the partner, while others simply have a large ego that gets hurt during the breakup.

People can react very differently to this kind of situation, and it is important to be prepared for any situation you may encounter, and to try to keep calm no matter what. If the tension escalates, then it may be best to stay calm or to leave, if you feel that you cannot refrain yourself from starting an argument or saying things you will regret later.