So. You wanna break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, eh?
Not so fast. Before you act, print out this handy-dandy breakup checklist and take it with you. If you care one jot about the sanity and mental health of the person you're breaking up with, if you have even the tiniest bit of sympathy for them, make sure you check off all the items as you break up with 'em. That way, a year down the line, they might actually speak to you, or -- gasp!! -- become your friend!! I know, I know, crazy talk. But having been privvy to a few nasty breakups in the last year (2007: The Year Of Many Breakups) I have seen the effects of not following my checklist firsthand.
(Note for looky-loos: I'm happy to say the Diablo/Jonny bustup fulfils virtually every single one of these criteria -- note, please, that we are still very great friends on the other side, to prove my point -- and the couple places where it lacked, we've both apologized, made amends and smoothed our friendship over. Nobody has the perfect breakup, and there's always hurt feelings at points along the process, that's inevitable. However, if you have honor and respect and real friendship behind your relationship, it won't matter ultimately. We sure did, and do, and continue to. Shout out, Deebs, you my homegirl. Representin', up in the 'Couv!)
So. Here we go.
_____1. Be honest, but don't point out every single one of your S.O.'s flaws. You hear "be honest" in breakups a lot. It's so very, very, very true. "Honey, I'm leaving you for another woman" is infinitely preferable in the long run than making up a cock-and-bull story about, say, moving to another city for job opportunities and springing the "other woman" on 'em later on. It's the "rip the band-aid off quickly" theory. However: this comes with a major caveat, and its almost as important as being honest. If you feel the need to list every single one of your partners' flaws to justify the reasons for your breakup? Don't. All you're doing is making you feel better. That isn't being honest. What you're actually doing while you're pumping up your own ego is damaging the self-esteem of your partner who, if you're the break-ee, is right now as emotionally vulnerable as he/she will ever be. Skip it. Write 'em in a letter to yourself and bury it or something.
_____2. It's not them, it's you. Related to number one -- come up with some reasons that you are to blame for the breakup. Don't make it seem like its all the other person's fault. Because it isn't (unless, of course, you're in an abusive relationship, then it probably is, and fuck them anyway -- just get out). There are two people in any relationship, and unless you're Jesus Christ Himself, you have flaws, and your flaws are probably part of the reason for the split. Chances are, the main reason, if you're honest with yourself, is that you've changed and become someone else and you're just not happy being where you are now with your current partner. Fair 'nuff -- but admit that rather than pushing the blame off on your partner. That's crap.
_____3. Take care of your responsibilities. Think your breakup is a way to become more financially secure by pushing off your shared debts and responsibilities onto your partner? Think again. If you want to be a decent human being -- and you all do, right? -- you need to acknowledge your role in the shared financial status of your coupleness and take care of your stuff as quickly as possible so your partner doesn't suffer. Did you know that 50% of all breakups end in one of the partners declaring bankruptcy? I just made up that figure, but the actual figure is somewhere close to that, and that's so unfair and retarded it beggars belief. Only a complete ass thinks bailing from a relationship = financial clean slate. Take care of your shit, Sherlock.
_____4. Initiating the breakup? Participate in the process. You want out of the relationship? Uh huh, then don't make your partner take care of all the legal whatsits. There's nothing worse than having to take care of a divorce you probably didn't want or didn't expect in the first place. Furthermore: don't just sit out the process and then bitch at the end that it didn't work out to your advantage. You have to actually get involved. Show up to your court dates. Argue with your partner's lawyer. Get in there, get your hands dirty, do something about it. If you don't, you have no excuse whatsoever if things don't end up how you want. See also: Move Your OWN Shit Out Of The House, Fester. Your ex doesn't want to sift thru your skid-marked underwear you left behind.
_____5. Be fucking careful. Your significant other is sensitive right now. If you're leaving them for someone else, make damn sure you don't, say, accidentally send them something for your new girlfriend/boyfriend, or make them accidentally privvy to part of your life that they don't want to know about. Let them guide you into how comfortable they are in hearing about your new life.
_____6. Make sure if you say "let's be friends" that you actually MEAN it. Everybody says this at some point in the breakup. Almost nobody means it. Becoming friends with your ex is something which takes a great deal of effort on both sides, and you're going to have to go through a lot of pain and agony to get there. If you think its worth it, great -- again, I'll point out that Diablo and I did a great job of this because we both felt that even though the relationship as such was over, we both genuinely cared about the other person a great deal, and it was worth the effort to get there. My point is this: if you don't mean it, don't say it. And guess what? if you fail at #1-5? You probably ain't getting #6 anyway, pal.
Anything else you folks would like to add?