That's Gotta Hurt -- or Does It?

7 tactics for calling it quits

"Sayonara." "Get lost." "We need to talk..." Whether you're looking to lessen the sting or hit 'em with your best shot, the following techniques are sure to accomplish the trickiest part of any relationship: ending it.

The "We Need to Talk" Talk

A State of the Union address is recommended for anyone wishing to secede, so to speak, with some semblance of dignity.
Pros: Talking things over can soothe hurt feelings and potentially salvage the friendship.
Cons: Brace yourself for histrionics, notes Lynda Twardowski, 31, from Traverse City, MI. "When I finally managed to peel the guy off me, tears streamed down his face and he babbled like a madman."
Ouch factor: Three Band-Aids

The "Dear John"

Who needs a messy confrontation when a note, email or well-timed voice mail can spare you from having to witness the devastation?
Pros: Composing your thoughts lets you control the situation. "I'm a big fan of the 'Dear John' letter," says Megan Lane Patrick, age 30, of Cincinnati. "That way, I can make all my points without crying or forgetting what I want to say."
Cons: Sure, it's the coward's route. But, considering you'll likely be vilified regardless, what's one more strike against you?
Ouch factor: Two Band-Aids

The Downsize

Going on hiatus gives you the green light to see other people while letting you ease out of the relationship under the guise of "needing space."
Pros: A time-out isn't as catastrophic as a full-fledged breakup, since it offers a sliver of hope that the relationship might eventually resume. Plus, it leaves the door open for booty calls.
Cons: Having to envision each other with someone else is emotionally taxing for lovers in limbo. "Every time I went on a new date, I kept wondering if she was out with someone new, too," says Mike Fowler, 33, of Los Angeles. "It drove me nuts."
Ouch factor: Two Band-Aids

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