Robin Bowen Siebold

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It's best to break up in person

Pam Harbaugh
Florida Today
Jul. 24, 2006 02:00 PM

There are healthier ways to break up than what Robin Schanck has experienced.

She's had a relationship ended by the man getting married to someone else and another one ended when the man was sneaking around dating someone else. The Merritt Island resident says it's better to be upfront. It's even possible, she says, to remain friends if the breakup is done the right way.

"I think if you're going to be friends with someone, say it's not working out instead of playing all the games," she says. "You shouldn't be lying to people." You also shouldn't be slashing tires or sending dead flowers, says Cocoa Village psychotherapist Robin Bowen Siebold, a specialist in relationship counseling and speed dating.

"That's about revenge and hatred," Bowen Siebold says. "That's an emotional cancer in your body. It's going to eat you up and affect every relationship in the future." The best way of breaking up is face to face, she says.

It gives you a chance for real communication. You may find that: a) you have a chance to make your relationship better; or b) that even though it has to come to an end, you can still learn something about yourself and set the stage for a better relationship in the future.

People who avoid the face time are afraid of a conflict. "The right way is saying this isn't working for me, maybe it's not working out for you, either," Bowen Siebold says. "Say 'Tell me what it's like to be in a relationship with me. What would you have liked better?' Not that you're trying to reconcile, but you want to learn about yourself."

The next best way is to phone, then comes e-mail, which Bowen Siebold calls "cowardly."

However, anything is better than what she calls the "Houdini act."

"The absolute worst is to just disappear and not deal with it," she says. Still, most people do not break up well, she says.

"We're not even sure why we're doing it," she says. "You need to talk it out. Don't assume that whatever it is isn't fixable. We're in a throw-away society. We think we can trade this person in for a better model."

The bottom line: Communication, of course.

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