5 Rules for a Better Breakup

image of cake with the text "happy breakup!"

“Breakup etiquette” might seem like a contradiction in terms. After all, who wants to be dumped? But as people who’ve been both the dumper and the dumpee hundreds of times, we’ve learned a few things about how to make the experience as painless as possible. Below, find our quick-and-dirty guide to ending a relationship with dignity.

1. Don’t avoid it just because of a holiday

Yes, it might suck to go to a wedding alone or cancel your Valentine’s dinner reservations. But maintaining a relationship just to keep your plans will only lead to hurt feelings.

“I started dating my first ever ‘boyfriend’ in the 8th grade,” says Sonny Farnsworth, FUN FACTORY’s Senior Sales Manager.

“We started going out in January, and I absolutely stayed together with him through Valentine’s Day because I thought it would be mean to break up before and, let’s be real, I wanted presents. I ended up calling it quits like a week after V-Day. He cried a lot and the presents weren’t even good!”

Break up with your partner just after a special day, and they’ll likely wonder when you started having doubts and question the quality of the relationship. Most of us are on the same page about this: In our survey of 600+ adults, three-quarters said that if a Valentine’s breakup was inevitable, they’d prefer to be dumped before V-Day.

2. Do it sober, ffs

Please, please avoid using “liquid courage.” Just draw on the regular kind. Substances of any kind can affect our ability to communicate thoughtfully and clearly, and you don’t want anyone (including you) to walk away thinking the conversation wasn’t serious because you were inebriated.

This story from Jeanelle Mena, FUN FACTORY’s Junior Sales Manager, is a good example of what not to do.

“He called my home at 3 am, drunk, to let me know he wanted to break up—on the home answering machine!” she says. “Next time I saw him at a nightclub, he fell to his knees begging for another chance. Umm, no. But I stalled just enough for lots of friends to see him on his knees.”

3. Give a reason

Let the depth of your reasoning be proportionate to the length of your relationship. If you just went on a couple dates with someone, it’s okay to keep it simple, as in, “I had a nice time with you but I didn’t feel a romantic spark.” If you’re ending a long-term relationship, you can give a more thoughtful explanation, but be sure not to assign all blame to the other person.

Whatever you do, don’t ghost! That approach leaves all the emotional work for the other person.

4. Wash and store toys properly until you can return them

Here’s something: In our survey, 56.8% said that in a breakup, the sex toys’ original recipient should be able to keep them (as opposed to the person who bought the toys, in the case of a gift). Basically, you may have to hand off a toy to your soon-to-be-ex, so make sure to do it respectfully.

Toys and lube cost money, and cleaning and storing them properly takes time. Don’t leave all the work and expense for the other person. Nora Langknecht, our Marketing Manager, knows what it’s like when someone doesn’t extend this basic courtesy.

“In my last breakup, my ex pulled me aside at my brother's baseball game to return my lube and vibrator in a clear Ziploc bag,” she says. “Both the lube and vibe were piping hot. Turns out they'd been keeping them in their car in 95-degree weather for three weeks. A surefire way to ruin the lube. Thanks, I guess?”

5. Once it’s over, let it be over

Having sex after a breakup may prolong your feelings of attachment, and that’s especially tricky when one person is feeling more attached than another. Save all that sexual energy for a fling or shop for one of our most essential toys. This way, you can pleasure yourself however you like.
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