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Illustrations by Ms Anje Jager

The buxom and unstoppably feisty actress Ms Mae West once quipped, "Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution yet." If after two years you're not willing to commit in any serious way, you can justifiably call it a day. You and your partner may have had a wonderful time together filled with starlit dinners, adventurous holidays, lingering kisses and a love life that made bed seem like a more exciting place than a court-side seat at your favourite game. But if after 24 months of diverted I love you's, considering more tempting options and frustratingly conclusion-less conversations about the future, it's likely never going to happen and you should both get on with finding out who's next - because it clearly isn't the person you're with.

SOME COMMON MISTAKES...


Don't make up excuses

If you happen to have become chronically ill, then fair enough - nothing says closure like a funeral. But a serious lie is the relationship equivalent of pushing your grandmother down the stairs to get a day off work

Don't take your love back

If your soon-to-be-ex points out, "but you said you loved me", it's best to just keep silent or repeat the words "I don't know" in a surprised manner. Generally, looking stunned while breaking up with someone makes you seem like an innocent bystander to a disaster, rather than its cause

Don't rub it in

Once you do embark on a new partner, just make sure it's done discretely. Think of what's ended as a red T-shirt and your new adventure as a pristine white shirt - colours and whites should be kept separate - the former will soon fade enough to be harmless

Don't lose touch

Even after a relationship one can still check in with mundane conversations to take the edge off the sting. Keep conversations short and dull so that they don't cut into a new beginning or reignite unwanted old flames

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