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Teen Breakup Counselor On Breaking Up: 'Social Networks Never A Good Idea'


Photo: Looks like someone got the bad news online...ouch. (Getty Images)

Breakin' up really is hard to do these days. Not only are there so many ways to cut it all off (text, email, phone, Twitter, Facebook, umm, in-person!), but the "mutual friends" you share with a partner can make cutting the cord kinda contentious. So, how do you make a breakup healthy? Seventeen-year-old breakup counselor Nathaniel Brewer taught me a couple things about doing the deed.

 "The healthiest way to break up is face-to-face...definitely," said Nathaniel at the top of our conversation. "Bringing your personal business onto social networking sites is never a good idea because you run the risk of making your ex-partner look really, really bad."  Ending it face-to-face is just one of the tips Brewer's learned from Start Strong Teens, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Along with about 23 other peer leaders in Boston, the 17-year-old is on a yearlong mission to spread the word that avoiding messy breakups can be easy, especially when partners follow some simple suggestions.

Knowing when to break up is key in reducing all the drama. "There are warning signs to be aware of in relationships. Sometimes they're not end-alls, but beware," said Brewer. Like if your partner is obsessive and needs all of your attention all the time, or takes to emotional or physical violence, it's probably time to get out before things get too serious.

Yesterday, Brewer and other young people from around the country participated in a virtual breakup summit, where they shared tips and discussed relationship trends in their areas. The summit is part of an ongoing national project that aims to give peers the tools they need to keep relationships (and breakups) healthy and happy. "Start Strong is the only program that I know of that teaches you about healthy relationships and breakups. And since both me and my friends are going to be in relationships at some point, it's just such a great resource."