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How to Break Up With Someone: How to End a Relationship the Right Way

Breakups are hard, but it doesn’t have to be messy. So we’ve got you tips on how to break up with someone gracefully and without any messy miscommunications.

Emotions Can Run High When Talking About a Breakup

Everyone would agree that getting dumped is never fun. In fact, it’s pretty awful, especially when the breakup happens out of the blue, with no warning signals at all. But people tend to forget that it can also be difficult for someone who is initiating the breakup. 

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Breaking up with someone takes courage. You might be the one drawing the line through your romance, but that doesn’t make you immune to the knowledge that you’re hurting someone who was at one point, very important to you. There are feelings and grief involved with any breakup.

But unfortunately, the “perfect breakup” doesn’t exist. There will be hurt feelings, but there are a few steps you can take when you’re the one bearing the bad news to make the experience as healthy and smooth as possible. This article will help you through every stage of a breakup – before, during, and after these difficult conversations. 

When to Break Up with Someone 

Sometimes, it’s easy to know when it’s time to end the relationship. If you’re being cheated on or being constantly ignored. It could even just be that you don’t feel the same way about your partner as you used to.  

You Know When the Moment Is Right for a Breakup

But many times, deciding when it’s time to break up isn’t as clear-cut. Maybe there aren’t any major red flags or indiscretions to push you to call it quits. Perhaps you’re simply not as compatible as you initially thought. Or maybe the misunderstandings and arguments are happening more frequently. 

Only digging deeper and being truthful with yourself and how you feel can help you get through this crossroad. But here are some clear signs that it’s time you take a hard look at whether your relationship is worth repairing or maybe breaking up is the best choice.

  • Are you finding it hard to be your real self around your partner?
  • Do you find that you’re always fighting over the same things over and over without any growth or resolution?
  • Do you keep breaking up (after arguments) and getting back together afterward?
  • Are you finding that you’re the one doing all the compromising and sacrificing?
  • Are you always questioning whether your partner is being honest?
  • Has it become more difficult to share or communicate your likes and interests?
  • Do you find yourself always craving your partner’s attention that isn’t provided or your needs aren’t met?
  • Have you grown apart, and your values and priorities don’t align anymore?
  • Have you (both) stopped caring about each other or putting in the effort into your relationship?
  • Are you thinking of breaking up all the time?

Ask yourself, what is still keeping you together? If the answers seem to be giving you the wrong reasons for staying with someone (habit, the fear of being alone, expectations from other people, etc.), then it’s high time to rethink things. 

Before Breaking Up with Someone

Try Talking Things Through With Friends Before Pulling the Plug

Most likely, you didn’t decide to call it quits on a whim, so don’t go into that difficult breakup conversation with your partner without being prepared. Think long and hard about why you want to break up and what you want to say.

Make Sure You Actually Want to End Things

Before breaking up with someone, make sure that it’s actually what you want to happen. You should only break up after giving it enough thought. It shouldn’t be something you do on a whim in the midst of an argument and definitely not something to do to attempt to manipulate or control your partner. 

Know “Why” You Want to Breakup and Stand Your Ground

Having a clear, well-thought-out reason why you want to call it quits will make the breakup chat go smoothly and help avoid messy misunderstandings. It will also prepare you if your partner tries to convince you to change your mind and give things another chance.

Stay logical and remember exactly the reasons why the relationship is not working out anymore, at least for your end. 

Give Yourself Space to Get Your Head Straight

Breaking up with someone is a delicate matter, so give yourself enough time to think about what you’re going to say to them before actually saying it. More often than not, the conversation will be stressful. And it will be difficult to say what you really mean in the heat of the moment.

There is no perfect script when ending things with someone. But planning in advance will help you effectively communicate your thoughts and reasons. It will also help you evaluate the best way to deliver the message – compassionate but direct and honest, non-blameful and non-accusatory. 

No Need to Feel Guilty: It’s Okay to Break Up

Who feels great breaking up with someone they care deeply about? No one. But it’s also not wrong to end a relationship that you think isn’t working out anymore. You both deserve the chance to live your best life.

Not all relationships are meant to last.

And if it’s not a good fit for you, it’s highly likely that it’s not a good fit for them as well, regardless of whether they are aware of it as much as you are.

You owe it to both you and them to speak up when you believe your relationship is no longer serving you. 

You Can’t Control How They Will React

Here’s the thing, being dumped is hard and dreadful. So, accept that the other person has feelings and they will have to process what they are hearing. Accept that the discussion will be painful, and what happens afterward even more so.

No matter how gracefully you say your parting words, you won’t be able to control how the other person feels or reacts. There is also no guarantee that your conversation will be effective or that it will end on a positive note. 

8 Tips for Breaking Up with Someone

Relationships Are Not Easy But Neither is Ending Them

Breaking up with your partner is never an easy feat. It can be daunting to think that you’re rejecting them, or leaving them heartbroken. Especially if they appear to be happy with how things are going.  

That said, you can take steps that can influence how well they receive the message. It’s exactly why thinking ahead before breaking up with someone is important.  

There is no simple or cut-and-dry way to break up with someone. It is a process, and there is no way to just jump to the end. Best case scenario, it’s still going to suck. But here are eight tips to at least do it in a way that gives the ending the respect it deserves.

1. Break Up with Someone in Person

Unless you are in a long-distance relationship or ending things because of violent or abusive reasons you should avoid phone calls and always break up face to face. If you respect them or the connection you had with your soon-to-be-ex, you owe it to them to have the conversation in person.

Yes, it’s going to be harder and uncomfortable and awkward. But suck it up. And it will be easier for both of you to put everything on the table so that you can get your feelings clear and move on with your life. 

2. Pick an Appropriate Setting for the Conversation

Although there is no “right” setting to break up with your partner, just keep in mind to find somewhere that’s ideal for having a delicate conversation. Restaurants with loud music or a busy café are probably not the best choice.

It’s an intimate conversation that calls for an intimate setting. But doing it in a romantic candlelit dinner to “soften the blow” is not wise either. You want a clean break and that means setting the right tone for the conversation.

You need to be able to air your emotions and hear what the other person has to say.

3. Don’t Beat Around the Bush

A hundred percent no-no when breaking up with someone is hinting at the fact that you want to end the relationship without actually saying it. You might think that a less direct approach seems kinder, but it’s really not. 

Here is when you just need to rip the Band-Aid off. There is no reason to drag it out at this point. Be direct with why the relationship is not a good fit for you without delving into the nitty-gritty details. 

4. Always Be Honest When Ending a Romantic Relationship

It’s okay if you want to cushion the blow. But don’t lie about your motivations for ending the relationship. Try to explain your thoughts gently. 

In short, be honest but don’t be brutal. Acknowledge that being in the relationship doesn’t make you happy or fulfilled or that you don’t want the same things they do. 

Avoid turning your conversation into a blame game or focusing on what your partner did wrong. Instead of pointing fingers, try to share how you’re feeling and convey your reasons why the relationship isn’t working for you.

5. Skip the Breakup Cliches

Skip any rendition of the classic “it’s not you, it’s me” cliché or any trite excuses. The goal is to let your partner down easily and end the relationship without a lot of hurt, anger, and confusion. 

Make the experience productive for both of you. No one will benefit without getting a sense of closure or when someone is stuck guessing what went wrong in the relationship. 

6. Prepare for Possible Reactions

Regardless of how well you believe you know the other person, there’s no surefire way to predict how they will react to the breakup. But you can prepare for possible ways your now-ex would respond:

If they get angry: Understand that you can only control your response and behavior, not the other person’s feelings and reactions. Keep cool and understand that their anger is mostly masking their pain, hurt, and rejection. Tell them that you can have a final conversation once they’ve cooled off, but make your mental health a priority, so don’t subject yourself to any batshit.

If they get sad or cry: You can’t keep them from feeling hurt, so be empathetic with your reply but don’t make it a reason to give them false hopes. Maybe say that you’re sorry to hurt them but avoid leaving the breakup up for a debate. 

If they beg for another chance with a promise to change: This one is a pretty common reaction to getting dumped. They will make promises and whatnot. And while you can tell them that you appreciate the offer, also acknowledge that you don’t want them to change for you and be firm with your decision in ending the relationship. 

7. Make Sure You Don’t Give Your Partner False Hope

So, the hard conversation is done and over with. There’s no need to add confusion or hope where there is none by giving your partner false hope. But this one is often an honest mistake when breaking up with a person. 

Naturally, your instinct is to lessen the blow and hopefully end things on a positive note. Are you familiar with these phrases?

  • “… but we can stay friends.”
  • “… I’m just busy (or any other reason) right now, maybe after (this or that).”
  • “… it’s just temporary.”
  • “… but I’m still going to be here for you.”

Avoid them at all costs. Don’t leave things open-ended or hint at any future reconciliation if it’s not a possibility. Making insincere intentions just to avoid placating the other person will make them hope, and that is brutal if not insulting.  

8. Set Boundaries But Try To End on a Positive Note

After having the tough conversation, next comes figuring out how to navigate things. Do you want to break up but still stay friends? Or do you want to cut ties?

Once you’ve broken up with your partner, it’s crucial that you also put your boundaries out in the open. If you live under the same roof or have shared social events in the near future, discuss it, so once the time comes, both will feel comfortable. Maybe discuss a game plan for social media. Maybe you want to unfriend, remove, or block them. 

Final Thoughts on How to Break Up with Someone You Love

Breaking up with someone doesn’t mean you are a bad person or that they are a bad person. It simply means that the combination of both of you together is causing less fulfillment and less happiness. 

Yes, it’s difficult to end something with someone you’ve shared a life with. Relationships can be complicated like that. But once you have some pretty clear signals that it’s not going to work out, there’s no reason to drag it out longer. But you can be gentle in how you have that conversation with your soon-to-be-ex.