Breaking up with someone isn’t easy, regardless of how long the relationship has lasted. It’s especially hard when the other person still has feelings for you and when you care about them as a person.
However, there are ways you can break the news and still be respectful to the person you are breaking up with. This guide will give you some ideas on how you can break up with someone without having the whole thing turn into something overly dramatic.
Almost no situation where you’re breaking up with a person requires the use of cliches. They’re called cliches for a reason, and it’s very obvious to everyone involved that you’re just trying to get out of an awkward situation.
The exception to this rule is emotionally, and otherwise abusive relationships where your safest way out is to say something like you need to focus on other things in life or that “it’s not them, it’s you.”
Otherwise, honesty is the best policy. However, don’t confuse honesty with being blunt and cruel to the person you’re breaking up with, especially if you’ve been dating them for a long while. Think about ht to say gently.
It’s a good idea to think about the situation from the other person’s perspective and what sort of tone they would respond to best.
How to Break Up with Someone You Love
Sadly, love isn’t the only thing needed to keep a relationship going. Sometimes, it comes down to simply not functioning as partners, while other times, a problem you cannot solve together arises and ends your relationship.
Be Honest With Yourself
Before you have this conversation with your partner, have one with yourself. Think about why you want to end the relationship and if the reason for breaking up is really something you can’t get over.
This step is necessary because sometimes we feel like we made the right decision and then regret it when it’s done. By being completely honest with yourself, you can determine your priorities are and make peace with what’s about to happen.
There is nothing wrong with putting yourself and your goals first, regardless of the feelings you hold for the other person.
Set a Time & Place
There is a time and place for everything, and breaking up with your partner is no exception. Since this is a relationship where feelings are still present, you will want to have a free evening or afternoon and a private place where you can talk everything out.
If the decision to break up is coming out of the blue for your partner, you can also tell them that you’re rethinking the relationship and let them know when you can talk about it so they can prepare for it mentally as well.
This can bring about a more productive conversation where both parties feel heard, and both gain a sense of closure.
Be Concise, Open, and Honest
When you’re breaking up with someone you love, the worst thing you can do is to be vague and deflective. You also shouldn’t beat around the bush because that can make the situation even harder than it needs to be.
A good idea is to write down your thoughts and feelings before you talk to your partner, as it can help structure your thoughts and arguments. If you have friends or family members you are close with, you could also talk to them about the issue and ask them for help formulating what you want to say.
Talking to someone is also a great way to gain a new perspective on your relationship. It can often help you form better opinions about the situation and figure out precisely what you want to say.
Have A Plan For What To Do Afterwards
Regardless of how long you think the conversation might take, make plans for what you’re going to do after it’s over. This is usually the hardest part of breaking up with someone you still love. It’s when both sides feel lonely and vulnerable.
Whether it’s drawing a warm bath, crying over a bottle of wine, or talking it out with a friend, you should already have a well-defined idea about what makes you feel the best in difficult situations.
Perhaps the most important thing in all of this is not to contact the person you just broke up with. It can often feel like there are things still left to say when everything has already been said, which can draw you to reach out to them. However, this can only lead to more pain. Ideally, you should turn off your phone so that you’re not tempted to text them or so you don’t respond if they text you.
If you managed to leave things on okay terms, there is nothing wrong with reaching out a few days later to see how they’re doing, as emotions won’t be running as high.
How to Break Up with Someone You Live with
This is perhaps the trickiest situation you can find yourself in because you simply can’t exit the scene immediately. When you share a space with your partner, it’s crucial to plan every breakup step to make the situation the easiest it can be.
Find Another Place to Live
If you’re entirely sure that things with you and your partner are done, find a new place to live before you have the breakup talk with them. This way, you won’t have to be stuck in a very awkward and painful living situation.
Planning ahead can seem calculating and cold initially, but it is the only option that keeps both partners sane in the long term.
Because the housing market isn’t the greatest, and it can often take a while to find a new apartment, you might have to spend more time in this relationship than you were expecting.
If the reason for breaking up is that you’re simply not compatible as partners but still work as roommates, sticking around for an extra month doesn’t have to be that bad. However, if it’s something that made you see your partner in a completely new way, you should consider making plans to stay with a friend or family member while you look for a new place.
In either case, giving yourself a strict deadline by when you have to find a new place is an excellent idea. It will keep you from drawing out an uncomfortable situation, as well as give you a new project to focus on to distract you from the pain of your breakup.
Openly Discuss the Issue
Regardless of if the issue is that you’re simply not happy anymore, or your partner did something to betray your trust, breaking up with someone you live with requires an open and honest discussion.
This is a person you shared your life with up until this point, so they deserve that final open conversation about why everything is ending.
If both of you suspected things were heading this way for a while, talking to them and defining those feelings together could be an enlightening experience for both parties. If not, make sure that you’re gentle and concise in the way you break the news to your partner.
As we have already mentioned in the previous section, it helps to put your thoughts down on paper or talk to someone you trust.
Divide Your Things
Sharing a life with someone often means sharing your things and finances with them, too. After the initial breakup conversation, when things have calmed down a little, you should have another talk that focuses on splitting up the items you’ve both been sharing while living together.
Things you brought into the apartment should go with you, but those you bought together should be divided equally. What is “equal” in this situation is something you can decide together. It can either be literally taking half of the stuff or taking only the things that have more sentimental value to you.
Breaking up with someone you have pets with can be even more complicated. In this case, the well-being of the animal should come first. Discuss where the animal would be more comfortable living and who it is more attached to.
Since both partners probably have a close relationship with the pet, things can be hard for both the pet and the partner that won’t be living with them anymore. You can mend this to an extent by agreeing on times when your partner can spend some time with them.
Whether it’s bringing the pet over, having the partner visit, or having the partner take the pet somewhere outside, it can be good for both them and the animal.
You should also discuss the cost of pet care, as food, vet visits, and other pet necessities aren’t cheap.
Finally, when it comes to finances, talk to your now ex-partner about how they’ll handle the part of the bills you used to cover. The economy isn’t what it used to be, and people often start living together because they can’t afford to live alone. If you’ve left things on okay terms, moving out only when they find a roommate or a new way to pay the bills is also an option.
How to Break Up with Someone Over Text
While it’s great to break up with someone in person, sometimes your only option is to break up over text. This is an excellent option for people who aren’t in relationships with the most emotionally stable people or simply those who aren’t great at handling confrontation.
Don’t Be Too Short
Sending someone a simple message that says “we’re done” may seem like a good idea in your head but is rather cruel in practice.
You can always elaborate a little more on the issue or at least choose your words a bit more carefully.
If you’re on okay terms with this person and they seem like they would listen, you can try explaining your side of things and giving them the real reason you’re breaking up with them. If not, you can at least write a text stating you have no hard feelings but simply don’t see yourself in that relationship anymore.
However, you should avoid going into too much detail and listing all the reasons you don’t want to be with this person. Even if you mean well, it can come across as rather demeaning.
Breaking up with someone over text can quickly go south, as people can get confrontational and deflective. They may try to derail the conversation or pick fights because they’re feeling hurt. While this is an expected response in some cases, it doesn’t mean you have to engage with it.
Instead, offer them some closure by giving them a reason for your breakup.
Try not to repeat yourself too much. Some people will say anything to keep the conversation going, which can only end in talking in a circle.
Feel free to exit the conversation when you’ve said your piece and determined you’ve given them enough closure. Whether it’s by putting your phone on silent or blocking the person if they get too much, you don’t owe them more than you’ve already given them.
Reread Before Sending
Autocorrect and spelling mistakes can make any text seem thoughtless, but this is especially true for breakup texts. If you don’t want to be a jerk to someone you’re breaking up with over text, you will reread it before sending it.
If you think this is irrelevant, imagine being on the receiving end of such a text. It can come across as just you sending it casually without a care in the world, which can end up hurting the other person more than you intended. Proper text etiquette ensures dignity is preserved on both ends.
How to Break Up with Someone Long Distance
Long-distance relationships rarely work because partners simply don’t spend enough quality time together. Regardless of how much you love the person you’re with, it’s going to be challenging to maintain a long-distance relationship over a more extended period of time.
Schedule a Call
Those who don’t want to break up over text but can’t see their partner in real life should schedule a video call where they can talk. This is a more personal way to break up, and it’s especially good for people who still have fond feelings for the person they’re breaking up with.
One important thing to keep in mind is that the call should be held in private for both you and your partner. Since this is a sensitive and potentially emotionally vulnerable situation, it would be awkward to have someone interrupt or accidentally walk in on the conversation.
Make sure that both you and your partner have the option to get some space. If you don’t want to tell them what exactly the talk is going to be about, you can always say that it’s about something serious and that both of you would be more comfortable with complete privacy.
However, since this is a long-distance relationship, it’s advisable to give the person some heads-up so they can prepare mentally for what’s about to happen.
Don’t Cut Them Off
Breaking up with someone long distance when you’ve made peace with your decision can almost feel like a chore. We often forget that this is actually news for the person on the receiving end, leading to a lack of patience and communication.
However, you should definitely control the impulse just to end the conversation after you’ve broken up with them. Instead, let them process the information and say what they need to say to you.
Exercising empathy is especially important in long-distance breakups, as things can already feel too impersonal since you’re mainly using technology to communicate. Don’t cut your partner off, understand where they’re coming from, and don’t try to start a fight at this vulnerable time.
Of course, there is a risk of exercising too much empathy and letting the person emotionally manipulate you while they’re processing this information out of feeling hurt. Try to stay calm during the conversation and keep reminding yourself why you’re breaking up with them in the first place.
If all else fails and things get too heated, end the call. When emotions aren’t running so high, you can try to have another conversation to gain some closure.
How to Break Up With Someone You Just Started Dating
Sometimes relationships end before they even really started. In many cases, this is both normal and natural, but it can be tough breaking the news to a partner who thought you had a real future together.
Do It in Public
Since the level of intimacy likely hasn’t surpassed dates and casual hanging out, perhaps the best way to break up and be nice about it is to do it in public. Going for a coffee or a walk can usually do the trick, as these things don’t take long, and you won’t be stuck in an awkward dinner for the whole evening.
You should tell the person why you think things aren’t working out honestly, and ideally at the beginning of the “date.” This leaves enough time to talk things through and doesn’t get their hopes up that you’ll have a romantic day together.
Don’t Start with “You”
Not being interested in someone is fine, but you should still choose your words carefully when breaking up with them. Since you want to be respectful and don’t want to hurt them more than you need to, avoid starting your sentences with “you.”
This can make the person feel attacked or like you’re saying there’s something wrong with them, even if that isn’t your intention. Instead, try sticking to more general statements that put the blame on the situation and feel less personal.
When breaking up with someone nicely, it’s better to use examples such as “There isn’t a connection” or “I don’t think we’re a good match.” They don’t make the person feel like they did anything wrong, making them automatically more open to listening to what you have to say.
Starting your sentences with “I” can make it seem like this is just your perception of the situation, meaning they have to respect your feelings. If they don’t, then they’re not really a person you want around anyway.
Slowly Back Off
Since this isn’t a relationship involving feelings and you didn’t have enough time to develop a connection, you can also just let things fizzle out on their own by not engaging much and dropping hints that you’re not really all that interested.
While some may consider this mean, it can be a godsend for non-confrontational people and those who simply don’t know what to say.
You can do this by not replying to their messages often, not engaging in the conversation actively, or leaving things on “read.” Also, don’t make any plans about meeting up with them any time soon.
If they’re emotionally intelligent enough, they’ll pick up on the fact that you’re simply not interested and will start writing less and less often.
This is a tactic that can work for both romantic and sexual relationships.
As you can see, breaking up with someone isn’t impossible if you know how to do it right. The most important thing to remember in these situations is that the person you’re breaking up with is still someone who deserves some care and respect. These situations aren’t pleasant for either party, but there is no reason to make them more awkward than they need to be.