If breaking up with someone you’ve spent months or years of your life with was easy, you wouldn’t be reading this article. The question isn’t how to break up with someone but how to do it in a way that’s constructive, not awkward or messy with miscommunications. We’re going to be honest; it’s not that easy.
Breaking up with someone you once loved (or still do) is hard for various reasons, all of which are entirely valid.
Maybe you’re genuinely concerned about hurting him, or you just don’t want to come off as a jerk to him or his friends. The point is, breakups are never fun, even when you know you need to move on.
Sadly, there’s no such thing as the “perfect breakup,” but if you’re the one looking to break things off, there are some steps you can take to make the experience as healthy as possible for both you and your man. So, let’s take a look at a few ways to kindly and effectively breakup with your boyfriend.
Breaking Up With Someone You Love
Do You Actually Want to Break Up?
Before you break up with your man, ask yourself this question, do you actually want to end the relationship? Breaking up is something that you want to do after substantial consideration.
If you’re having doubts and concerns about the relationship, it’s essential to talk to your partner about it before you break up. “I’ve seen people do surprise breakups” when you think everything is fantastic and going well. Then the person says, “I’m leaving today,” says Rebecca Hendrix, L.M.F.T, a psychotherapist in New York City.
The shock of this out-of-nowhere breakup can be “very, very traumatizing and very hard to get over,” she says. The healthier (and kinder) option? Share those concerns while the door is still open. In some cases, you can save the relationship just by talking about it.
Breaking up shouldn’t be an impulsive decision made during an argument. But unfortunately, we see cases like that all too often. Girl breaks up with the boy in the heat of the moment, the girl regrets it, then they’re back together.
Give It Some Thought
Once you’ve made up your mind about ending your relationship, it’s crucial to think about what you want to say before saying it to your partner.
The talk itself will likely be stressful, so write down exactly what you want to say and practice it in advance. Doing it that way can help you focus on what you really want to say so that you’re able to effectively communicate your thoughts when you’re in the heat of the moment.
Preparing in advance can also help you assess the tone with which you’ll deliver the message. “Try to keep it neutral, non-accusatory, non-blameful, compassionate, direct, and honest,” says Hendrix. That said, don’t try to come up with the perfect breakup script; you’re not a screenwriter. Instead, focus on those unaddressed doubts and concerns and why you came to your decision.
Put yourself in your soon-to-be-ex shoes. “Empathy for the partner’s experience of being broken up with, and the ability to express it, can go a long way to assuaging the inevitable pain,” says Franklin A. Porter, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New York City.
Empathizing with your partner is much easier when you first fall in love. However, by the time you’re ready to end the relationship, you might be tempted not to care how it will impact your partner. “If you’ve been on the receiving end of a breakup in the past, you would probably have a good idea how it feels, and recalling those feelings beforehand would be beneficial in managing your message,” says Porter.
Tell Yourself It’s Okay to Break Up
Breaking up with a partner sucks—especially if it’s someone you love—but it’s also not wrong if the situation is not the same as it once was. So, you shouldn’t feel guilty about your decision.
“Remind yourself that it’s okay to leave a relationship that isn’t working for you,” says Hendrix. “It’s a self-honoring choice that you’re making because you don’t see a future together. And if it’s not a good fit for you, then it’s not a good fit for them, even though they may not be aware of it as much as you are.”
Do your mental health a favor and tell yourself that not every relationship will be right. You owe it to yourself—and your partner—to articulate when you know the relationship isn’t working so that you both can move on.
Give the News Face-to-Face
If you feel comfortable meeting your soon-to-be-ex in person, “you owe it to your partner to have the breakup conversation face-to-face,” says Porter. Yes, it’s probably going to be uncomfortable and more challenging than breaking up over the phone, but doing it face-to-face “shows that you care for them and that you care for that relationship,” adds Hendrix.
But keep in mind, your safety comes first. So if you don’t feel comfortable enough to break up in person (because he is abusive), consider ending it virtually via FaceTime.
Pick the Proper Setting
There’s no one “universal” location for this type of talk. Still, Hendrix suggests thinking hard about the setting to determine where your partner might prefer to be when he hears the news.
Remember that some environments are full of distractions—like a coffee shop with lots of people or a place with loud music aren’t great options. “You want to be able to be present and listen and ask questions and hear what they’re saying,” she says.
Porter recommends avoiding public places. “It’s not fair to the one on the receiving end to have to try to temper a potential emotional outpouring,” he explains. “It’s an intimate conversation that calls for an intimate setting, ideally at the partner’s place, giving them the prerogative to show you the door at any time.”
Again, this only works if you feel safe being around him when he hears the news. If your partner is violent and you’re worried about what he might do, prioritize your own safety and meet in a public place like the park or break up over the phone.
Show Up Sober
You may be tempted to drink a couple of glasses of alcohol before you initiate the conversation— Yes, alcohol gets you talking—but it’s not a good idea. “When we’re drinking, we’re not totally present,” says Hendrix. During a breakup talk, it’s essential to be present, honest, and calm to remember the things you want to say and how you want to tell them.
Be Direct When It’s Time
Don’t beat around the bush when it’s time to deliver the news – be direct! An indirect approach may seem more sensitive at the moment—but we promise you, it’s not. “The best thing to do is to just say the truth, which is we’re not a good fit for each other,” says Hendrix.
Close the Door
At the moment, you may feel tempted to reconsider the extent of a breakup by hinting at the chance to get back together – don’t! Close the door, and stand behind your decision.
“If you say maybe after I take the bar exam, then they’re going to be waiting for their phone to ring after you take the bar exam,” says Hendrix. “If you know that this person is not a good life partner for you and there’s a 99% chance that you’re never going to rekindle anything, then you just want to tell the truth.”
Once you actually break up, do a mini debrief with yourself, recommends Hendrix. Ask: How did I do? How do I feel right now? Remind yourself that it’s completely okay to break up with somebody when things aren’t what they once were. And while you may feel guilty right now, the feeling will pass.