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Breaking up with someone isn’t easy. It might not be as painful as being broken up with, but as long as you have a heart somewhere in your chest it’s still stressful and scary. If you still care about the other person it can also leave you feeling guilty, torn, and emotional. Before you dive into The Talk, it’s best to have a general idea of how to end a relationship. If you go in without an idea of what you to say then you risk drama, miscommunication, and even being talked out of the breakup.
Ending a relationship is tricky, and it’s different for everyone, but there are some general dos and don’ts that you can follow. When you’re breaking up with someone, you want to make sure that you’re being respectful of the other person’s feelings and not hurting them more than necessary.
However, if you’ve been seriously wronged (i.e. cheating) then please, by all means, let them have it and don’t concern yourself with their feelings. Of course, the most important thing is knowing how to best handle the person you’re breaking up with. If you’re in an abusive relationship of any kind, make sure you aren’t putting yourself in a dangerous position, and enlist help if you need to (whether that’s via the police or loved ones). Your safety is the number one concern.
For your everyday, run-of-the-mill breakups, these dos and don’ts will make the whole process a little bit smoother for you both.
DO: Communicate Honestly and Clearly
You wouldn’t want someone to break up with you without accurately explaining their reasons to you. You also wouldn’t want them to say things they didn’t mean. It makes it more confusing and leads to all of the back-and-forth texting afterward. When you’re breaking up with someone, be clear about your reasons. Is it something they did? Is it because you want different things out of life? Is there just something missing on a more personal level? You only have one chance to explain all of this properly, so don’t chicken out. You won’t be doing anyone any favors.
DON’T: Be Wishy-Washy
I understand that saying “I’m probably messing up a good thing” is one of those things people say when they’re trying to smooth things over and they’re unsure of what to say, but COME ON. If you can acknowledge the fact the relationship is a good and you still want to break up, then keep that to yourself. This statement does not make anyone feel better, and in fact, it’s more likely to piss them off. Why? Because you’re basically saying “there’s nothing wrong with you, but you’re not good enough for me.” I repeat: do not say this sentence when breaking up with someone.
DO: Let Them Go
After breaking up with someone, you forfeit the right to text, call, DM, and like their social media posts. You don’t get to check in to see how they’re doing or talk to them about life. You no longer get to lean on them for support or advice. Your inside jokes are dead. When you break up with someone, make sure your actions after the fact match up with what you said. Trying to remain friends and stay in contact is just going to hurt them more in the long run and make it harder for everyone to move on with their lives. Let them go.
DON’T: Conduct the Breakup in Public
I mean, are you an asshole? Relationships should be personal and private, and breakups should be too. If you break up in public you are guaranteed to cause a scene. How are you supposed to have an honest and difficult conversation if you’re surrounded by people? That’s not fair to anyone involved. Save it for a quiet, private moment.
DO: Make Sure You Actually Want to Break Up
This is super important if you’re an impulsive person. Relationships are never perfect, and they require constant communication and adjustment. If your significant other did something that upset you and you start to consider breaking up, take a step back and really think about it. Is it absolutely something to break up over or is it something you can talk about as a couple? If you want to break up way down in your core, then go for it. Just be sure that it’s the right decision for you so you don’t a) regret it later and b) hurt someone unnecessarily.
DON’T: Use Clichés
No one wants to hear “It’s not you, it’s me.” No matter the reason you want to break up, it’s painfully obvious that you don’t love the other person enough to work through the issue. Out of respect for the other person, avoid the breakup clichés. Stick to honest, genuine statements instead.
DO: Keep it Short and Sweet
Even the easiest, kindest of breakups are hard, especially when you’re the one being broken up with. As the “breaker” try your best to avoid saying or doing anything that could start drama or escalate the situation. With the exception of cheaters, try not to point out all the ways the other person messed up or hurt you when you’re breaking up with someone. They will already be defensive, so be mindful of that. Instead, explain how you feel, listen to them, and then leave when everything has been said. Definitely don’t linger around longer than necessary.
If you want to be lazy, cowardly, and disrespectful, then sure you can ghost your partner. However, if you pride yourself on being a thoughtful individual you should not take this route. Honestly, how hard is it to say, “Sorry, this isn’t working for me. I wish you well?” It’s not. Even if you’ve only been “talking” to someone for a few weeks, have some respect for them and formally put things to an end instead of just fading away. This is a move for f*ckboys, and there’s a reason they have such a distasteful name.