deciding how to break up with someone is tough – here’s how to soften the blow
Most relationships don’t go the distance and deciding how to break up with someone is never easy – there’s a reason ghosting is so popular. But, tempting as it might be to simply fade away with no word, it’s not only disrespectful but cruel as well. If you’re wondering what to say to break up with someone, we have a list of tips and advice for you, as well as sample texts and suggestions for how to break up with someone nicely.
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What to keep in mind when breaking up with someone
Sometimes, the reasons for breaking up are obvious – cheating, for instance, or abuse. But other times, a relationship simply doesn’t work out, which makes understanding how to break up with someone a little more complicated. Still, a few things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t ghost them
While ghosting may seem like the better option, it really isn’t – it leaves your partner with no closure and wondering what they did wrong, which is neither kind or respectful. So hard as it may feel, suck it up and have the conversation – you’ll feel better for it. Of course, this doesn’t apply if you think that having that conversation would be unsafe for you – in that case, ghost away!
2. Put some thought into what you’ll say
Very few people actively want to hurt others, which is why it can be so hard to figure out how to break up with someone. Make deciding what to say to break up with someone easier on yourself by planning it beforehand – make notes, talk it over with a friend, or simply spend a few minutes before the actual conversation thinking through what you want to say.
3. Be direct and keep the focus on the relationship.
It can be tempting to use the breakup conversation to air all your grievances, but resist. Instead, keep the conversation short and stick to the reasons the relationship didn’t work, rather than any faults of your partner. Think of it like ripping off a Band-Aid – it’s better done quickly and cleanly.
4. Don’t attempt to keep the friendship.
This might be controversial, but it’s a rare pair of exes that can become friends. For the sake of your sanity, and the possibility of a good relationship in the future, it’s best to go no-contact. And yes, that includes looking up (read stalking) your ex on social media. Make the split a clean break and it will heal cleaner and likely quicker.
5. Acknowledge that it hurts, and that that’s okay.
Breaking up is hard to do, even if you’re the one doing the dumping, even if you ended the relationship for good reasons. Allow yourself to feel those emotions and grieve if you feel the need – it’s a totally understandable, and human, reaction. You should also feel free to lean on friends and family for support, and schedule me-time or self-care if you need it.
How to break up with someone by text
Although breaking up with someone is best done face to face, there are times when a text is a better option – if it’s a casual relationship or you don’t feel safe having the conversation in person. Some tips:
Keep it short and simple.
Texts aren’t emails. Resist the urge to over-explain and just stick to the facts of what you want to say.
Example: ‘Hey [person’s name]. I’ve enjoyed spending time with you, but I don’t think we’re a good fit long term. I wish you all the best, though.’
Double-check your spelling and grammar
Even without autocorrect’s tendency to be the ducking worst, you should always double-check your messages for errors and for clarity. Plus, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with lolspeak, emojis, or abbreviations, a break-up text is best written in good English.
Example: ‘Hey there [person’s name]. I’m sorry, but this doesn’t seem to be working and I think we would be better off seeing other people. I do wish you the best, though.’
The popularity of “it’s not you, it’s me” makes it a bad choice for a break-up text and using clichés might give the impression you didn’t put any thought into the message. It’s best to personalize the text if you can, while keeping it kind.
Example: ‘Hi [person’s name]. I really enjoyed debating DC versus Marvel with you (DC all the way) but I don’t think there’s enough of a spark between us to continue this relationship. I wish you the best, though.’
How to break up with someone in person
Breaking up with someone face-to-face is infinitely harder than by phone, email, or even text, but assuming it’s safe, it’s definitely the right thing. If you’ve been together a long time or have made a significant commitment, then you should break up face-to-face. Some tips for how to break up with someone in person:
Don’t drag it out
Just as when you’re breaking up with someone over text, it’s best to keep things short and simple in person.
Tip: Even if you have a list of reasons why they’re a terrible person, resist the urge to tell them every single one. It might be cathartic, but it won’t be particularly useful or productive – save the litany of their inadequacies for drinks with your friends instead.
Pick an appropriate time and place
One of the keys for how to break up with someone in person choosing when and where. This will depend on several factors. For instance, you don’t want to break up the week before Christmas or 20 minutes before they have a major presentation. It’s also better to break up with someone in private so they can react without fear of onlookers or judgement. However, if you are worried for your safety, a park or other public location is a better idea.
Tip: Have a friend nearby (either physically or on the phone) so you have support during and after the conversation.
Prepare for a range of reactions
One of the downsides of breaking up with someone in person is that you’ll be there for the immediate aftermath, which could go any number of ways – they may get angry, they may be sad or upset, they may beg you to change your mind. First, remember that you can’t control their reactions, just yours. Second, stick to your initial decision – you had good reasons to break up, and their reaction doesn’t change that.
Tip: Game out how you’ll react to a variety of possible reactions, so you’re not blindsided into making bad decisions.
Ending relationships is hard, but worth it
Like the Bon Jovi song says, every new beginning is some beginning’s end, and the same is true for relationships. There’s no doubt that breaking up is tough and figuring out how to break up with someone even tougher – even when you’ve decided what to say to break up with someone. But letting go of old relationships leaves room in your life for better ones – and eharmony is a great place to begin your search for love once again.