Whether you’re breaking up with someone for no reason or with a solid one it is not easy to do so without hurting their feelings.
Your mission becomes even more difficult when your partner thinks you’re the one.
Relationships are meant to feel fulfilling, and a lot of them are so, especially in their beginnings.
However, not all romantic relationships are that way all the way through. Some simply go in the opposite direction.
You’re no longer fulfilled, and the sadness weighs heavier than joy on the scale. Your relationship is over… And you seem to be the only one aware of it.
Well, how do you make them aware of it in the easiest way possible? How to break up with someone without hurting their feelings?
Here are 10 detailed steps to a genuine breakup:
1. Plan things: Have a talk with yourself first
Breaking a relationship is one of those heavy decisions in life.
Taking care of yourself is not a selfish thing to do.
That is why you’ve got to take some time before and after you decide that breaking up is the healthiest solution.
– Make sure that you’re determined about your decision.
Determination is one of the key traits and factors to guide the flow of a breakup.
If you’re not sure of your decision you’re likely to not break up at all, or break up and regret it after a short or long period.
If you strongly believe that your relationship has come to an end, then you are determined enough to communicate this decision to your partner.
– Plan things through if you live with them.
Living with a partner makes a breakup slightly more difficult and complicated. This is because one or both of you have to move elsewhere.
Make sure you think things through before you communicate your decision to your partner.
For the best of both of you and to avoid hurt feelings, it is a good idea to have a plan for this part considering that one or both of you will have to move out.
– Think of a detailed plan if they’re abusive.
Due to their highly controlling and manipulative tendencies, leaving an abusive partner is a difficult task to complete.
You want to make and think of a detailed plan, especially if you live with an abusive partner. Think of this as an escape to find joy again, and plan the details of this escape.
– Prepare yourself for their reaction and response.
Learning that you’re getting dumped is no joyful position to be in. Different people have different ways of responding to it.
Hence the need to prepare yourself for their reaction so that despite it you can remain stoic about your decision.
– Plan to do it in person if you can.
Learning that your partner is leaving you can be very painful, and even more so if you get the news through text.
Letting your partner know that you’re breaking up with them in person instead of through text is a more respectable way of doing this.
If you’re looking to avoid hurting their feelings, then communicating your decision in person is one of the things you should consider.
Pick a place you know will be suitable.
Have in mind that you need to have privacy to fully express yourselves since there could be heavy emotional sensations you both might experience and express.
– Think of what you’ll say and how you’ll say it.
It’s good to have a sense of security and confidence as you’re speaking.
You’ll be able to have that once you figure out how you want to portray your message and what words it’ll contain.
Thinking things through will allow you to reflect before you say what you have to say to your partner.
This way you make sure that your message is properly portrayed and not seen as insensitive.
2. Choose truthness
When you’re the one to decide to break up, it tends to be difficult, to tell the truth.
Truthfully is how you break up with someone you still love, or someone who loves you, or anyone, really.
Avoiding the truth may seem a reasonable thing to do to prevent them from hurting, but on the contrary, you’ll cause them more damage by doing so.
In the long term, they’ll be left wondering what went wrong, they’ll blame things or people that aren’t a cause of your breakup.
Instead of deceivement, choose the truth.
– Avoid false excuses.
Giving them a false excuse as to why you’re breaking up with them will hurt them in the long term.
At first sight, it can seem like you’re doing them a favor by hiding the truth from them; But in the long term, you’re doing them anything but a favor.
False excuses will only open a door for them to keep doing what they’re doing and think they’re on the right just so that they crash and end up in the same position again.
Giving them false excuses will hurt them in the long term.
– Let them know what they did wrong.
It might hurt them for a short while, but eventually, they’ll pick up on their wrongdoings and hopefully won’t repeat them in their future relationships.
This will help them in the long term, and you’re doing them a favor by, in a way, guiding them to self-improvement instead of deceiving them into self-pity or entitlement.
– Explain truthfully to them why you made the decision.
Tell them the real reason you’re breaking up with them.
Giving them an honest reason as to why you’re breaking up with them and what drove you to make this decision will help them get closure eventually.
By letting them know of the truth you prevent them from wondering what went wrong.
Leaving them confused will hurt them even more than giving them a truth that hurts shortly.
3. Avoid deceiving them with kindness
It’s normal to want to end things on a positive note. However, the need to not hurt them can escalate to a point in which you end up being too kind and loving…
You might think that there’s nothing wrong with that, however, there is.
The kindest way to break up with someone is to be truthful, gentle, and straightforward with them. This way, you create an easy path for them to heal.
Being too kind or overly compassionate while you let them know you’re breaking up with them can deceive them into thinking that there’s hope to get back together with you.
– Let them know if you’re planning to cut ties.
Deciding to tell them that you’ll contact them every now and then because you feel sorry for them at the moment is a decision you might regret later.
In that case, you’ll feel obligated to contact them because of a momentary urge stemming from pity for your partner.
Stand by your decision and let them know of it confidently.
It is a better choice and less hurtful if you will, to disappoint them a bit at the moment than have them dragged on concrete while filled with hopes that they’ll eventually get to you again.
If you’re looking for easier ways to break up with someone, let them know if you’re cutting ties.
No Contact will be helpful for both of you if moving on is what you’re looking forward to.
– Don’t present the opportunity of a re-connection if that’s not something you’re willing to do.
When you take the time to think of the situation and make the decision you also make your mind up on whether you want to see them again or not.
If re-connecting in the future isn’t something you’re willing to do with this person, then don’t give them false hope by representing such an opportunity.
You might feel the urge to comfort them through presenting such an opportunity, though you want to resist that urge and stand by your decision.
This way you prevent hurt and disappointment that may occur when they meet with the harsh reality: you don’t want a re-connection.
– Avoid promising things.
This is yet another urge you have to resist while communicating the bad news.
When you see your partner in pain and hurt, even though you’re determined to not be around them anymore, you get this urge to comfort them with promises.
You want to avoid sentences such as “I promise we’ll text after a while has gone by.” or “I promise we can hang out after a couple of months have passed.”
Troubles and issues within romantic relationships are almost inescapable in most relationships.
One of the key factors to keeping the relationship together is the way you handle and manage those troubles or issues as a couple.
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4. Be gently straightforward
Being straightforward is a good way of breaking up, however, that can often be taken as a harsh way of being told you’re being dumped.
You want to be straightforward, but you also want to find a gentle way of being so.
Your partner will get hurt anyway so spare them a bit of hurt and be gentle while you’re straightforward.
– Be respectful and considerate.
Instead of ‘dumping’ them, try to have a respectful approach to them while you’re having a conversation.
Respect them for who they are instead of berating them or being harshly and rawly honest about how they ‘did everything wrong’.
Be considerate of what they might be feeling at the moment and the thoughts they might be processing at the moment.
– Gently tell them what your limits are.
While at ‘gently straightforward’, you also want to be gentle while communicating your borders.
Though, you want to be gentle but also make sure that they get your message clearly.
For example, “I think that it’s best for the both of us to keep a distance and not communicate. Otherwise, we are not going to be able to heal…”
This way you let them know, realistically, what they can expect from you and the communication afterward.
– Don’t leave space for it to linger.
You don’t want to drag the breakup process. The more you drag it, the more you leave space for it to linger, and the more it is going to hurt.
You don’t want it to be quick to the point where it’s disrespectful to your connection and your partner.
Though you don’t want to let it drag until ‘the final day’ comes in.
5. Avoid accusing them
When a relationship doesn’t work, oftentimes it’s due to the incompatibility of the couple. At times both partners are just as responsible for the relationship ending.
However, this doesn’t have to be your case necessarily. Whatever the case, avoid accusing them.
When it comes to a person feeling accused, it is more about the way that the other person is addressing the issue.
- You want to be careful with your tone of voice and use of statements such as “You didn’t” or “You did”.
- To not sound accusing you want to be aware of the statements that you’re using. You want to use more “I” or “I felt”.
The reason why you don’t want to make them feel accused as you let them know you’ve decided to break up is that the debate can escalate to a point where you say mean, hurtful things you don’t actually mean.
If you’re looking forward to ending things on a good note, then you want to avoid accusations, berating, and mean words.
6. Don’t offer them friendship if you can’t keep up with it
This is vital to keep in mind. If you don’t see yourself being friends with your ( or soon-to-be) ex-partner, then don’t promise them friendship for the sake of comfort.
Again, it’s an urge that’s often hard to resist because you see your partner in such a vulnerable position ‘because of you’.
However, when you find yourself in such a difficult position you have to keep this in mind…
– You’ll hurt them more if you give them a promise you can’t keep.
Sure, you give them momentary comfort by presenting the idea that they’ll get to see you and perhaps change your mind during the process.
When their ideas and expectations meet up with reality it’ll hurt more than a gentle yet forward ‘no to friendship’ said the moment you’re breaking up.
Keep things clean and honest. Think of the long-term outcomes.
What can be comforting at the moment for them, can be excruciating pain for them later on when they slowly and painfully realize that they have no chance to reach you.
Or even worse, you keep the friendship for the sake of standing by your words while not knowing that you’re feeding them a false hope that keeps them coming for more.
In that scenario, it’ll be painful for both of you, in the long term.
If you’re not into the idea of keeping a friendship with your soon-to-be ex-partner then don’t present that idea to them.
7. Show determination in your decision
It’s a difficult task to complete. But, this is the only way to save your partner from falling prey to an illusion: that they can talk you out of it.
By showing determination, you let them know that you made this decision and it’s not up to them to change it.
You’ll save the tears and pain by not dragging them around with pity and over-the-top kindness.
– Don’t give them the impression that they can talk you out of it.
It’s usually the statements such as “I love you too and I’m going to need you in my life, but I don’t think we’re good for each other.” that trigger the “I can do something about this!”
By showing them too much pity and comforting them with words you don’t mean, you’ll give them the impression that this is fixable and it is up to them.
That’s a pain you want to avoid causing. Show determination and empathy instead of pity and exaggerated tenderness.
– Acknowledge your awareness that this is painful for both of you.
“You had a tremendous impact on my life, but this is where I draw the line. I’m sorry, but I made my decision. I know this is painful for you and it is so for me, but for me, this is the only way to start healing.”
You want to be empathetic and feel with them. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a harsh message that says “I’m dumping you, it’s over.”
Acknowledge your awareness of the situation and of their feelings without being inconsiderate about it.
“I know it hurts, but for me, this is the only way to heal.”
8. Acknowledge what went wrong: your mistakes as well
We all make mistakes in relationships. We hurt our partner unintentionally by saying or doing something that’s not well thought out.
On the other hand, we might do it on purpose due to the heat of the moment while in an argument…
While breaking up, you want to acknowledge your mistakes as well.
If you don’t remind them of a few of your wrongdoings as well, they’ll feel like they’re the only bad guy and they’ll be questioning whether they deserved your kindness or not.
– Don’t let them wonder what went wrong.
Acknowledging what went wrong will prevent them from wondering and blaming around.
Keep in mind that you want to use “I” statements while addressing this part.
Of course, there’ll be questions. And of course, you’ll feel like you have to answer them.
When it’s time for the “What went wrong?” you make sure you tell them the truth, no matter how hard to swallow it may be.
“I stopped feeling attracted to you, it’s not something in particular that you did. I don’t think it’s fair to keep it going. It’s not fair to you and to me either.”
9. Avoid making them break up with you
This can seem like an easy way out. “I’ll act insane for a couple of days, and they’ll make the difficult decision!”
This is one of the worst things you can do to a partner you love or you once loved…
- If you think about it is a cruel shift of your behavior. In a way, you treat them so bad – out of nowhere – to the point where they have to leave you.
- They’ll be left wondering what they did wrong to deserve such torture, carrying the heavy weight and the confusing thoughts of a possible breakup.
What happens to them when you shift your behavior into ‘everything they’ve ever hated’ is they get confused and sad for suddenly losing you.
They’ll have sleepless nights thinking about what went wrong along the way that suddenly turned you this way.
Once they make the decision to leave their questions still unanswered, they’ll still be in pain and wondering what they did or what happened.
To you, this is an easy way out, but it’s not fair. It’s manipulative, toxic, and highly damaging.
Be the one to take the fair and brave path. It’s difficult indeed, but at the end of the day, you’ll know you did the right thing.
10. Make a ‘post breakup’ agreement
Depending on what your agreement might be, this can make it a lot easier for both of you to manage your expectations.
In a way, it’s a bit of practicing conscious uncoupling.
You might not know what could give them closure, but you now know that you can be a decent person to avoid hurting them further on.
- A post-breakup agreement can include anything that clarifies your ways of behaving and your expectations from one another.
- It can be something such as “I’d like for us to go No Contact for three months.” or “Let’s not text each other, and if we do, let’s make it ok to not respond for the sake of healing.”
By doing this you set rules and you require each other to meet them despite no longer being partners.
You’ll know what to expect from one another regarding communication after the breakup.
This can be especially helpful if you live together, if you have children together, or if there’s anything else that conditions you to have contact and meet each other on a regular basis for a particular period.
This will be beneficial for both of you to set your boundaries and have them respected by each other.
In other words, you’re consciously agreeing to something for the best of both of you.
Putting it into words: The breakup sentence
The theoretical part is logical and easy to comprehend. You somehow understood what it takes to do this right.
Now there’s only one part left. Summing it up into a sentence that doesn’t make their heart hurt as bad…
When your breath becomes heavier and you start getting a lump in your throat, it is time to finally:
- Let them know how much you value their presence.
- Let them know what went wrong, and the reason why you’re breaking up with them.
- Put it into words that you want to break up.
- Don’t forget to say sorry and acknowledge that this is painful for you as well.
- Give them space to respond and listen to what they have to say.
- Say something positive as well.
For a clearer understanding of how this may go, there are a few sentences as examples of a breakup sentence… Here’s what to say when breaking up with someone:
– “I value your presence and impact in my life, and I know how painful this is… Your behavior recently has made me feel hurt and disrespected, we did try to work it out, but this isn’t it for me. I’d like to end our journey here. I’m sorry.”
– “You’ve been an amazing partner, but a lot of times I feel like you didn’t listen to me as if you didn’t hear me. Being listened to is one of the things that I need the most to feel fulfilled and I see this is something you don’t commit to. This is painful for me too, but it’s time to part ways. For me, this is the only solution.”
– “I took my time to think about it and I’ve made my decision. I care for you and I respect you as a person, but I no longer see you as a partner. I know this hurts to hear, but I think it’s only fair that I tell you about it. I’m sorry…”
– “We had an amazing connection, but something felt to have gone wrong along the way. Lack of communication, lack of affection, and it went downhill from there. I think we both agree on that one. It hurts me to say this knowing how much it’ll hurt you, but I no longer want to be part of this relationship, I’m sorry.”
– “Cheating is something I’d never tolerate, and this is no exception. It just crossed every boundary I had, and I can’t be your partner anymore. I’m sorry, and I hope you get a lesson from this because I genuinely believe you have a good heart and mind.”
Conclusion: Breaking up with someone is a difficult task to complete
Take the time you need to think things through before you say anything to your partner.
It’s ok to feel hesitant to make such a decision and to feel even more so when you’re trying to communicate that decision to your partner.
This surely is no easy thing to do.
At the end of the day, this is a partner you once loved or still love.
Of course, you didn’t enter the relationship thinking that this would be the outcome. Of course, it’s difficult.
But for the sake of your well-being and theirs you have to communicate and convey your message to them.
Take the time you need to gain the strength to do it. It’s stressful, but it’ll heal as time and experiences go by.
You’ve got this!
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