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How to Break Up with Someone Nicely

a woman in a bedroom lost in thought about how to break up with someone nicely

You’ve come to the realization that this thing you’ve got going on just isn’t going to work out.

And that means you’re gonna have to put your adult pants on, have a serious conversation, and end things. Being the dumper isn’t a nice job. But think about how the dumpee feels. 

That’s why you owe it to the person you’re seeing to be honest, and end the relationship in a kind, gentle way. A way that gives them closure, doesn’t make them feel bad about themselves and allows them to move on in peace. Ghosting is for jerks. And payback is a bitch. 

Here’s how to break up with someone nicely. And yes, it is possible. 

7 Ways How to Break Up with Someone Nicely

Don’t drag it out

It’s understandable to avoid breaking up with someone because you don’t want to have a difficult conversation or potentially hurt someone’s feelings. But dragging it out will only make the situation worse for both of you. 

Look at breaking up with someone like pulling off an old band-aid – better to do it quickly without um-ing and ah-ing. The sooner it’s done, the quicker you can both go your separate ways and move on. 

Let them know before everyone else does

Most people will talk to a close friend or two when thinking of breaking up with someone. It’s fine to share your feelings and ask for advice with people you know well and trust to keep things quiet.

However, it’s not a great idea to tell everyone you know – especially their friends – because this increases the chances of your secret getting out and making its way to them before you get a chance to have a direct conversation. 

Think about it this way: how would you feel if you found out from a friend or stranger that your partner is going to break up with you?

Be respectful, and break the news to your partner before you tell everyone else.

Do it in person (but not in public)

If you’ve only been on a couple of dates with someone, then it’s not really a relationship, so I’d say it’s fine to do it via text.

But anything more serious than this, I think it’s only right to have the conversation face to face. This shows your partner kindness and respect, and removes any unnecessary confusion or hurt. 

A word of warning though – don’t break up in public, unless of course you’re concerned about your safety. If that’s the case then I would advise against doing it face to face.

But for all other situations, privacy will make your partner feel more comfortable and allow them to be honest in their reaction and ask you any questions if they need to. 

As you’re the one doing the breaking up, it’s best to do it at their place instead of yours. This means you can pick up and leave once the conversation is over, and means your partner won’t have to go anywhere in an emotional state.

Focus on why the relationship isn’t right for YOU

Bring the focus onto why this relationship isn’t working for you, and keep the focus away from your partner as much as possible. There’s no need to place blame or shame. 

For example, instead of saying, “I can’t be with you because you don’t want to get married and have kids,” you could say, “I’ve realized that I can’t picture my life without marriage or kids. It’s okay that you don’t want those things, but I very much do”

Be honest (but not brutally honest)

While it’s important to be honest, you don’t want to be so honest that you hurt their feelings in the process. There’s no need to be cruel. It’s simple to be clear and direct without making it personal.

If they’ve been unfaithful or abusive, then it’s fine to bring that up because it’s an obvious reason as to why you’re wanting to end things. 

But avoid mentioning things like physical appearance, sexual performance, finances, or any kind of emotional baggage. There’s no need to hit them where you know it’ll hurt. 

Be sensitive to their feelings

Remember, you don’t know how the other person will react to the news. They may be a lot more attached to you, and may be totally surprised by you wanting to break up.

You may feel great about being able to finally let go of an unfulfilling relationship, but you need to be mindful about their feelings. So prepare for them to be hurt, angry, confused, frustrated – any emotion you can think of. 

Ask for their thoughts

This doesn’t mean you ask your partner for permission to break up with them or allow their opinion to influence you. What it means is you give them a chance to voice their thoughts and/or concerns. 

A great way to do this is saying what you need to say, then follow it by saying, “what do you think?” 

You never know, they may even end up agreeing with your reasoning and insight on the relationship. 

When you’re trying to figure out how to break up with someone nicely, do it with love, kindness and respect. It sounds cheesy, but when you treat people how you hope to be treated, it’s a good starting point. 

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