Everybody knows that it‘s a devastating experience to lose someone you really love, be it through a breakup or divorce.
We have all gone through this at least one time in our lives.
But the fact that it is also tough to be the one who leaves is something you could only know if you have experienced it.
So, the question arises – how to break up with someone?
Relationships come to an end, and the reasons why can be numerous.
They all have in common that one member of the relationship is dissatisfied and pulls back.
Maybe he has tried for some time to adjust the relationship according to his wishes.
If this fails, he usually quits emotionally long before the actual break up.
That is often the reason why the “breakup survivor” has the impression that the “dumper” is cold-hearted — he already left mentally months ago.
How to decide if the relationship should be ended or not?
They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it's true
Here are some guidelines you can take into account when considering ending a relationship:
- Does the relationship allow you to evolve according to your wishes?
- Does the relationship fulfill your needs?
- Is it possible to have goals together and achieve them?
- Does your partner accept you as you are?
- Can you resolve conflicts together?
- Are you feeling safe in your relationship?
- Is the communication with your partner good?
If your answer to these questions is in the majority “no,” then it is probably time to move on.
So, you want to break up with your girlfriend/boyfriend, and you don’t know how to do this?
You’ve never done it before, or have done it wrong in the past, and you could use a helping hand?
The first thing you have to realize is that there is no painless way.
It just doesn’t exist.
No magical words which will take the pain away.
It will hurt them, and it may also hurt you. There is nothing you can do about this.
You can only avoid some common mistakes and make it a little easier for them.
As you continue reading, you are about to learn the steps on how to break up with someone the best way.
If you have made your decision, just use the following steps as a guideline.
How to break up with someone in 7 steps:
1. Keep a few days distance
It is very advisable to maintain some distance from your partner before you actually break up.
This has many advantages.
On one side, you will gain some emotional distance, which is important to be able to go through the steps listed below.
On the other side, your partner will sense that something is about to happen and will hopefully emotionally prepare himself.
Just cut off contact for a week before.
Do not give too much information, just say you’re busy.
2. Try to be sure about your decision
I know, that’s a tough one, especially when you love the person in question, or are very close to him/her.
You've probably been thinking about breaking up for a long time.
You have come to the conclusion that you don’t fit together, have different expectations about life or were unable to resolve or get to the bottom of your conflicts.
Maybe you have simply realized that you do not love your partner.
Either way, try to be sure that there is no chance of getting things right again.
I wrote “try,” because I know that it's so tough to be sure.
You can be confident of your decision if you have tried several times to repair the relationship by trying to talk about the problems and frictions.
To help with this decision, I suggest that you make a list of all the reasons why you want to break up and write possible solutions besides it.
Then go through your list and reflect whether or not you have done everything you could to solve the problems you’ve had.
By knowing the reasons for the imminent breakup, you will be prepared for questions your partner might ask, and they will help you to cope with the breakup yourself.
So, are you absolutely sure?
3. Do it in person
Always talk to your partner in person. Never use email, text messages or a letter.
I know this is tempting because it seems so much easier, but it would also be another type of betrayal.
You owe your partner to look him in the eye when you break up with him. It’s a question of loyalty and morality — an unwritten law.
Not to mention that it’s easier for the person left behind to face the breakup when you tell him/her personally.
Never walk away from this painful burden.
4. Know what and how to say it – be prepared
This is anything but easy.
You have to be well prepared — you have to know what to say in advance.
You must realize that your partner is shocked.
Even if the break up announced itself a long time ago for you, it will come out of the blue for him/her.
The “no contact” before can soften this.
There can be various reactions.
Depending on the personality of your partner, there can be denial, crying, begging, aggressiveness, even abuse.
Try to stay calm whatever happens. Never let this end in a fight.
Here is a short guideline on how to behave when delivering the message:
- Always be understanding, no matter how your partner reacts
- Say that you are sorry that things have not worked out
- Be prepared for questions, look at your list of reasons before you meet
- Try to avoid intimate body contact
- Be confident. If you have not been dominant in your relationship, be it now
- Never be cold
5. Always be clear that it’s unquestionably over
This is the most tricky part:
Never, ever let there be any doubt that your relationship is over.
You’ve made your decision. Stick to it whenever you talk to your partner.
Never give any hope.
The clearer you are, the better and easier it is for the person in the long run.
Always keep in mind: there is no painless way.
This may sound cold-hearted, but it isn’t. The earlier he/she accepts that it is over, the earlier he/she can start the healing and separation process.
- “maybe sometime we could get together again”
- “A part of me still loves you”
- “I never loved anybody as I loved you”
- “ok, give me some time to think it over”
- “we can still be friends”
Even if all of this is true, you must not say it out loud.
It doesn’t help.
I know it is tempting sometimes to say all of this, (especially if there are still feelings from your side).
You will feel the urge to ease the pain by saying something he/she wants to hear, but this is wrong for two reasons: you are giving false hope and delaying the healing process, and you are getting off your course.
You have deliberately thought this through in step two, and you have decided to break up.
Don’t let anybody talk you out of that decision.
There simply is no way without pain.
If you are harsh, then you appear heartless. If you are not firm, then they will think that there is still hope.
This is a very narrow path.
Find a healthy way through the middle and stay the person you are.
6. Give an opportunity for closure
When you break up with someone, that person often remains in a state of shock for several days.
Often he/she cannot remember what was said during the breakup, let alone understand the causes or your reasons that led to it.
In this case, he/she will seek closure.
Here is a definition of the term “closure”:
By closure, I mean a resolving conversation about the reasons for the relationship breakup and an opportunity to say goodbye.
After a few days, (not longer), offer a dialog, a conversation where you can discuss your reasons for the breakup and why you think that your relationship has been going nowhere.
Often they will ask for it themselves.
You will encounter a lot of resistance and arguments here, but that is why I asked you to make that list in step two.
Remember, the goal is not to make the other person understand, he/she will not, no matter what you say.
Understanding will not come until later in their recovery. Your goal is to give the feeling of an ending and a goodbye.
Try to emphasize the sense of farewell by wishing them all your best for his/her life and deliberately leading to a parting.
This will not be easy for you because the person is still close to your heart.
Remember: stay strong. This is important.
7. Help them with No-Contact
The “No-Contact Rule” is one of the most important premises for healing from a breakup.
But sometimes the urge to call or meet is so strong that many can’t resist.
Help them with this.
Do not go to places where you might meet.
If they call or email you, keep the response short and non-personal.
Never call, email or text message first, not even to ask how they’re feeling.
Most of the time, the one who breaks up has to learn as well that it is over.
By following the no contact rule, you help yourself and your ex-partner.
Now you have a list of 7 steps showing how to break up with someone.
They will make the difficult task easier for both parties.
I know that the whole process is excruciating, but please keep in mind that a broken relationship is a deadlock.
Not only is it stopping you from living a fulfilling love life, but it can also harm your self-esteem and confidence.
Not to mention your happiness.
Once you have made the decision, act upon it.
After you have accomplished this arduous task, you are one step closer to fulfillment.
All the best,
I have been dating a 48 year old man for a year and a half who has been divorced for ten years or so. I am a 38 year old woman, that is also divorced for 7 years now. We both have children, mine are young where his are young adults – one in college, the other going off to college this year.
In the beginning G. told me that he never really dated, nobody had been around his children, never stayed with him, gone on vacations, etc…. I find out through social media that was all a lie. He had done all of the above and I had even found proof in his drawer of a letter to a woman that stated I love you from him.
When I addressed this, he had his grown children lie to me about it all. Then he blamed me for being crazy for “looking” for something to fight about. Mind you, he knew ALL of my past and ex’s, etc….
In the beginning I spend the night at his house, his children would come around, we would plan trips with them, etc….. Until his grown children started disrespecting me and he allowed it. It is now to the point that I am not invited if they are around, I am no longer on any of his social media (6 months now), I am blocked actually, I got un-invited on the family cruise, and its ALL MY FAULT per him.
He now hides his phone, and won’t answer any calls or text in front of me. Funny thing is, he comes around my family and my children!
I told him last week that we need counseling and have to work on it, but another fight has happened and I will not contact him anymore. I feel like I am loosing out on things that had originally attracted me to him.
What do I do?
This may be the most unusual situation you have been asked to comment on. I am a 70-year-old woman who was ‘dumped’ by a 67-year-old man after an intimate relationship, a day after our 1-year anniversary. Mr X was hot and heavy after me for our first four dates and could not keep his hands off me. (He thought I was 10 years younger than he – I do not look or act my age!) I gave in. We had a wonderful time together, dating on an average of once a week and texting nearly every day. It was the first time since my husband passed away 12 years prior, that I had dated. This man had been betrayed and divorced in a 17-year marriage 7 years earlier. Mr. X lived in his own home, there were no signs of another woman, however, from the beginning I had questions which I kept to myself about why we never went out on special occasions, at night, but usually at noon. I am a respecter of privacy and feel someone will tell you what you want to know, and will not tell you what they don’t want to share if you ask them. Mr X cancelled our first date because an old friend, Mrs Y, an 84-year- old and whom he kept tabs on because she lived alone, had a medical emergency. He rarely spoke of Mrs Y during the next 6 months, but then told me he would not be available for an upcoming holiday weekend because Mrs Y was quite ill and he was going to take her on a 4-day holiday, as it might be her last. He admitted that they had once been intimate but were no longer so. Two months before the break-up, Mrs Y’s air conditioner went out and she stayed at Mr X’s home for a few days until it was repaired. (He had made the same offer to me when my own a/c broke, but I did not take him up on it.) I did not see it at the time, but after that he began giving me ‘excuses’ why he was not available on certain nights. (He had never offered reasons before.) When I finally called him on it when we could not get together on our anniversary – a date he had remembered, not I! – I said we needed to talk. He immediately agreed and the next day we met, he said “I thought I could do something that I could not, and then other responsibilities came about.” And he said he was was sorry, that this was really all his fault, but he could no longer date me, although we could be friends. Of course, I felt very used and shocked. It has been nearly 4 months and, basically we have maintained little contact. We cared about each other, but because I always felt that he kept me at ‘arms length’, I did the same. Other than sex, he never demonstrated physical intimacy, which is something I thought was strange, but then got used to as ‘just the way he was.’ Frankly, I have no idea what the heck has happened! I can guess, but only he knows, and he is not the type of man who will discuss this. Since I never allowed myself to fall in love with him, this is not nearly as bad as it could have been. BUT, I cannot get the breakup out of my mind because, while it seems obvious, is it really? I gave him every chance to tell me the truth ever since the holiday he took with Mrs Y, but he said nothing. I did not probe. He may be a ‘player’, using this story on all his women. I thought we were at least friends, although he rarely shared any details of is present life. Now I feel betrayed, lied to, and totally clueless as to what his life is really all about. How do I get past this nagging question? We have no friends in common, do not travel in the same social circles and I have NO way of knowing anything else about this man, except If I were to stalk him, which I would not stoop so low to do. I know acceptance is the key, but how to accept something when it is not even known what is being accepted? I like this guy, and would remain friends, but, can I even trust him? And if not, forget friendship!
I have the most devastating problem that I don’t know how to resolve.. I was in a relationship for a long 6 years and then i broke up with the guy because i figured out it was just not working.. I got mental sympathy from another guy and inspite of not wanting to, i went into a relationship with him which lasted for a mere 3 months.. Since i couldnt forget my ex boyfriend, as it was a long 6 years relationship, i decided to give him a last chance to prove me wrong that it wont work out.. But he spoiled the last chance too.. In a fit of anger, i again went into a relationship with the guy i was with for 3 months.. And now i again want to breakup with this guy because it really isnt love and stay alone.. But i dont know how to do it.. Last time when i brokeup with this 3 months guy, he cried so much and became so much emotional that everyone thought i was so stone hearted.. Another problem is he has also recently lost his father..
This was really really helpful. I’m going to do it tomorrow, after almost 3,5 years.
Thanks for this article.
hi everyone, I would like to be helped from my problem. am into a relationship getting to a year now my boyfriend is a graduate of degree level while am just in year one . we have been so intimate that we could barely stay put alone without been emotional on finding out our shortcomings we decided to stay away from each other for a while and these just two weeks from it I can’t beat the thought of missing him I feel like am going to lose him forever pls I need ur help everyone what should I do
Okay so I have this boyfriend and we have been dating for 2 years now. I can’t even make up the decision if I should break up with him or not. I’m 17 and he’s 19 in college. I get so see him in weekends but it’s like I don’t have the want to see him as much anymore and sometimes he gets in my nerves and I never want to talk to him but other times it’s like I’m so needy.. I don’t feel like I love his as much as I did and that my feelings are fading but every time I think about leaving I get sad.. but on the other hand I regret not doing it.. I need to make this decision as soon as possible and I just need some help.. please
I’m in a situation that is more common, I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 4 years. When we met he had been divorced for a year and a half, also at the time his daughter was 13. From the start of our relationship there has always been turbulence, such as his exwife getting involved and his daughter never liked me, of course because to her I was the reason she didn’t have her family back together, so that also contributed to us having problems. I have an autistic 10 year old son from a previous relationship that his daughter is jealous of because he’s spent time with him and has helped with some of his issues, which makes this all the more difficult. Anyways, after 4 years of trying so hard to make it work I feel as though I’m the only one making an effort, only when I talk to him about breaking up does he try to make things work. He’s been drinking much more frequently and to the point that he’s so drunk he doesn’t remember anything. Recently he told me that he’s doesn’t know how to be happy or how to move forward, which leads me to the conclusion that he obviously has issues to work out over his divorce and I’m merely someone to comfort him. I love him but I can’t go on like this I feel as though he’s pulling me down with him, but when we are together with my son we show him that everything is fine. I don’t know how my son will deal with this and I don’t want my son to loose another father figure, should I still let him see my son? I keep telling myself it’s for the best and I know that if I stay I will end up 10 years down the line I’ll be very unhappy. Any other tips on how to try to make this transition any easier??? I am starting the steps tomorrow but should I still let him be around for my son or is it better to just follow the steps?? Please help!
Anyone if possible answer me ! It says that you have to do it in person ,but what if the guy is miles away ? We’re classmates and every year , he goes back home for summer vacation, spring break and weekends, we haven’t seen each other in a month , but he isn’t giving up ! I broke up with him twice but still went back to him .
Hi… Pls i need a solution… Quick i’m just getting bored of the relationship. We both were having good times.. And it’s like she always has to be dominant. When she gets her mood she would talk and i have to wait for that. But when i give her a call it’s like i’m busy now and ttyl. Her interest would develop all of a sudden. She is like always saying the lies and making thousands of wrng excuses. I have to wait for her to talk. I have also got my own life of living. It’s like being with a drama queen. I just want to get away from this relationship.
hello, please give me a suggestion, what shall i do, i loved one guy, 2 years back but only for few months and i realized after that he is not fit for me and he is not well settled also and i started avoiding him from past 1 year, even though i dont love him, i dont want to hurt him because, we were loving without knowing any one, even my best friend because i was ashamed of showing him as a boyfriend, she usually doesnt like him, so it was a secret and now he was having some audios which we both spoke, and he sent an audio to my friend to take a revenge on me, and she is okay with that and she giving me some suggestion to clear this issue, but i am feeling some guilt and i am not feeling good to discuss with her,
i am feeling down in front of her because of this guy, give me some suggestion because now i am depressed, i dont know what to decide about these both, i know that i will defenitely going to leave that guy but what shall i do with my friend, even though she accept me but i am feeling down in front of her. please reply me
These steps are okay, but not sure meeting in person for a breakup is the best thing in all cases. Been in relationship almost 8 years, don’t live in same city. Long story which won’t go into here, but there’s been lots of ups and downs. He has a temper and periodically will say or do something that’s way out of line. He’s not a kid, nearly 60 yrs old and also drinks more than he should. Had planned a romantic four day getaway over the holidays which turned really sour all of a sudden with him destroying some (minor) property (some knick knack type gifts he’d given me last year). He did this like a childish jerk of 12 years old. After doing this ridiculous act, he wanted to pretend that it was no big deal, but it has led to a separation and cooling off type of period. In this situation, it’s not as if a breakup should come as a big shock to him, to the extent that he’s due some respectful “in person” type of breakup explanatory session. He knows that this act of property damage was the last straw. And anyone who is of that mentality to cross the line into tearing something up, no matter how “small” or inexpensive, is someone who can’t be trusted to get a grip on his emotions. So, I would say, anyone who has encountered someone who little by little pushes the boundaries and loses their emotional balance into that type of behavior, maybe it’s not a great idea to have a face to face breakup. This person is not a high school kid. He’s a grown, older man, so it’s even weirder and more difficult to cope with a person who is so immature and unpredictable. There’s no friends or family around to help or be supportive, so there’s no assistance in that way. An 8 year thing that had everyday, extensive contact/communication is very difficult to just break off quickly without it being somewhat “iffy” from a safety/security standpoint.
Hi Eddie –
I think your 7 rules are a very good guidepost.in the age if emails and text messages, people seem to think that is an okay way to break up. It is not.
After 3+ years with my ex I recieved a long and formal email from him – he was in Europe at the time.
I was so crushed I could barely keep my composure. Luckily I have a very supportive male friend (just friends). He
could see how upset I was and always encouraged me. I am a grown woman and never expected such a rude break up.
He was my companion for a long time. Neither of us are youngsters. Then all of a sudden this horrible email, filled with false accusations, all types of things.
When he returned home, he would not even speak to me. I saw him in the street one day and he would not even look at me.
I have been through break ups before. Every person should have the decency to break up in person and give the partner an opportunity to at least try to understand what is happening. And it was a terrible misunderstanding as well – his friend had told him some false information about me, which I was never given the opportunity to clear up.
Anyway, all the more reason to have this man out of my life. Who treats a lover like that? Not the one who is right for me.
A couple of weeks ago me and my boyfriend got together. It was all okay until I would frequently catch myself thinking about my ex and comparing our old relationship to my new one. Example; with my ex, I was totally comfortable with him, I KNEW that I could be myself around him and he wouldn’t judge me. he was also 100% comfortable with me. Everyday he would remind me how much he loved me and always will. Unfortunately, I ended the relationship cause of too many issues with myself, he sadly moved on for a short while but recently told me I would always have a huge chunked of his heart. Then.. there’s my new BF. I like him but not as much as my ex. I’m not comfortable with him. I don’t feel I can be myself around him. i don’t want to hurt him but I just have thinking and missing my ex way too much. advice?
Hi, I’ve been in a relationship for 2 years now and when the relationship started, it was like a dream come true! Now I just want out…. We are now engaged to get married in 3 years… And the only reason he proposed was to keep me from breaking up with him. I’ve been wanting to leave him for months now and I just can’t . He never listens to me, he’s always groping even when I tell to stop, he’s more worried about his video games, he doesn’t like me being gone anywhere even if it’s work for too long because there’s too many guys, I’m not allowed to be friends with a guy unless he’s met him, he doesn’t have goals ( he says he lives in the now), he doesn’t want me to pursue my dreams when I get casting calls for acting because he’s worried that they would give me a sex scene. WHAT DO I DO! PLEASE HELP ME!!!!
He shouldn’t be the one controlling you or your dreams in life.
I have been with a man for 15 years, making the move right after my husbands death. We are very, very, different, but he seemed exciting and he seemed to know everything I needed, being very smart. He has been married three times, five kids and still in college, but here is the bad part, he is a heavy pot smoker and heavy drinker, but functional during the day. How did I get in so deep? He was abusive physically, and had to straighten up, due to my not tolerating it, but then the verbal part got worse, followed by the withdrawal of affection. Yes, all the classic signs were there for a narcissistic man, but I was hooked. Thank God he is the one breaking up, but he always brings me back somehow. I feel I love him very much, but somewhere I think I was just in love with the fact that he was so different then my husband, and rather exciting at times. The only answer I have for any of you is to go to church and join a Sunday school class, or group, and try to listen carefully. I don’t think there is any other way except for God. If he were to call and want me back I might go, so that is the bad part. I put my house up for sale, so will move at least an hour away where my family lives. Somewhere I feel finding someone new would help, but no,no, no. It is time to find something that I enjoy and pour myself into it, not just drinking coffee with friends, but a real passion that maybe I didn’t follow through with after college. Yes, a passion and God. Know your loved by God and stay in contact with your family.
Hey I’ve been with my gf for about 3 years now. And I truly love her I do . but this relationship isnt for me . I wanna get out more knowing I won’t break someone heart. Just do more stuff without the fear of someone getting mad at me or arguing with someone . she wants to get married in April and I don’t want to yet. And I also want my kids to be Muslim just like me but I don’t have the heart to tell her . and I just started having these feelings about her . I love her I do but idk where to go I’m stuck
Ok, so I have been in an on and off relationship with my girl for nearly 8 years and its getting old. Explaining the situation is a very long and hard process. For starters we are high school sweethearts and do love each other. We have had our issues in the past and have been able to work around them one way or another. When we were a bit younger in the start of our relationship I was away with the military doing some training! I had gotten a week off to go see her and I couldn’t have been any happier. I even spent over $500 to get from base to home just to find out she was going to break it off with me! From this point things got worse. I had two of her best friends tell me she had cheated on me and I I had confronted her about it and to this day denies this but acts as if I cheat on her daily! Now when we were about a year into this relationship I had lied to her to go to a party because Iknew she wouldn’t go or want me to go… Very clingy! But my life was anything but still. I was very active and had many friends. When she found out about the party everything changed. Thought I was cheating but in my whole life have never cheated on anyone because its the lowest form of disrespect to a relationship! She has never forgiven me for this! So for the past 6 and a half years she has not trusted me and I have never done anything like this since. I am very loyal and she doesn’t see it . As for today I have lost count of how many times we have split and gotten back together with both of us thinking this time will be different! It never changes, yet I have on so many things!! To this day I have lost all close friends to me because she is sooo clingy and does not want me to go out. This is unfair!! We recently broke up after a solid year and 7 months together. We were seperated for about 6 months and I was good, healed no worries and two friends back in my life. Then out of the blue I get a message from her saying her parents had gotten a divorce! This is a very heart breaking thing as they had moved away and she had only her sister and one best friend. We were and still are the best of friends and so I went over to help her get through this with conversations on anything random to get the divorce out of her head for a while. From there we started a relationship again.. again . As of any relationship the first month or so were great but now it has gone into the same untrusting relationship! The thing is, I need and want to be trusted and its unfair to me that she does this. I come home from work and get questioned on a daily basis about girls on facebook.. do you know this one or that one and its a constant thing.. I get pissed and upset. The thing is… I DO NOT HAVE FACEBOOK!!!! I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore and I have broken it off soo many times before due to this overly obsessed non trusting girl, but feel soo bad because she has no friends anymore because they hate me and don’t want to be involved with it she has her sister and that’s it. I have been an ass to her over the years and I have changed who I am I’m not a happy person anymore, I’m not outgoing like I used to be and I am suffering. I believe I’m making her suffer for the way I have changed due to her insecurities . its not fair to her but also not fair to me either. I’m stuck between crossroads and don’t know what to do!? This article is great Eddie but definitely not for every relationship. Any advice would be great.. and trust me I know she is not all to blame but everything builds up and my biggest issue is trust.. I trust her with all my heart and she can’t do the same.. this has been the end result to all of our breakups !! Please any logical advice would be appreciated thanks.
I’ve been dating this guy for not a very long time and I just don’t feel a connection and he tells me that he loves me, and how much I mean to him and I just don’t feel the same way, and I don’t know how to break up with him I feel like a terrible person and right now honestly I want no boyfriends anytime soon, I don’t know what to do.