I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on relationships here.
Obviously if you’ve been in a super long term relationship, you’re probably not going to want to break up with someone suddenly, after a “we need 2 talk” text. It’s going to be an ongoing conversation where you hopefully attempt to work on your relationship first.
But if you’ve been dating someone for a couple months and it’s just not working, read on!
Rejection is never easy – neither being rejected nor doing the rejecting. It can be simple enough if you’re rejecting an advance/a date – “I have a boyfriend” is always an option – but it’s different if you’ve been on a few dates. In a culture where ghosting is growing more and more common, I have found that honestly is usually received as refreshing. If you’ve just been on one or two dates, a simple text will do. If it’s more than that, it at least warrants a phone call. And if you’re actually dating or in a relationship with the person, you should really meet them in person.
But whether you’ve been on a couple dates or in a relationship with someone, and whether or not you meet them in person to do the deed, a lot of the same rules apply:
- Don’t put the blame on yourself. The whole “it’s not you, it’s me” thing can be tiring for both parties. If it’s a lie, it’s even worse – when they see you out next week with another guy, they’re going to see right through the “I just need to be alone right now” BS. Unless that’s actually how you feel – and sometimes even then – don’t say that. It also can lead the person to believe that you will be available later once you work on yourself. Even if you believe that too, it’s unfair to ask them to wait around.
- Don’t put the blame on them (unless they’re a really terrible person or they did something like cheat on you). This will lead to them becoming defensive, putting you on the defense, too. Things are likely to get heated and end messily. Or, they may accept complete blame and profusely apologize, and you may feel manipulated into taking them back. Being rejected is already hard enough, so if you still care for the other person, listing all their character defaults is not going to make it any better.
- Put the focus on your relationship – you don’t need to get specific, but it’s helpful for both of you to give actual reasons it didn’t work. “Our schedules are making it really hard to commit to each other”, or “our ways of showing affection are just too different” or “I realized I’m looking for someone who wants to travel with me and isn’t too tied down” are good reasons. There’s also those times it’s just not working, or you just don’t feel the spark or the romance, and you can say that, too. If you keep the focus on you and them together and not on the fault of either one of you, it makes things much more amicable.
- Respect them enough to give them space after. They’re probably going to be upset, and if this is someone you still really care about, you’ll want to comfort them. You might even want to hold or kiss them, but this isn’t going to be helpful. They need space to stop caring about you in the romantic way they once did, and they probably need to be around friends or have some alone time to process. You can’t be the one to help them through your breakup.
- Lastly, take care of yourself. Just because you’re the one doing the breaking up doesn’t mean you don’t have a little bit of a broken heart. Rely on your friends and try to have some fun – there are plenty of other fish in the sea, and this one relationship not working out is not an indicator that a later one won’t. After all, it only takes one relationship to work out!
What have your experiences in breakups been? Any tips to make it easier?