Written By: DiveThru Team
Reviewed By: Hannah Fuhlendorf M.A, LPC
Written By: DiveThru Team
Reviewed By: Hannah Fuhlendorf M.A, LPC
Breaking-up is never easy when you really love each other. But sometimes you can just tell it’s not gonna last. Maybe you’ve outgrown the relationship, you’re on different paths with your lives, or you’ve discovered an irreconcilable difference in values. And it’s better to let someone go than hang on to a relationship that is no longer serving either of you! So, if you’ve spent some time thinking that you’ve outgrown the relationship, that’s totally okay! If you’re trying to figure out how to break up with someone you love in the most gentle manner possible, we’ve got a few tips. Sure, it’ll be hard for a little while, but it’ll ultimately be for the best if you’re not happy anymore or don’t see a viable future with them.
Of course, having the actual conversation is a lot easier said than done! And sometimes you just don’t have the right words when the time comes and you’re face-to-face with your partner. We’re here to help you figure out what to do when you’re in that situation.
Knowing when to break up and making that decision is probably the hardest part. What factors make you think this relationship is coming to an end? Are you sure this is what you want? You may even find yourself making a pros and cons list to help you figure out what’s going on in your head. Totally normal in this situation!
The second hardest is figuring out how and when to break up. Is it the right time? Where should you do it? Once you have firmly established that it IS time to break up, there are a few things you’ll wanna be mindful of!
Best case scenario, the break-up is as smooth and painless as possible and there’s no confusion around whether or not you are just “on a break” (looking at you, Ross and Rachel). So, let’s get into some steps you can take to make the process a little easier! Because you can’t make someone else do it for you.
It’s a good idea to sit with this decision for a bit before you do it. Get all of those doubts out of the way so you can think about it clearly. A good trick is to practice mindfulness by viewing yourself as an impartial observer! That way, you can weigh your thoughts without the feelings that are attached to them. For example, there are often a lot of “what ifs” attached when making this decision. So, when a thought like “what if I never find love again?” pops into your head, your detached self can say, yes, you will love again, and right now you are choosing what’s best for you! It also makes you feel more sure when you’re actually going into the conversation so that you won’t be talked out of it.
You should try to break up as soon as possible after you’ve decided that the relationship isn’t for you! Dragging it out will just keep you in a loop of feeling guilty about your thoughts of breaking up with them, and that will show in how you interact. You may seem more distant or hesitant, and your partner will start sensing that something is wrong and come up with scenarios on their own. Rip off that Band-Aid so the pain is short-lived on both sides!
Even though it might be easier to just say goodbye over text or a phone call, it’s confusing af and not very considerate of your partner’s feelings. Showing up and doing it in person will show them that the relationship DID mean a lot to you and that this isn’t just something to scratch off your to-do list that day. Plus, it’s important not to break up with them in a verryyyyy public place. They’ll likely be quite emotional (heck, you will be too) and you don’t want them to feel humiliated. If you can, try to do it somewhere that will be comfortable for both of you, and where both of you can leave easily if you need to.
Once you’ve actually ripped that Band-Aid off, your partner (or ex-partner) will probably have a lot of emotions. It might be beneficial for them if you hear them out and listen with sympathy. They might also have a LOT of questions, like what will you tell your mutual friends? How will you divide any belongings you shared? These are totally fair questions when you’ve been together for a long time!
They may also want to know if they did something wrong or if there’s something they can do to change your mind. You can try to respect these questions, but only to a certain extent before it crosses boundaries. These types of questions are sometimes used in an effort to get you to change your mind about breaking up. Remember that the decision you made before this conversation started is the one you made most objectively.
Let’s take a look back at Ross and Rachel from Friends. Clearly, NO ONE was on the same page about what exactly a “break” means. So, it’s suuuuper important to be very clear about your intentions! If you want the relationship to be over over, make it known. Otherwise, your partner may hold on to the slightest sliver of hope that you may get back together, even though that’s not what you want. So, try to stay away from saying you can still be friends or other clichés like “it’s not you, it’s me.” Be point blank, but not to the point that you’re hurting their feelings by listing everything that’s wrong with them!
Grieving is very important after a relationship ends, especially when you still love them but know this is for the best. Breaking up with someone you love means you’ve had to let go of a big part of your life and that’s a loss that should be acknowledged! The thing is, you’re BOTH grieving right now, and it may be soooo tempting to reach out again and talk it out, but that’s just pouring salt into an open wound.
You go from talking to them every day, to not talking to them at all — and that can be quite difficult to adjust to! But, trust us…we’ve been there and done that and it’s REALLY not the best idea. Keeping in contact will only prolong the grieving process for both parties and can even give the other person false hope of getting back together.
In the end, you’ve lost someone in this break-up too. It can be sooo easy to idealize the whole situation and look back on the good memories thinking they were the best thing that’s ever happened to you. When that happens, you have to remind yourself of the reasons you chose to break-up. You made this decision for a reason and your intuition is usually not wrong. You can indeed “stop” loving someone (for lack of a better word), but it takes time. And you can continue to think of them fondly! Over time, it will get easier.
We hope this article helps you out if you’re currently thinking about breaking up with someone and don’t know how to go about it. It can be a difficult journey but staying in a relationship that is no longer serving either of you is not worth jeopardizing your growth and happiness! Just remember, you are strong and the heartbreak won’t last forever.