How do you break up with someone?

This sounds like an incredibly stupid question, but it seems like there has to be a “right way” to break up with someone. Lately I’ve been somewhat unhappy in my relationship, and questioning whether I want to continue it. My boyfriend is amazing, and we get along great, which makes this decision even harder.

I know my boyfriend is crazy about me, and I know he’s confident in our relationship and probably has no idea that I’m having these thoughts. And I know if I were to break up with him, he would probably be completely blindsided and devastated.

I’m still not sure what I want to do, but if I did break up with him is there any way to prepare him? I feel like it would be cruel to just drop it on him when he’s completely unsuspecting. So do I have a conversation a few weeks prior about how I’m unhappy? Let him know that I’ve been feeling differently about him? My unhappiness isn’t anything that I think he can really change, so I’m not sure if it would just make it worse to upset him and draw it out.

10 thoughts on “How do you break up with someone?

  1. Happy Pants says:

    [I’m not sure there’s any way to prepare someone for a breakup. You could tell him that you’ve been unhappy, or that your feelings have changed, but what will that accomplish? He’ll probably wonder why you’re telling him in the first place, and might get really upset and just break up with you right then and there. You could go an even more passive-aggressive route, and simply act unhappier, so that he might notice it and not be so caught off-guard, but do you really want to be playing around like that when you know you’re just going to break up with him in the end?

    I think you should think it through, long and hard, before you make any decisions. And if you do decide to break up with him, I think you should take time to explain to him what’s been going on, since he probably will be pretty blindsided. A simple, “I’m dumping you, sorry, bye” isn’t going to suffice here. Breakups are always difficult, but I’ve always found they’re more difficult when people aren’t upfront about the reasons and try to tiptoe around the real issues in the relationship.

  2. Eleanor Roosevelt says:

    [I don’t think there’s any “good” way to break up with someone, but I’d say the RIGHT way is by being honest about your feelings. You don’t mention anything here about why you’re unhappy in your relationship, but that your boyfriend is amazing. I agree with HP, think it through and make sure this is what you want – your boyfriend is probably going to be blindsided, and very hurt by your actions seemingly coming out of nowhere. If you can pinpoint what, specifically, is making you unhappy, and you think it’s something that could be fixed, then I think telling him you’ve been unhappy and why, and working on it from there can’t hurt.

  3. theattack says:

    [I don’t know the right answer to this really, but I’ll just tell you my experiences. The last time I broke up with someone, I was in a very similar situation: I was miserable, and he was so happy and oblivious he didn’t notice. I told him I was unhappy, waited a couple of weeks, and then broke up with him. The only thing it did was add an extra conversation to the equation. He was still blind-sided when I broke up with him, and he still wanted to ask a ton of questions about how to fix it. IMO, you should have been telling him you were unhappy with things all along. It just drags it out and makes him upset longer if you create a set-up for the break up now.

  4. resullins says:

    [I agree with Roosevelt (don’t we all, really?). There is no good way to go about this. But I would really decide what the reasons are that you want to break up. How long have you guys been together? Could it just be the dry spell that every relationship goes through? Could it just be boredom that can be fixed with a tiny bit of work on both your parts?

    If it’s nothing that you truly believe can be fixed, you need to just tell him. It’s unfair for both of you to string him along any farther than this. If you really want out, just get out. But be REALLY sure that this isn’t just a trivial relationship slump that you’re going to regret extraditing yourself from tomorrow.

  5. BreckEffect says:

    [I agree completely with Parker (again!). There is no “good” way to break up with someone, his feelings are definitely going to be hurt no matter what. The more you can articulate what exactly has changed for you and reassure him that he didn’t do anything wrong, the more you can mitigate any damage to him that might be caused by the unexpected breakup.

    If you’re really sure this is what you want, then you need to do this cleanly and soon. The worst type of break-up gets dragged out over weeks, months, sometimes years. The best (I’ve been on both sides of this one) is clean and to the point. I’m sorry you’re having to do this, breakup up isn’t fun regardless of which side you’re on.

  6. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [Hate to say it but there really isn’t a right way to break up with someone. It’s all circumstantial and case-by-case. What really matters is how a person decides to handle the situation and go about the “task”.

    Like Happy said above, there really isn’t a way for you to lighten the blow and drawing things out is only going to make things worse. The more you draw it out, the more you have time to possibly begin to believe the relationship is already over. Then he may begin to pick up on these things and either confront you about them or notice them but quietly feel you pushing him further and further away.

    Like you’ve stated, you are unhappy and you don’t believe there is anything he can do about it. If he’s technically powerless over how you are currently feeling, all you’ll really be doing to placing a heavier burden on him because guys are genetically engineered to figure things out and then try and fix them.

    I agree again with Happy in saying that you should make sure this is really what you want. If you then have ultimately decided that you need to end the relationship be sure to it as thoughtfully as possible. Make sure it is during a time the both of you can talk and can be involved in the conversation.

    He will feel like this is a blindside (if he is as in to you as you indicate) so be prepared for a number of different emotions from him. Be straight-to-the-point but be sure to explain how you are feeling and why you feel this is the best decision for now. Don’t be afraid of the cliche, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Be sure to compliment him and let him that he didn’t do anything wrong (if this is the case) and that your feeling have simply changed.

    I know I’ve had my major errors with break-ups before but the ones that went the “best” are those where I was simply honest and straight forward with them…while using tact.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through this situation. Good luck in whatever you ultimately decide on and I hope everything works out for the best (for the both of you).

  7. Shade says:

    [My best advice? Quit being all wishy-washy. First of all, decide what you want. If you can’t decide if you want to break up with him, then no one can give you more than wishy-washy advice!
    You’re not a horrible monster for wanting to break up with him, even if he’s a great guy. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be. Even though it seems like there’s a thousand creeps for every decent guy you meet doesn’t mean that when you meet a good one that he’s right for you and anyone that would try to judge you for it is more naive than a horse with blinders on.
    First of all, decide what you want to do. If you’re going to break up with him, then do so. All the explanations in the world isn’t going to get him to see it the way you do, especially if he’s as oblivious to your unhappiness already! You can’t make him see it your way, no matter how many words you use.
    The best you can do is listen. And I mean REALLY listen. Stand firm on your decision, but don’t offer up reasons. Reasons just give room for argument. Be compassionate. Let him know that you’re hurting because you’re hurting him, but keep your resolve.
    but first and foremost, decide what you want to do beforehand. You’ve got no legs to stand on when you haven’t even planted yourself firmly in the ground.

  8. Solstice says:

    [Agreed with everyone else. Tell him you’re unhappy and see if things can be fixed. But if they can’t, or if you think they can’t, then you probably should break up with him. He may be upset about it, but you don’t want to go on being unhappy. Breaking up with someone is always difficult to do, especially if you still care about the person, which it sounds like you do.

  9. karlos says:

    [I’ve been broken up with completely out of the blue before, I got over it and so will he.

    Relationships are like erections, if you have them for too long they eventually become, very hard to get rid of. So I guess what I’m saying is if it’s not been that long, there won’t be any lasting damage. If it’s any longer you may want to see somebody for advice first.

  10. lilredbmw says:

    [I kind of feel like the whole story isn’t stated here. Why are you unhappy? Are you unhappy with him or unhappy with yourself? If you feel like maybe the relationship could be salvaged, then I would say talk with him and be honest about what it would take to save your relationship. If you honestly feel like you are just over the relationship, then maybe it’s best to just call it a day. But I think it might be worth having a talk with him and seeing if that talk just might do the trick. If it doesn’t, then to be truthful, there is no “great” way to break up with a person. You just need to do it and be kind, but don’t draw it out either. Kind of like a band-aid. Do it quickly and swiftly, so as to avoid any unwanted pain.

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