You feel torn in two. You love this man…but as they say, sometimes love isn’t enough. But you have no clue how to break up with someone you love and you worry that you will burn bridges with this man who, though you care about, you know isn’t right for you.
You may have never ended a relationship before. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a breakup (and I’m sure you have), you may be reluctant to hurt a great guy the way you’ve been hurt in the past.
So what’s the right way to go about breaking up with a man you’ve been in a relationship with?
Good Reasons Why You Might Break Up with Someone You Love
Everyone’s got their own reasons for breaking up, but I wanted to walk through a few common reasons to let you know, if one of these applies to you, that you’re not alone. Your reasons are entirely your own, and you are justified in whatever is telling your heart that it’s over.
Did you know that 57% of men admit to having cheated on a partner? It’s horrifying, I know. But it’s certainly not something you have to put up with in a relationship. If you have evidence that he’s been unfaithful,please don’t think that he will change. There’s a higher likelihood that if he’s cheated once, he’ll do it again.
If a man ever physically harms you, you absolutely need to leave. And it doesn’t have to be tremendous harm, like giving you a black eye or breaking a bone. Even shoving you or even threatening physical harm you is reason enough to get out of that relationship. You should never, ever feel unsafe with someone who supposedly loves you. Ever.
While there’s often more attention given to physical abuse, know that emotional abuse is also unacceptable in a relationship. Whether he puts you down, tries to control you, or simply makes you feel small, this is a situation you have the power to end. There is a man out there who will adore you and never treat you this way.
Sometimes your reason for wanting to leave isn’t traumatic. You might simply not be a good fit together. If you’re supposed to have one person who’s your perfect match, it stands to reason that you might end up in relationships with men who are close, but no cigar.
What You Need to Know About How to Break Up with Someone You Love
The key to learning how to break up with someone you love is to do it mindfully rather than in the heat of the moment. You need to be sure of your decision and approach it in the best possible way, especially if you live with him or have kids together, which will, of course, complicate things.
1. Plan It Out
Breaking up is going to involve a pretty hard conversation with your boyfriend. Consider where the conversation should take place. A busy restaurant probably isn’t the ideal environment. Maybe you can talk to him at your house or in a park. Keep in mind there may be raised voices and even tears, so be mindful of the best place for emotions to flow.
When should you have the conversation? Your anniversary? Don’t be cruel. Plan it for when you know he’ll be able to focus on the conversation with no distractions.
What will you say? It can help to write down some notes on what you want to say beforehand.
If you live together, have a plan for moving out before you break up. Depending on how that conversation goes, you may need somewhere to live immediately after you break up. Can you stay with a friend until you figure things out?
If you’re leaving an abusive relationship, you might even pack a suitcase of a few essentials and store it until you leave. If you have nowhere else to go, check out women’s shelters before the conversation so you can stay safe.
As I said, planning out the breakup is important, but once you decide you’re doing it, do it within the next week, otherwise, you might lose your momentum and stay when you shouldn’t.
2. Be Sure Before You Do It
Yes, you may be frustrated with where your relationship has gone but is there a remedy other than breaking up?
Would therapy help? Have you tried having an open dialogue about your issues?
If the relationship is older than one year, couples’ therapy might be a solution to try before you end things…unless there’s abuse or infidelity.
On the other hand, if you’re waffling out of fear, know that you are strong enough to do this. If you’ve tried time and again to fix things (or he’s unwilling to put in the effort to make things better), realize that you will never change this man, and it’s time to leave.
3. Be Honest (Without Being Unnecessarily Hurtful)
Whatever you do, don’t lie about the reason you’re ending things. He deserves to know why, if only so he can do better in his next relationship.
Have your feelings changed?
Are you unable to accept his toxic behavior?
Is there hope to work things out?
Be clear with him, especially if he’s hoping he can make changes and get you back. If it’s over, it’s over, and you shouldn’t be vague about that, or you’ll hurt him worse.
That being said…there’s a nice way and a not-so-nice way to be honest in this situation. If one of the reasons you’re breaking up is because he eats with his mouth open, telling him that will do nothing positive. Instead, just say, “I just don’t feel like we’re compatible.”
It’s not a lie…but it doesn’t hurt his feelings as much!
4. Try to Minimize Confrontation
In a perfect world, learning how to break up with someone you love would be a breeze. You’d tell him it was over, you’d shake hands amicably, and then you’d go on with your life.
But if you’ve been on either end of a breakup, you know that emotions can run high. Things can get…ugly.
He may be angry when you tell him it’s over. He may—even if you considered him a stoic man who rarely showed emotions—start blubbering like a baby. Be prepared.
If he’s prone to violence, you might have a friend close by to help out if he acts on his rage, or do the breaking up in a public place so you feel safe.
Avoid a finger-pointing session. Even if you fully blame him for what went wrong, listing all his faults angrily now won’t do either of you any good. He won’t be receptive to hearing his flaws, and it will only make the situation worse.
5. Stick to Your Guns
But what if you break up with your boyfriend and then he does a 180 and becomes everything you ever wanted? Should you take him back?
According to a study by Ex Back Permanently, you’ve got about a 50/50 chance of things working out the second time around. Their research showed that among people who broke up:
70.68% did not get back with their ex
14.94% got back together and stayed together
14.38% got back together and then broke up again
There’s no guarantee that getting back together will remedy the problem (you can expect that it will not improve if he cheated or abused you).
Realize that it isn’t fair to him if you break up and then change your mind. Be sure that ending the relationship is what you truly want; don’t do it as a power play to get him to give you what you want.
He may want you back. He may, in fact, do everything in his power to convince you to come back to him. If you’re sure it’s over, don’t give him false hope. And stick to your gut instinct: if you’ve been deliberating over ending things, it’s likely for good reason. Sure, some time away from him (especially if you follow my No Contact Rule) may make you miss him, but realize the unlikelihood that whatever bothered you about him actually changed for the better.
6. Implement the No Contact Rule
I mentioned the No Contact Rule; if you’re unfamiliar with it, it basically says you need to have zero contact with your ex for at least 30 days.
It gives you both time and space to process and heal. If you’re still talking every day, you can’t move on. And you give him hope that he can win you back. It may seem cruel to cut him out, either temporarily or permanently, but trust me: you are doing him a favor in the long run.
Look, learning how to break up with someone you love won’t win you any popularity contests, but it will ensure that you end a relationship with a good conscience. Relationships don’t always work out. That’s no one’s fault. But approaching a breakup carelessly just makes for unnecessary heartache and frustration. If you’ve been broken up with badly, you can appreciate that.
The good news is that ending the wrong relationship makes way for the right one!