Breaking up is hard! If you’re planning to break up with your boyfriend, you may be feeling nervous or unsure. Before having the talk, go over the reasons you want to break up and rehearse what you'll say. When you're ready, do it in person if you can. Be as clear as possible and don't leave things open to interpretation, since this may give him false hope. Try to end with a kind or positive statement before you part ways.
EditChoosing a Time and Place to Break Up
- Break up with him in person. You and your boyfriend have been through a lot together! The best way to respect your relationship and him is to break up face-to-face. If distance is an issue, plan a video call with him instead. If that's not possible, a phone call is the next best option.
- Avoid breaking up through text or instant messenger, which is hurtful and impersonal. Only resort to a letter or email if you have tried to break up before and he changed your mind.
- If you are in an abusive relationship, breaking up over the phone, through email, or with a letter is okay. Your safety is most important.
- Meet him somewhere that's somewhat private. Ask him to go for a walk with you, or meet up with him at a park or somewhere similar. That way, once it's done, you can go your separate ways. If you invite him over to your house, it may get awkward or he may be reluctant to leave.
- If you are unsure of how he’ll react, schedule the meeting in a more public place, like a coffee shop.
- If you're afraid he might have a bad reaction, have a friend come along with you. They can be out of sight, but somewhere in the nearby vicinity, just in case you need them.
- Be considerate when choosing the time of day. Choose a time when both of you can talk in private without distractions. Wait until the end of the day rather than doing it first thing in the morning before he has to face a full day of school or work. If possible, do it on a Friday so that both of you can have the weekend to deal with your feelings privately.
- Don't rush into it or break up with him during a fight. In the heat of an argument, it's easy to say things that you don't mean. Give yourself time to think things over before breaking up with him. You may realize you want to resolve things with him, or your perspective on the situation may change.
- Give yourself a couple days to think things over to be sure breaking up is what you want.
- Don't wait too long or avoid the situation. While it's important to give yourself time to think things over, don't put off the conversation once you're sure it's what you want. Dragging it out will be harder on him in the long-run, or the information may leak out and he ends up hearing the news from someone else.
EditTelling Him How You Feel
- Rehearse what you’ll say beforehand. Go over what you’re planning to say to your boyfriend with someone you trust. Or, you can simply practice by yourself in front of a mirror. Anticipate his reaction and prepare responses based on what you think he’ll say.
- Practicing can help you avoid rambling or saying something you regret.
- Keep in mind that no matter how well you prepare, he still may react differently than you expect.
- Get to the point. Breakups are hard enough as it is. Once the conversation has started, there’s no reason to drag it out any longer than necessary. Let your boyfriend know that you want to have a serious talk. You might start by saying something like:
- “I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something.”
- “I've been thinking about our relationship and I've made a decision."
- State clearly that you want to break up. Be sensitive but firm with him so that there's no room for interpretation. Don't leave things open-ended or give him false hope. It's often best to very literally state that you want to break up. For instance:
- "So, I want to break up."
- "I want to continue being your friend, but I don't want to be your girlfriend/boyfriend anymore."
- "I'm not happy in our relationship."
- Be straightforward about why you want to break up. Don't be vague or beat around the bush. It's best to tell him why your relationship isn't working in an honest and straightforward way. You might say:
- "I'm not ready for a serious boyfriend right now."
- "This doesn't feel right to me anymore. I'm not happy."
- "We argue more than we have fun together."
- "There's someone else."
- Do not lie to make him feel better about himself. "I just don't have time for a relationship right now" is not a good thing to say if there are more pressing issues you broke up for. This can be seen as a way of leading him on. He may keep contacting you in hopes of getting back together.
- Tell him that you're sorry if this hurts. Even though you want to be very clear that you're breaking up with him, it's still best to explain that you're sorry if the situation hurts. Try to put yourself in his shoes and imagine how he might be feeling. You could say:
- "I'm sorry if this hurts to hear."
- "I'm sorry if this hurts you."
- "I know this may be difficult to hear and I'm sorry about that."
- Hear him out. More than likely, your ex will have some remarks after you do the deed. Be respectful and actively listen to what he has to say. Let him say what he needs to, but if he starts to beg or try to get you to change your mind, firmly restate your choice. Then, tell him you think it’s time for you to leave.
- If he becomes rude or violent, say, "I don't feel safe, so I'm leaving." As you're leaving, call a friend and let them know what's happening.
- End the conversation with a kind or positive statement. Wrap things up quickly, but try to end on a positive note. Try so say something that you honestly feel rather than just saying something to be nice or to make a quick getaway. You might say something like:
- "I'll always remember the special times we shared."
- "Whoever you go out with next will be lucky to have someone like you."
- "I know we'll always care about each other."
- "I'm so glad we got to know each other."
- Cut off contact with him. After you’ve parted ways, limit any chances of either of you reaching out. Return any items of his promptly to eliminate any reason to make contact down the road. Then, remove his contact info from your phone and delete him as a “friend” on social media.
- Make sure you make it a clean break. Don’t get sucked into talking with him again to make him feel better. This may convince him that he has a chance of getting back together with you.
- Give him some space. If you would like to remain friends, give him some time before bringing that up or approaching him about it. It's unreasonable to expect that right away, especially if he was blindsided by the breakup. It might also be a good idea to avoid places where he normally hangs out, at least for a while.
- Keep any unavoidable interactions short and sweet. If you and your ex continue to be on speaking terms, you should still tread carefully early on. Too much contact may make him think there's an opportunity to rekindle the romance. Keep any contact brief and to-the-point.
- For instance, if you see him socially in a group, you might say "Hi" and then find a seat near some other friends to limit conversation opportunities.
- Make sure that you do not ask him about his personal life or tell him about yours during any interactions that you have with him.
- Get support from your family and friends. Just because you initiated the breakup doesn't mean you aren't hurting. Spend time with supportive friends and tell them how you're feeling. Vent if you need to! Family members may also serve as a source of support after your breakup.
- For example, you could have a movie night with your best friends. Choose lighthearted or comedy films to keep things upbeat.
- Go to brunch with a parent or sibling. Vent if you need to, or just spend some quality time catching up.
- Change up your routine with new activities and new people. Ending a relationship can leave an empty hole in your everyday life where you once spent so much time with the other person. Switch things up by adding new activities to your schedule and doing a few things differently.
- For instance, if you used to walk to class with your boyfriend, you might start walking with a new group of friends.
- Try joining a club or organization. Check out new restaurants or parks. Fill your calendar with exciting activities and social events.
- Spend more time on your hobbies, or start a new one that has always interested you. For example, you could take a cooking class, join a recreational sport, or audition for a play.
- Give yourself time before dating again. After a breakup, you'll want to give yourself time to grieve the relationship before moving on to a new one. Use this time to practice self-care, evaluate what went wrong in the previous relationship, and prepare yourself to get back out there. Dating too soon could be unfair to the new person, if you haven't fully healed.
- You are ready to date again when you can calmly and realistically discuss your ex and the old relationship and take ownership for your role in its end.
EditSources and Citations
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