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How to Break Up With Someone Without Hurting Them?

No matter how much you like this person, sometimes it's just all over. This article explains how to have a clean, kind and respectful breakup, as well as the valid right reasons for breaking up with someone.. Read more ⇣
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Written By Erica
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I'm Erica. I love to help people in their relationships and spiritual lives. I've been through a lot of ups and downs, and I want to share my insights with you.
How to Break Up With Someone Without Hurting Them?

We’ve each been in a situation where a breakup has just been unavoidable, and it’s getting to the point that you’re hanging on out of desperation with the hope that the relationship will somehow repair itself. 

No matter how much you like the person you are with, sometimes it’s just all over.

I’ve come up with helpful ways how to break up with someone without hurting them.

In this article, you should gain an insight on how to have a clean and kind breakup, as well as the valid reasons for breaking up with someone. 

Reasons to Break Up With Someone

1. They’re not reliable

Think about how often you’ve made plans with your partner, but they had to cancel at the last minute because of a “family emergency” or something “came up at work.” 

If it happens more than twice, that might be a big problem you need to address in your relationship.

If you are constantly waiting for your partner or calling them out on their lack of consistency, then it is time to end things between the two of you. 

It might be their job or something else going on in their life that prevents them from being present and committed to the relationship. 

Still, if they don’t prioritize you and make consistent efforts to make things work, there is no reason for this connection to continue.

2. You have different values and beliefs

It can be hard to compromise when you have different values and beliefs. If you want to get married in a church and your partner is a dedicated atheist, that could be an issue. 

While breaking up with someone over something like this seems silly, these differences will only become more apparent as your relationship develops. 

When the time comes that you do decide to get married, you don’t want to find yourself constantly arguing about your lifestyle choices or even religion.

3. You’re losing who you are

You might be with someone who encourages you to be the best version of yourself, and that’s great. But, there’s a fine line between healthy encouragement and wanting to change your partner.

If you’re losing yourself in the relationship—if it feels like your partner is controlling or manipulating you—then it might not be right for you. A person who doesn’t want to change you is a person who doesn’t really see your value.

4. You can’t forgive them

Forgiving someone for betraying your trust is a choice. You can choose to forgive them, or you can choose not to. 

If not forgiving them is the choice that feels more authentic to you, then it’s likely time to end the relationship. 

This person betrayed your trust in the first place, and if you can’t forgive them, this will always be an issue in the relationship that will destroy it entirely. 

If you are holding onto resentment and anger over their actions, it’s probably best for both of your mental health if you move on from one another.

5. The relationship has gone toxic

You can feel as though you need to walk on eggshells around them or constantly being “tested” to see how much pain and discomfort you’ll accept before losing it. These are signs the relationship has gone toxic.

In a toxic relationship, you don’t recognize yourself anymore. If your hobbies, dreams, and self-identity have gone out the window since meeting this person, it’s time for a change. 

If everything in your life feels like it revolves around them—and if you’ve made some big sacrifices for them but they’re not willing to do the same for you—it’s time to reevaluate whether or not this relationship is truly worth your investment of time and energy.

6. You have baggage you need to heal from

It’s natural for us to want to project our baggage onto our partner. We want them to be the cure for all of our insecurities, but that’s not how life works. 

If you’re looking for someone else to fix your problems, you’ll only end up with a broken relationship and an even more broken heart.

You need to heal yourself before getting into another relationship, as it will only cause more damage if you try and handle your baggage while dating someone new.

7. You’ve both grown in different directions

In a way, relationships are organic and dynamic aspects of our lives that change and grow over time. Sometimes the changes are in different directions, and it makes sense to part ways. 

It’s OK to make different choices or have differing opinions when it comes to life; it’s not a reflection on the other person. If your paths diverge too far, it might be time to part ways.

8. There’s no future

If you’re uncertain about a future with your partner, it’s time to end things. It will be painful in the short term, but life is too short to spend it with someone who doesn’t pay attention to where they’re going. 

If you and your partner are on different pages regarding what your future together looks like, it’s best to go your separate ways now. 

You’ll both be happier in the long run with someone else who shares your vision for life ahead of you.

9. It doesn’t feel right

Have you found yourself thinking that something is wrong in the relationship, but you can’t put a finger on it? Or you’ve tried to talk about it, but haven’t been able to resolve the issue. 

This could be a sign that the relationship simply isn’t for you—the fact that it keeps nagging at you is an indicator that something is deeply wrong. 

Unfortunately, people often try to ignore their feelings because they don’t want to hurt or disappoint someone kind and generous. But if your gut tells you something isn’t right, then listen to it.

How to Break Up With Someone Without Hurting Them?

1. Use a kind conversation starter

If you want to break up with someone in a way that minimizes the drama and pain, you’ll have to avoid some typical breakup starters. 

Don’t start the conversation by saying “we need to talk” or “I have something I need to tell you.” If you start your sentence with these phrases, then what comes next will be even more shocking for the other person. 

Instead, think of a more gentle way of starting the conversation. For example, you could say, “I wanted to clear the air about something that’s been on my mind lately.”

2. Don’t attack them

People tend to lash out during breakups, which only exacerbates an already tense situation. 

It’s so easy to say things you’ll regret later, especially since it’s impossible to predict precisely how the other person will react. 

If you see that your partner is starting to get upset, remind them that breaking up doesn’t mean they’re not valuable or important—it just means that the two of you aren’t compatible. 

Most importantly, don’t match their anger and lash out at them. They will be angry and hurt – let them.

If you’re initiating the breakup, try not to make it more difficult than it has to be. There’s no point in having an overly emotional conversation about why the relationship is ending and what could’ve been done differently. 

Instead, just express objectively what happened (or didn’t happen) and why things aren’t working out.

3. Don’t sugarcoat the breakup, either

This is probably obvious, but in case it’s not – don’t say anything that might make the person you’re breaking up with feel better. In fact, don’t try to make things easier for them at all. 

They will feel bad and hurt and even a little bit angry when you break up with them. It’s okay if they cry and yell at you—you should let them get out all of those emotions. 

Allow them to be sad now, because the more they express their sadness and anger now, the sooner they can move on from those feelings later.

That being said, it’s also important not to give your ex any false hope about a future together. 

Sometimes people who are breaking up try to soften the blow by telling their partner that things will work out in a few months or years. 

But this line of thinking is misguided—it’s just going to leave your partner pining after you when there isn’t any chance of a reunion or reconciliation.

Remember that this break-up is permanent, so don’t paint rosy pictures of what life would be like if you were still together or make promises that you can never keep now that things have changed between the two of you (like “I’ll always be there for you!”).

4. Don’t make any false promises

Now that you’ve thought about what you’re going to say, make sure the narrative you stick to is a true one. It’s not only emotionally dishonest to make false promises, but it’s also an indicator of a lack of integrity. 

Don’t tell them you’ll still be their friend if your heart isn’t really in it. Don’t tell them you’ll call them when they’re settled and ready to talk if there’s no chance of that happening. 

Lastly, don’t tell them that they can count on your support or solidarity at any point if this isn’t the case.

If someone is truly a friend, then it shouldn’t ever feel like work or an obligation to maintain the friendship with them—and if this is how you feel about it, then perhaps the relationship was never meant to last in the first place. 

You’re not responsible for other people’s feelings or happiness, but being honest and avoiding giving false hope are admirable traits in anyone who chooses to break up with a significant other.

5. Apologize for hurting them

Start by apologizing to your partner. Tell them that you are sorry they were hurt, and that you understand how they feel. Acknowledge their sadness or anger, but be careful not to sound patronizing. 

Chances are, they will be very emotional at the start of this discussion—their anger could be directed at you, or it could just be a symptom of the more general emotions they’re feeling in response to the breakup. Be empathetic!

Then explain that you understand why they feel bad and say that sometimes two people just don’t get along. Sometimes, things just don’t work out as well as either party might hope. 

You can also share with them some of the reasons why you no longer want to date them if you think that will help your partner better understand where you’re coming from—but do not do this unless it is done in a respectful and kind way!

6. Break up with them in person

Breaking up with someone in person will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but it’s also one of the most important. 

You owe it to your partner to meet with them in person and talk about why you want to break up. Breaking up via text message or phone call is never okay. 

It sends the message that you care more about your own comfort than your partner’s feelings. 

If you don’t think you can break up with them without hurting their feelings, keep in mind that they will feel pain no matter how tactful or gentle you are. 

Even if they are feeling relief that it’s over, they’ll still be confused and angry at first because they expected to be together longer than this (or forever). 

Be prepared for this possibility and err on the side of kindness when breaking up with someone.

Should You Stay Friends After the Break Up? 

When you break up with someone, one of the first steps to moving on is to cut off all contact with them so that you can heal and move forward. 

If you stay friends with your ex, however, you won’t be able to properly cut ties because you’ll still be in each other’s lives. 

Staying friends will undoubtedly delay your healing process since you’re not actually letting go of that chapter in your life.

You’ll always wonder what might have been. Even if you’ve made the decision to break up and know deep down that it’s the right choice, staying friends with an ex can make it tempting to rekindle the relationship

It might sound like the ideal option. After all, you get to keep a friendship, and nobody gets hurt, right? 

But it prevents both of you from moving forward with your lives. So no, it’s not a good idea to stay friends with your ex.

Conclusion

Breaking up with someone – no matter who initiates it – is difficult for both parties. 

No matter how much you’re tempted to be angry, keep the breakup clean and kind. After all, you’re breaking up with them so between the both of you, they’re more likely to have an outburst of emotions. 

References:

https://www.apa.org/topics/marriage/relationship-breakups

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