The Right Way to Break Up With Your Partner When You Know It’s Over

Ending a relationship is tough. However, there often comes a point in the relationship where no matter how hard you try, it’s just not working and the relationship isn’t worth saving. If it’s not worth holding on, you’ll have to figure out a way to gently break up with your partner.

“A lot of times these are just love’s growing pains that we all must go through in life. For some, they are nothing more than our being used to being together. More like a habit than real love,” said Connor Allen in Relationship Advice: How to Break Up with Someone.

But how do you break things off without doing harm? Here’s how to part ways gracefully.

1. Don’t be a jerk

Disagreement, couple fighting

A man breaking up with his partner |

It might be tempting to try to avoid breaking up with someone by treating them so badly that he or she has to be the one to initiate the break-up. However, this approach is immature. Don’t hurt someone just to let yourself off the hook and come out looking like the “good guy.” Try your best to be civil.

“So whether you use the ‘rip it off fast’ or ‘take it slow and easy’ approach, the real trick is to acknowledge that it is a painful process. And to try to do it in a way that allows you and your partner to heal as easily and as healthily as possible,” writes psychotherapist F. Diane Barth.

2. Meet in person

a couple talking

A couple breaking up |

You may want to take the easy way out, but that is not the way to handle things. The best way to break it off is face-to-face. Just get over your nerves and bite the bullet. The only time this isn’t recommended is if you’re in a situation where your partner poses a physical threat to you. Breaking up in person will give you time to discuss the reason for the break-up and hopefully help provide some closure. Provided that you are in no immediate danger, it’s best not to break up in a location that is too public, such as a crowded restaurant. Emotions will be running high, so having a meltdown in front of a roomful of strangers will just make the news sting a whole lot more.

3. Don’t let tech do your dirty work

a man texting on his phone

A man texting |

When we say you should break up face-to-face, we don’t mean FaceTime or Skype. Whatever you do, don’t break up with your partner through video chat, social media, or text. This is the worst way you can let someone know you don’t want to be with them.

“It’s the lowest and laziest form of communication. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone because typing letters wasn’t efficient enough. Now over one hundred years later — when we have cell phones and Internet in the palms of our hands — people find it necessary to revert back to the 1800s and type a message … A text breakup casts a nasty shadow on the entire relationship — as if to say it was never that important anyway,” writes etiquette expert Richie Frieman.