How to Break Up With Someone You Care About

No matter how much you care about someone, sometimes it’s better to break up than stay together. These 8 tips on how to break up with someone you care about will help you say good-bye in the least painful way possible.

These tips for breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend will help you say it’s over with less pain and awkwardness – but breaking up is hard to do, no matter how many quips and tips you’re armed with! It hurts to break up with someone, and there’s no getting around that pain.

“Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak; sometimes it means you’re strong enough to let go.” – Unknown

Breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend could be one of the healthiest things you ever do – and your newfound freedom may help you set and achieve new goals in your life!

For more info on ending relationships, read Dump ‘Em: How to Break Up with Anyone from Your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser by Jodyne Speyer.

And, read on for tips on how to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend…

How to Break Up With Someone You Care About

If you’re not sure if you should break up with you boyfriend or girlfriend, read 7 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship.

1. Say good-bye in person, face to face

I know it’s “ugh”, but your partner deserves a face-to-face good-bye, and maybe even a discussion about why the relationship is over. Don’t use email, voicemail, or text messages (or Twitter or Facebook or YouTube) to end a love relationship, even if you’ve only been together a few weeks or months.

2. Choose the “least worst” time and place

Some of the worst times to end relationships are right after family funerals, on New Year’s Eve, at huge public events, and just before birthdays. When you’re figuring out how to say a love relationship is over, you’ll never find the best time and place – but you can choose the least worst ones! Choose a place that’s private, and allows the other person to react without being embarrassed.

3. Practice what you will say when you break up

Before you meet, rehearse the most important things you want to say – but don’t give a totally “canned” performance. Say something like, “I’m sorry to say this, but I just don’t see us going forward together. You deserve to be in a wonderful relationship, but I don’t think I’m the one.” By the way — if you’re ending the relationship because of physical or emotional infidelity, you might be interested in rebuilding trust after a betrayal.

4. Talk about the strengths of the relationship, and of your partner

When you’re having “the talk”, point out his or her positive traits. Share what you liked about your relationship, and what did work. This tip for saying it’s over won’t make everything all right in that moment, but your partner will remember it later and perhaps feel a little better.

5. Don’t blame yourself for wanting out

how to break up with someoneBreaking up with someone you care about doesn’t mean you’re selfish, wrong, or bad. It just means it’s time to move on and close that chapter in your life. You have your reasons for saying good-bye. Don’t let your partner guilt you into staying in the relationship for the wrong reasons.

If you feel guilty that the relation is ending, read Dealing With Guilt After Breaking Up.

6. Recognize how difficult saying good-bye to someone you care about is

Do you feel sad, afraid, awkward, or terrible about saying it’s over? Tell your partner just how hard it is to break up with him or her. Be as honest as possible; say something like, “I don’t know how to say this because it’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but there’s something you need to know.”

7. Give your partner a chance respond

Ending a love relationship can involve anger, tears, bitterness — or no reaction at all! Part of saying “our relationship is over” involves letting your partner share feelings and emotions. Remember that the initial reaction might be awkward (even scary and painful!), but it’ll soon wind down…and you both will be able to talk calmly. Soon, you’ll both be at the “letting go” stage.

Also, be prepared for the possibility that your partner won’t accept the fact that your relationship is over.

8. Show some understanding

If you’ve ever been “dumped”, then you know how bad it feels! Expressing your empathy may help your partner cope with breaking up. You could say something like, “I can understand that you’re angry and hurt. This isn’t the way I wanted our relationship to work out, either. I’m sorry for hurting you.”

Are you worried about how you’ll feel after? Read 7 Ways to Deal With Depression After a Breakup.


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11 thoughts on “How to Break Up With Someone You Care About”

  1. Breaking up with someone you care about may be one of the most difficult things you do in your life, but it could be one of the best things for both you and him/her. Prolonging an unhealthy or unhappy relationship brings more pain than a break up.

  2. Hi Laurie, I really like your article a lot! I think your tips for breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend are really important. I wrote an article with five things that you should keep in mind while breaking up and also why breaking up can feel so hard to do. I think you’d like it! You can check it out and feel free to leave a comment with my article if you like it. I look forward to reading more articles by you.

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen


    Here’s another article that may help you break up with your boyfriend:

    How to Break Up With Someone You Don’t Love Anymore

  4. oh dating i’ve been dating this guy for a few months he’s really sweet but its just not working out anymore somebody please tell me what to say to him

  5. OMG!!! dis is wat he said to me

    “I’m sorry to say this, but I just don’t see us going forward together. You deserve to be in a wonderful relationship, but I don’t think I’m the one.”

  6. I know I may only be in grade 8 but trust me I have had many boyfriends. It is hard when i break up with them but it is bad when they have there arms around me and hug me and say it will be alright when it is that person I have just broken up with. I can’t stand it even if my besties help me through it I breakdown in tears knowing that we cant have each other and my friends know that we still have strongfeelings for each other!!!

  7. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Interesting — I’m surprised that there’s a website dedicated to breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend! Mind you, it seems like there are websites for EVERYTHING these days… :-)

  8. Well I found an interesting and pretty creative break up site. Its called These guys (or gals) really put a lot of thought into this. Though you are delivering bad news, they actually do it in a professional way.

    Check out if you’re thinking about breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. If I was in a bad relationship now I would totally consider it!

  9. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Davika,

    I’m not sure you can break up with your boyfriend without him noticing…and I’m not sure I understand what you mean by that! I think that if you want to break up with him, you need to face up to it and be honest with him. And, the sooner you have “the talk”, the better…because anticipation is often worse than the event itself.

    Read the full article on how to break up with your boyfriend, and rehearse what you’ll say and do in your head…and let me know how it goes!