There is no easy way to say “I don’t love you anymore” – but there are kind, gentle ways to break up with someone you once loved. These seven suggestions will help you be honest and compassionate with someone you don’t love the way you used to.
“When my boyfriend stopped calling and texting me, I realized to my surprise that I really didn’t care about him that much,” said JoJo on 5 Things to Do When Your Boyfriend Stops Texting You. “He was more like a habit in my life, not really someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. So when he stopped contacting me as much as he used to I was hurt at first, but then I was relieved. I had to figure out how to break up with him because I realized I didn’t love him anymore. I think he realized he didn’t love me anymore either, but he didn’t know how to break up with me. We need more articles about how to break up without ruining somebody’s life or self-esteem.”
It’s true. We need more help, information, and articles on breaking up and letting go of relationships with love, kindness, and compassion. It’s also important to remember that a breakup hurts deeply – especially if you tell your partner that you don’t love them anymore. You can’t avoid hurting the person you’re leaving.
It helps when the person you no longer love is aware of the relationship problems. It’ll still be painful to break up – and you’ll both grieve your loss – but you know deep down that it’s better to let go.
But just because you know it’s right doesn’t mean it’ll be easy.
How to Break Up With Someone You Once Loved
There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.
1. Face your guilty or “bad” feelings for wanting to break up
Sometimes we stay in dead, unhealthy, or even abusive relationships long after we know we should leave. Why? For a million different reasons! One big one is that we feel bad or guilty after “abandoning” a man we once loved. Women often feel the need to take care of people – including men – and the last thing we want to do is hurt them. We forget that we’re actually hurting them more if we stay in a relationship out of obligation or guilt.
There is nothing bad or selfish about wanting to break up with someone you no longer love. It feels terrible, but it’s not wrong. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or self-loathing, and don’t second-guess your decision to end the relationship. Your time together has come to an end.
2. Accept that there’s no easy way to break up
The truth is that there isn’t much you can do to ease the pain of being broken up with. It hurts to be rejected, no matter the reason for the breakup. And it’s hard to let go of a relationship – especially if it’s your first love – especially when you once loved him. You gave your heart, mind, soul and body to him…and ending that relationship isn’t easy. Even when you know it’s right, it’s hard to break up with someone you once loved.
So, the first thing to do is acknowledge and accept that this is a hard thing to do. Do you feel sad, afraid, awkward, or terrible about saying it’s over? Be honest with the person you’re breaking up with. “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.”
3. Have the courage to say good-bye face to face
The person you’re breaking up with deserves a face-to-face good-bye, and maybe even a discussion about why the relationship is over. Closure is so important, for both you and your boyfriend. 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.
Both breaking up with someone and being broken up with hurts, but in different ways. If you’re stuck in a love relationship because you’re scared or reluctant to break up, you have to on’t stay in a relationship longer than necessary. You’re just prolonging the pain for both you and your boyfriend.
Read How to Break Up With Anyone: Letting Go of Friends, Family, and Everyone In-Between if you’re scared or anxious about breaking up. Don’t resort to a text or email message – and don’t just ignore your ex! Get help if you have no idea how to break up with someone you no longer love.
In this book, relationship expert Jamye Waxman offers the perfect guide to every step of a breakup with someone you don’t love. She focuses on non-romantic breakups, but her tips will help anyone end any type of relationship. She provides strategies for disengaging from a friend, family member, community, or even former version of oneself.
4. Choose the time and place thoughtfully
Some of the worst times to break up with someone you love are before Valentine’s Day, after family funerals, on New Year’s Eve, at huge public events, and just before or after birthdays. Of course there’s never the perfect time or place to break up, but some times are certainly better than others.
Since you’re the one initiating the breakup, you have the advantage of already disconnecting from him. You’ve already started pulling away emotionally and physically; your ex may have some catching up to do. He’ll feel shocked, confused, and heartbroken. He won’t understand how you can be so cold and heartless – but you’re not! You’ve just already started to move on in your heart, mind, and soul.
To learn more about the psychological and emotional experience of thinking about how to break up with someone you no longer love, read 6 Things You Need to Know About Uncoupling After a Breakup.
5. Start “the talk” on a positive note
What do you love, appreciate, or respect about the person you’re breaking up with? What parts of the relationship worked well? This won’t take away all the pain of the breakup, but your partner will remember it later and perhaps feel a little better.
Chances are, the person you’re breaking up with will play back your conversation in his head later — and this is why it’s important to give him positive feedback.
The longer you stay in a relationship that’s unhealthy or bad for you, the harder it is to break up with someone you once loved. If you’re involved in an affair, read How to Break Up With a Married Man and Heal Your Heart. You might find it particularly helpful to read through the comments, because you’ll meet many women who wish they would’ve broken up with their affair partners long ago.
6. Be honest about why you’re breaking up
This is the hardest part of breaking up with someone, even if you don’t love them anymore. Being honest takes courage and tact, but it’s the best “breakup gift” you can give. Before you sit down and talk, take time to plan what you’ll say and how you’ll say it. Don’t put off this discussion – and don’t put off your planning and preparation for the break up talk! The longer you avoid it, the harder the breakup will be.
Think about the reasons you want to leave the relationship, your partner’s personality traits, and how much control he has over the issue. One of the best ways to focus on the good parts of your relationship is to write a “relationship obituary” or legacy. Focusing on the good memories and the love you shared can help you say goodbye. It may even help you break up with someone you love without breaking his heart.
Don’t clutch the past so tightly to your chest that your arms are too full to embrace the present.
7. Let your boyfriend share his thoughts and feelings
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.
It’s important to end “the talk” with words such as, “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.” Remember that the person you’ve broken up with is confused, hurt, shocked, and possibly angry. Allow him to say what he needs to — and don’t allow his perspective of you or your relationship to affect how you feel about yourself. He’s hurt, and he may say things he doesn’t mean.
Help Letting Go of Someone You Love
I wrote How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets and Practical for Healing Your Heart to help you cope with the loss of a relationship. It hurts to let go of someone you love – even if you’re not “in love” anymore. The pain of breaking up affects every part of your life: your daily routine, work, family relationships, friends, hopes and dreams for your future, and even your financial plans.
To write this ebook, I interviewed life coaches, counselors, and grief coaches on letting go. I know how shocking, confusing, and heart-wrenching it is to let go of a relationship! It’s devastating – and it changes how you see yourself. Learning how to let go of someone you love is about rediscovering who you were created to be.
For more breakup help, read How Do You Accept a Breakup You Didn’t Want?