I know – ending a relationship is one of the hardest things to do and good for you for trying to find some nice ways to break up with someone so that you don’t break their heart.
You care for this person but you know there is no future for you as a couple and you don’t want to hurt them when you let them go.
Fortunately, there are kind ways to break up with someone without breaking their heart, at least not completely.
#1 – Don’t disappear.
The WORST way to break up with someone is to ghost them, to disappear without a word. I know that it seems relatively painless, that if you just don’t contact them anymore they will get the picture and move on. Unfortunately, ghosting someone makes it easier on you but it’s definitely not a nice way to break up with someone and not break their heart.
Most of us need to have some idea what has happened in a relationship before we can move on. This is especially true if the break up comes from out of the blue. If our person suddenly disappears, we are left wondering what happened, what we did wrong, how someone could treat us this way and how to move forward.
And this is heartbreaking.
Ghosting someone is good for exactly one person – the person who does the ghosting. The person who does the ghosting doesn’t have to face the person they are breaking up with. They don’t have to explain themselves. They don’t have to see the pain on the other person’s face. So, don’t kid yourself if you think that ghosting someone is the kindest thing to do. It’s not. It will only make things worse.
#2 – Tell the truth.
It is essential that, when we break up with someone, we tell the truth about how we are feeling.
How many times has someone said ‘It’s not about you – it’s about me.’ Or ‘I am just too busy with work to be in a relationship right now.’ Or ‘I need to work on myself before I can love someone.’
These explanations always feel like bullshit to me and I am guessing they do to you too.
When you want to break up with someone without hurting them, it is essential that you are honest with them. Perhaps you can’t verbalize exactly why you are breaking up with them but if they ask you questions, answer them. If you just don’t feel a connection, tell them that. If you like them but aren’t attracted to them, tell them that. If your old girlfriends has reappeared tell them that. Tell them the truth.
I can’t tell you how many of my clients struggle with the reasons they were broken up with. They just don’t believe their person was telling them the truth and they question everything. They often say ‘If he had just told me what happened, I would be able to move on but I just don’t feel like he did.’
A big part of recovering from heartbreak is the ability to move on and not telling the truth will hinder your ex from doing so.
#3 – Be kind.
While I encourage people to be honest when they break up with someone, I also encourage them to not be mean. Honesty is important but if you hurt someone in the process, it won’t help your ex’s broken heart.
Imagine if someone told you that the reason they were breaking up with you was because you didn’t have a job and they couldn’t respect you. That they were embarrassed when they introduced you to their friends and that watching them sleep all day instead of working drove you nuts. While all those things might be true, the delivery is key because doing so unkindly will only cause pain.
How about, instead, you tell them that the importance of ambition is different for the each of you and that you feel that this unevenness was making it hard for you to commit to the relationship. By saying it this way, you aren’t attacking them but talking about your feelings about ambition and how that is getting in the way for you.
By doing this, by delivering your reason for the breakup in a way that reflects your feelings as opposed to their deficiencies, you can soften the blow and break up with someone without breaking their heart.
#4 – Don’t do it slowly.
I have a friend who, when he no longer wants to be with someone, doesn’t tell them straight out. Instead, he stops texting and calling as much, he doesn’t respond regularly when they reach out, he spends time with them but not to the extent that he used to.
He says he does so because he doesn’t hurt them but I would argue it actually easier on him and that this actually hurts them more. Much like pulling off Bandaid, ending a relationship quickly and decisively will help your person recover and move on more quickly.
Another thing that many people do is they yo-yo. They want out but they don’t want to hurt their person and they are worried that they will get bored and lonely, so they have a hard time breaking up with them for good. They break up and then they come back, things are okay for a while and then it all falls apart again. Doing this over and over and over isn’t good for anyone and will definitely lead to heartbreak.
#5 – Don’t move on too quickly.
One of the worst things that can happen is when someone breaks up with you and the next day you see them all over social media with a new partner. Immediately you question everything about yourself and your relationship. You wonder if your person was cheating on you the whole time. You wonder why you weren’t good enough for that person, why they had to go looking for someone else. You assume you have been lied to and you are humiliated and you feel betrayed by your person for flaunting this new person to all of your friends.
Even if you do have someone waiting in the wings, make sure that you leave a respectable amount of time before you bring that person out into the open. Yes, you want the world to know that you are in love but have enough respect for your ex to give them some time to move on and to not disrespect them in the eyes of the world.
I know that you want to find find ways to break up with someone so you don’t break their heart. Having respect for your ex and your relationship is the key to doing this successfully.
It is possible to find nice ways to break up with someone so you don’t break their heart completely.
Of course, every time we are broken up with there is pain but you can control how much pain there is and how quickly your ex can move forward.
It is essential that you don’t just disappear, that you stay and face them. You must be honest with them but also kind. You must end it decisively and you must take care to respect them and not flaunt a new relationship right away.
Breaking up is hard to do but doing it in a way that is respectful and kind will not only help your ex recover more quickly, it will help you feel good about how you ended it and move on without guilt. It is hard not to break someone’s heart when you break up with them but finding kind ways to do so will help their broken heart mend faster.
You can do this!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.