Why do we usually end up staying in unhappy relationships? Why do we give so much to people who don’t understand that they should give back? Why do we feel the need to justify bad behavior?

If you have asked any of these questions to yourself, you may also be wondering about how to break up with someone.

Heartache is not nearly as destructive as being stuck in a damaging relationship. Heartache can heal while staying in an unhealthy relationship, for whatever reason, can be traumatizing.

Is it Time to Move On?

No one enters a romantic relationship thinking that someday it will end. But, despite our best efforts, we have to face the fact that many relationships will end.

No matter how hard we sometimes want for a relationship to last forever, we may not always get what we need out of it. Moreover, some relationships can be downright damaging, especially if we are faced with problems that can’t be solved.

Even when we try our best to work at a relationship and to meet our partner’s needs, it is sometimes best to part ways.

Preparing Yourself

While being broken up with remains a terrible experience, people sometimes forget that it is also terrible to be the one who initiates the break-up, and to figure out how to do it. Think about it: you did love this person at some point in time and you may still care about them. Seeing someone you hold dear getting hurt can be daunting and now you have to be the one who does the hurting.

Getting Clear On What You Want

The decision of breaking up with someone should not be brought on by something your partner did recently that made you upset. It should be decided after a long-term assessment of the relationship, with compatibility being a key factor to consider.

If you are not completely sure if you want to break up, don’t obsess about the current state of the relationship; give it a little more time and perhaps something will happen to give you the push you needed. You can also think about the reasons why you may want to stay or even talk to your partner about the relationship.

You need to be sure about whether you want to end the relationship before you think about how to break up with someone. Don’t start second-guessing yourself once you have made a decision or you may end up reconsidering the relationship each time something good happens.

Remember, there will always be a reason to stay. Therefore, if you have already considered every possible scenario and still ended up deciding to leave there is no use getting caught up in the cycle.

Once you have made up your mind, move forward with the breakup before irrational thoughts get in your way.

Getting Perspective on Your Relationship

A breakup should not be an “out of the blue” appearance and instead, it needs special consideration.

A good way to gain some perspective into the relationship is to share your concerns with your partner and then to try and work through them together. You may be the one who needs to make a decision and you need to communicate your feelings to your partner even if you think that this may disappoint or hurt them.

Your partner should be included as much as possible if you don’t want them to be surprised by the idea of you wanting to leave them. This can be very confusing and, to be honest, traumatic.

At least consider giving your partner and maybe even yourself a chance to fix things.

Talking It Over With Friends and Family

Breaking up may seem like a very personal issue. But remember that sharing your feelings about a dysfunctional relationship with people whose advice and support you value can help you to get more clarity.

Think about informing a couple of your close friends or family members about the upcoming break up ahead of time so that you will have enough support during your difficult transition.

A support system of people who care about you can be extremely helpful especially in times when you feel alone or lost.

Breaking Up

Even though it may be hard to decide that a relationship has reached its end, research has shown that certain ways of breaking it off with someone are more effective than others.

Moreover, you can learn certain techniques that should help the breakup process proceed smoothly. Here are seven tips on how to break up with someone compassionately.

  1. Say the words, “I Want to Break Up”

Being dumped really hurts and it kind of feels like an insult. Therefore, it would be a good idea to say words like “I think it’s time for us to break up” or “I am breaking up with you” when you begin the conversation.

Also, saying the actual words makes the situation more real and there is no risk for any misunderstandings.

Making a straightforward, direct statement is much like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may sting at first but in the end it is a far more considerate approach.

  1. Be Honest and Open

The most successful break-up conversations convey open and honest reasons why the relationship is no longer fixable.

Don’t point fingers and rather try to communicate your feelings openly. Tell your partner about how you may have been feeling unappreciated, disconnected or unloved or talk about things that may have caused you to drift apart like different core values or the fact that you may want different things out of life.

You also need to be honest about it if you are leaving your partner for someone else, because if they see you with someone else, the shock will be much worse if they didn’t know about it ahead of time.

Express your desire to break up openly and discuss your honest wishes with your partner.

  1. Use “I” Statements

When you have the breakup talk, try to avoid “You” statements as they tend to cast blame and they may cause your partner to become defensive. The danger here is that, by using “You” statements, you begin a cascade of reactionary responses and the conversation ends up becoming a “war of words”.

A much better approach to the problem of how to break up with someone would be to use “I” statements as they make it clear that you are the source of the message. You are, in other words, the owner of the statement and therefore; you are fully responsible for it.

By owning your thoughts and your verbal contributions to the conversation, you may not only take the blame away from the other person, but you may also empower yourself.

  1. Avoid Blame

Avoid blaming your partner or hurting their feelings. Blame just sets the conversation back a few steps seeing as it is more about punishment than about moving forward.

Be cautious of casting all of the blame onto someone else when it is your decision to break-up. Don’t talk about what they did wrong and especially don’t comment negatively on their personality.

Stay focused on the breakup instead of talking about “who’s to blame” because you don’t want the conversation to get side-tracked.

  1. Explain Your Thinking

In a breakup, try to put your feelings into words. Describe your feelings clearly to ensure that the other person accurately understands them.

Your partner may not see certain things in the same light as you do and, therefore, it is extremely important to be clear about how you feel.

Try convincing your partner that the breakup is better for both of you.

Moreover, you could think about emphasizing the fact that you also gained good things from the relationship or you could even consider telling the person that you don’t regret the time spent in your relationship.

  1. Give Them Space For Their Emotions

You may be entirely concerned with how to break up with someone all the while forgetting that they also have emotions and that they will very likely react to your proposal for a breakup.

You need to give your partner some space to work through their emotions and seeing as each person deals differently with different situations you may need to be prepared for the worse.

Accept the fact that they may say things that will hurt you. People tend to react badly when they are on the receiving end of a break-up. Your partner may beg you to stay, get angry, get sad and he/she may even try to bargain with you.

The best thing to do in this situation is to acknowledge that you hear what they are trying to say, even if you do not agree with it. And, most importantly, don’t let their reaction throw you off course; stick to the plan.

  1. Stick With Your Decision

There is always a reason to stay with someone and there is almost never a perfect time to end a relationship. If you keep focusing on all the reasons “not to break up” you will end up in a spiral of uncertainty.

If, after careful consideration, you have decided to break it off with someone, don’t stall. Get it done so that both of you can move on.

This being said, try not to leave on a sour note and try leaving without any hard feelings.

After the Breakup

The period after a break-up is a difficult time. To help you deal with the pain of ending a relationship you need to get support and look after yourself. There is no need to suffer alone.

Lean on Your Support Group

After the break-up, tell your friends and family as soon as you get a chance. It is highly advisable to share the news with your inner circle of trust immediately to prevent yourself from feeling lonely or even from isolating yourself from other people.

Meeting up with your friends and going out rather than sitting at home alone is a must for people who struggle to move on.

If you don’t have time to see your friends or family members face to face, stay connected over the phone or on social media.


It is essential for you to remember to prioritize your health after a break-up. Some of the most important skills for coping with relationship withdrawal are proper sleep, exercise, healthy dieting, and social interaction.

Stay away from alcohol, drugs and other harmful things that may cause you physical damage or even emotional damage. This will all pile up and you may end up in an even worse condition.

Rather focus on keeping your physical health in order so that you can be better equipped to handle your emotional issues.

Plan Your Social Media Approach

Breaking up is hard and, to boot, we are all interconnected through social media. For that reason, you need to have a game plan for your social media.

The best approach would be to allow some time before changing your relationship status so that it doesn’t become too public too soon.

From there most decisions will be entirely up to you. You may want to unfriend your ex-partner to make things easier. You may also think about saving images that remind you of the ended relationship to a flash drive and deleting them from your social media.

Whatever you decide to do, be adult about it and don’t act rationally; you may just regret it.

Move On

There are several reasons why it is hard to break up with someone, but this does not mean that you have to stay in a dysfunctional or damaging relationship.

If you get to the point where your relationship just doesn’t make sense anymore, it is time to let go; it doesn’t matter how much you hate being the one who has to break up with your partner.

By using the strategies for how to break up with someone compassionately, a breakup can be dealt with effectively and without bitter emotions; the healthy way.

Having a hard time even after trying to follow these steps? We have professionals counselors standing by to help on our innovative online platform. Learn more about what we do here.


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-attraction-doctor/201509/4-ways-break-someone-compassionately
  2. https://www.thecut.com/article/how-to-break-up-with-someone.html
  3. https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/how-to-break-up-with-someone-like-an-actual-adult?utm_term=.doQQgxgBJ#.madxL0LRV
  4. https://www.bustle.com/p/how-long-should-you-wait-to-break-up-how-to-figure-out-the-timing-thats-best-for-you-according-to-experts-3017759
  5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-image-professor/201003/the-classy-break-conversational-templates-saying-good-bye
author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings

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