Whether you’ve been living together for a decade, dating seriously for a year or seeing each other casually for a few weeks, breaking up with a guy is never easy.
Most relationships start with lots of fun and big hopes for the future, but many aren’t destined for success, especially love hate relationships. In situations where you’ve become completely unhappy together, your values have changed, you’ve met someone new, he’s been cheating, or your feeling done with making things work long-distance, breakups are a necessary evil.
There’s no such thing as a completely pain-free breakup. To be honest, it’s going to stink no matter what.
But, it pays to minimize the drama, embarrassment and awkwardness. You never know when your paths will cross again, especially if you work in the same field, live close to each other or have a set of mutual friends. Making a graceful exit, and breaking up with a guy in a respectful and diplomatic way limits the fallout in the other areas of your life and lets you both move on with dignity.
If you are wondering how to break up with a guy, we have a low-drama formula that puts all the pieces in place for a clean break that let’s everyone keep their self-respect.
BEFORE BREAKING UP WITH A GUY
Before you dive it, get a plan in place. A little thought and work before hand may help things go smoothly in the moment.
1. TAKE TIME TO DECIDE
Once a break up happens, it’s impossible to erase. Even if you get back together later, the relationship is changed forever. Before you worry about how to break up with a guy, take the time you need to make sure it’s what you really want. Make a pro-con list, write things down or just mull it over for a few days. Do whatever you need to do to make a well thought-out decision.
It’s ok to follow your gut, especially when things are clearly wrong in the relationship, but unless there is a real need to rush, it may be a good idea to give yourself time to steady you thoughts and build your resolve.
2. DECIDE HOW TO DO IT
With a few exceptions, most breakups should be done face to face. There’s usually a greater sense of closure with an actual in-person conversation, rather than an email or phone call. However, if it’s just been a few casual dates, a quick phone call avoids making things into a bigger deal than it needs to be. Also, if you have a reason to worry that he will become aggressive or violent, opt for a phone call in order to keep yourself safe.
3. PICK THE PLACE
Setting the stage for the breakup has a lot to do with how the moment will go. Try to select a spot that is semi-public, with just enough privacy to have a real conversation without creating a scene.
Avoid doing it somewhere completely secluded, like your home, to minimize the chance of things getting out of control, loud or even violent. Completely public places, like a crowded restaurant, may make him feel embarrassed. Plus, you want to be able to cut things short and make a quick escape, which you can’t do if you have to stare at each other awkwardly while waiting for the check.
A quiet, semi-public place, like a park, or a library, gives you a chance to talk while also ensuring there are enough people around to make you feel comfortable.
4. SCHEDULE IT
When breaking up with a guy, be considerate of what he has going on in his life and plan around in. Remember, he’s the one being caught off guard and will probably need time to set his life right side up again. Major holidays and birthday are obviously not good choices.
If he has a big project going on at work, an upcoming interview, a big family gather looming or exams on the horizon, try to wait until after. It’ll give him a chance to grieve and recover without destroying the rest of his life in the process.
Once you pick your day, you need a time. Try to opt for the early evening if possibly. Morning and lunchtime breakups may send both of you to the office in no mood to work hard or interact with coworkers. Late night breakups lead to sleepless nights. Getting things over with in the early evening gives you time to have the conversation you need and still leaves time for calling your pals for a support session if you need to.
5. PLAN WHAT YOU’LL SAY
The actual breakup will probably end up being more of a two-sided conversation rather than a speech. But, it’s a good idea to have a general script in mind. Knowing what you need to say may help keep you on track as he starts to react. Remember, the goal is to make things as quick and pain-free as possible, so don’t plan to air a whole list of grievances or give a long-winded address.
You should also be prepared to answer his questions. Try to anticipate the things he will ask, like why this is happening, and have your answers ready to go.
DURING THE BREAK UP
Don’t get derailed into drama. These tips for how to breakup with a guy will let you make the conversation as easy as possible, for both of you.
6. STAY CALM
Breaking up with a guy is almost always an emotional experience, no matter how prepared you are. You’ll probably have anger, sadness, doubt and regret all battling to get out. As much as possible, try to keep them in for the moment. You don’t need to be completely stone-faced and it’s ok to let him see that you are hurting too, but being overly dramatic with sobbing and yelling will probably do more harm than good.
Screaming and yelling only serves to get everyone worked up and turns a clean break into a scene. And if there are enough tears to make you look heartbroken, he my take it as a sign that you aren’t sure about this decision.
7. SAY SOMETHING POSITIVE
If it hasn’t a bad or toxic relationship, the breakup shouldn’t be either. Try to start and end the conversation on positive notes. It may soften the blow to his ego just enough. Start out by saying something you really like about him, like his sense of humor, or how well he treats you.
Be specific, since phrases like, “You’re a great guy,” will sound cliché and fake. Then, bring things to a close by telling him something you gained from the relationship, or just how much you enjoyed the time together.
8. DON’T BE HARSH
You can try to make it through without offering an explanation, but he’ll likely ask for one.
Your goal is to end the relationship, not start a fight, so there’s no reason to be harsh. Instead, give his ego a break by focusing on your wants and needs rather than his flaws. Be honest, but use phrases that start with “I”rather than with “you.”
If he’s always canceling dates and is never around when you need him, saying “I need someone who can spend more time with me,” is a gentle truth. He’ll probably get the underlying reasons without you rubbing it in. It’s also not the time to rehash all your old hurts, so keep the explanation short and to the point.
9. LET HIM SPEAK
Rather than a monologue, breakups are two-sided. In most cases, it’s only fair to give him a chance to speak. Having a chance to get a few things off his chest may help him move on. If he is completely stifled, be may feel the need for repeated conversations when you are trying to get things done in one swoop.
So, let him say his piece, but if it turns into pointless rambling, pleading or incoherent babble, be ready to shut it down. Saying something like, “I hear what you are saying, but we need to move on now,” ends the conversation but may still help him feel validated. If he does spout off some hurtful things, don’t add fuel to the fire by hurling your own insults. Don’t respond, end the conversation and move on.
10. CLOSE THE DOOR
The old cliché of, “Let’s be friends,” may seem like it’s softening the blow, but it may actually be sending mixed messages. If you are resolved to end the relationship and aren’t interested in reconciling and falling back in love, make a clean break.
Be firm with words like, “Our relationship is over.” Ambiguous phrases like, “We need some time apart,” or “Let’s try going our separate ways,” don’t set a clear tone and foster hope that this isn’t a permanent split.
No one wants to breakup over and over, so get it fully done the first time around.
AFTER BREAKING UP WITH HIM
You may have had the talk, but there’s still work to do. Recovering and moving on are crucial parts of the breakup. Skip them and you may find yourself wondering how you ended up with the same guy again.
Skip the post-breakup hookup: Breaking up can make you crave physical affection and that’s why rebound sex is so common. Hitting the sheets one last time seems both comforting and like an excellent way to kiss the relationship goodbye. Unfortunately, it can be misleading and confusing for both of you. Intimacy may weaken your resolve and it may create a fantasy for him that you are getting back together. So do your best to avoid break up sex with him, no matter how much you want it.
Defriend and Unfollow: A decade ago you could break up and never hear from each other again. Now, social media may tie you together. Break the strings by purging him from your friend list. Staying connected on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter let you both obsess over how and what the other is doing and there’s no need to torture yourself or him like that.
Do the stuff swap: If you’ve been together for any length of time, you probably have things at each other’s places. In the best-case scenario, you can write yours off and avoid the hassle. But, you need to at least offer to return his things.
You could try to have things boxed up prior to the break, but in most cases you’ll need to see him again to make the swap. Keep it casual, light and brief. There’s no reason to use this as another chance to delve into the problems that got you here. And, avoid reminiscing about the things you are packing up. Recalling the time you bought that painting together is only going to drag up emotions that can confuse the situation.
No matter how well you think it through, how many plans you put in place or how carefully you consider their feelings, breaking up with a guy is a tough, emotional experience. But, to move on to a brighter future and a new relationship, it has to be done. Hopefully these strategies will help ease a difficult situation.
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