A Guide to Breaking Up: How to Break up With Someone the Right Way

man and woman facing away from each other in water while covering their faces with their hands

If breaking up with someone was easy, I wouldn’t be writing this guide. You want to know how to break up with someone and you came to the right place.

Even if you’re perfectly aware the relationship isn’t the right one for you, you’re still going to experience feelings of sadness and loss. You shared an intimate relationship with someone; there’s no easy way to end things. If you’re thinking about ending your relationship, you want the experience to be as healthy as possible. 

Of course, there’s no perfect breakup and no one-size-fits-all formula, but in this guide, you’re going to learn why some relationships end, how to know when it’s time to break up with someone you love, what a healthy relationship looks like, and finally, how to break up with someone. 

Why Some Relationships Fail vs. Flourish

This is a good question and one that isn’t easily answered. We would all like to know the formula for a successful relationship, but here’s the thing, every relationship is different. As people, we’re all different. What works for some couples may not work for others.

You’ll hear people saying the secret to a happy and healthy relationship is great sex, while other couples have long-term relationships without even having sex. What really makes relationships either work or fail is the emotional closeness you have with your partner.

If you feel disrespected or dismissed in your relationship, this creates a barrier between you and your partner, preventing you from closeness. It’s not necessarily about a couple’s sex life or ability to resolve conflict — those these can help — it’s about the emotional intimacy you share with another person. It’s time to talk about how to breakup with someone.

How to Know When It’s Time to Breakup with Someone you Love

We don’t like to let go. Even if the relationship was extremely unhealthy and abusive, many people struggle with letting go. And it’s completely understandable. Our romantic feelings for someone can be so strong; even when we’re not in a healthy relationship, it can keep up holding on. 

In a 2015 study from the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, they found people who looked at photos of their romantic partners had an increase of dopamine— the chemical associated with a positive feeling of being rewarded. If something is making you “feel” good, then why would you want to let that go?

Sometimes, our brains can trick us into thinking what we’re experiencing is positive, when really, we’re ignoring important signs. So, how do you know when it’s time to break up with someone?  

You feel you have to stay with your partner

If you’re in a long-term relationship, there’s this thought that comes into your head when you think about breaking up with someone. “But I just invested three years of my life with them!” I understand the feeling.

You spent a lot of time with someone, and when you break up with them, you’ll be at square one. But you also need to understand that time doesn’t equal success.

Investing more time into a relationship doesn’t mean it will last forever, especially if both people aren’t working together to improve the relationship. Apart of learning how to break up with someone is understanding you don’t need them to continue living.

Your needs aren’t being met

Everyone has their own set of needs, and it varies from person to person. Some people require more quality time with their partner, while others need functional help like budgeting.

When you feel a need isn’t being met, you should communicate that to your partner. In a healthy relationship, you two will talk about it and try to work it out. But, instead, your needs are either ignored or unspoken of. 

You’re fulfilling your needs from others

Either your partner ignores your needs, or you’re too scared to talk to them about it. Either way, your needs aren’t being met. Over time, you will start to look for someone else to fulfill those needs.

If you’re constantly talking to your friend about your relationship issues rather than your partner, this is a problem. You are looking for emotional or physical fulfillment outside of your relationship. 

You don’t like your partner

This sounds a little weird, right? How can you love someone but not like them? Well, this happens. You love your partner, but as a couple, you’re not able to get through any problems together. You two cannot communicate and work through disagreements. With time, it’s developed resentment and a general dislike towards the other person. 

Your friends and family don’t support your relationship

Of course, there are instances where your friends and family don’t support your relationship for reasons such as sexual orientation or race. But this isn’t what I’m talking about. If your friends and family don’t support the relationship because of your partner’s behavior, that’s a red flag. The people who love you want to see you with someone that makes you happy. 

You’re scared to talk to your partner about the relationship

You need more from the relationship, but you’re too scared to ask it from your partner. And that’s a problem. A healthy relationship allows you to talk to your partner about subjects that aren’t always comfortable. If you feel you need more from your partner and aren’t comfortable telling them, you need to address it. Hiding how you truly feel in a relationship isn’t healthy. 

You’ve been working on the relationship for over a year without success

Let’s say you gave the relationship a year for improvement, which is a decent amount of time to try to make things work. But you do not see any improvement. And this is when you need to ask yourself whether this relationship is going to work. If the relationship has had one year to work on meeting each other’s needs and nothing has been done, you may be wasting your time.  

Your partner is abusive

Many people are in abusive relationships and still love the person who’s abusing them. A 2010 study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that over half of women surveyed saw their abusive partner as “highly dependable” and possessed positive traits like “being affectionate.”

The abuser, over time, has broken down their partner and dissolved their self-worth and self-love. This makes it even harder for people to leave an unhealthy relationship. 

How to Break Up with someone 

It’s never fun, and it’s never easy, whether you’re the dumper or the dumpee. To help you through this, I’m going to walk you through the steps on how to break up with someone as smoothly as possible. 

Before the Breakup

Take the time to think things through

The thought of breaking up with your partner has come to your mind. Now, wait. Even though you may be thinking, yes, this is what I’m going to do when I get home, don’t do it. Breaking up with someone is a big decision and one you shouldn’t take lightly.

If you dislike some things about the relationship, talk about it with your partner and see if you can work it out. Your partner needs to know you’re dissatisfied in the relationship. Regardless, you should sit on and think it through. Let it simmer.

Pick a good location

Not everyone feels comfortable breaking up with their partner in a private setting. Though, I recommend discussing it in a relatively private area where you can have a conversation. If your partner is emotionally or physically abusive, think about doing it in public or over the phone. Your safety is always the number one priority.  

Work out any logistical issues

If you two live together, you’re going to need to plan this out a bit. There’s nothing worse than breaking up with your partner and then sharing the apartment until you find a new place. It’s not comfortable. Try to work those logistical issues out before you end the relationship. 

Get ready for the emotional roller coaster

If you think your partner is the only one who’s going to go through the breakup pains, think again. At the end of the day, even though you want to end things, this is something you spent a lot of personal time with. You’re going to get emotional as well. This is part of the breakup process.

Talk to someone about it

If you’re thinking about breaking up with your partner, talk to a trusted friend or family member about it. That way, you have someone to support you through this period of time and help you process the decision. 

During the Breakup

Be straightforward

If you really care about the person you’re breaking up with, don’t try to sugarcoat the breakup. You should be as straightforward as possible with them and tell them clearly that though this isn’t easy for you, you’ve decided to end the relationship. 

Explain your reasoning

A lot of us struggle with breakups because we don’t necessarily receive the closure we want. To ease the breakup process for your partner, let them know why you’ve chosen to end the relationship. Tell them how you feel.

This doesn’t mean you should point the finger at them and blame them. You can say you feel unappreciated, disconnected, or simply that you want something else out of life. 

Stick to your decision to breakup with them

Your ex can respond in a couple of different ways. They may beg for forgiveness; they may get angry or promise that they’ll do whatever they can to change. You made the decision to end the relationship, so stick with it right now. Here’s what to do if they respond in one of these ways:

They beg you to stay: Your partner is panicking and feeling like their life is crumbling before them. Naturally, they’re going to do whatever it takes to get you back, including begging in front of you. Do not let their begging break you down. You chose to end the relationship; it felt like the right thing for you.

They promise to change: Your partner is promising that they’ll change and do whatever you want to make things work. But these changes should have already been discussed before the breakup. And at that time, they didn’t make any change. Don’t fall into these empty promises.

They become angry: If your partner becomes angry, understand that this is their reaction, and it’s not your fault. Stay calm, and after you’ve said all that you need to say, leave. If they’ve cooled off, you can go back to the conversation; however, if not, give them space. 

They become sad: I don’t think your partner is going to jump from excitement. Of course, they’re going to feel upset. You can be empathetic and console them, but do not go back on your decision.

And more importantly, do not say anything that will give them the false hope of you two reuniting. So, “maybe one day we’ll get back together again” is not the right line. No false hope!


Tell any mutual friends 

If you two share any mutual friends, tell them about the breakup. Let them know so that they can make sure not to invite you two to the same events and avoid bringing you up in conversations. Also, tell your friends and family in general. You’ll need a support system to help you through the breakup process.

Focus on your mental and emotional health

After a breakup, you’re going to experience a roller coaster of emotions. You’ll worry if you made the right decision, you’ll miss them, and feel like you made a mistake. This is all normal. But, during this, make sure you focus on your mental and emotional health. Get enough sleep, eat clean, and spend time around your support system. 

After the breakup, cut all contact with them

If there’s one thing you need to do, it’s cut your ex off. You can let the person know you’re going to take your space, and after that, delete them or mute them from all your social media platforms. It’s time for the no-contact rule. You need time to process the breakup, and it can’t be done if you’re constantly reminded of them. If you really want to know how to break up with someone, this step is crucial.

If you have second thoughts, sit on them

You’re going to go through moments where you second-guess yourself. If you realize you regret the breakup, you can have a conversation about it with your ex. But give yourself at least a couple of months (ideally three months) to go through the initial feelings. You need to make sure this isn’t just because you miss your ex. 

The Take-Away

Breaking up with someone isn’t easy. Even though I’ve laid out the steps for, I can’t do the breaking up for you. This is something you’re going to need to do on your own. What’s important is you’ve thought it out and looked at what’s right for you. 

You’re in control of your story, and if you feel this isn’t the right person for you, it’ll be tough, but it’s the most honest and fair decision you can make. Learning how to break up with someone isn’t easy, but staying in a relationship out of pity or guilt isn’t going to do either of you any good. 


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