Breaking Up: The Nice Way

Probably the only thing worse than being dumped is being the person about to do the dumping. If you’re the one breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, there’s the guilt, the indecision, AND you have to figure out when, where, and how to pull the trigger. A question I hear all the time is: “What’s a nice way to break up with someone?”

Honestly, the majority of the time break ups aren’t nice, and I’m not going to lie to you and say there’s something you can do to make everything go really smoothly. That being said, there is a lot that you can do to make your break up fair. And at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can ask for. If you are thinking of getting out of a relationship, keep these things in mind:

  1. It’s Worse to Stay With Someone You Don’t Like.  On the outside it may seem like you’re doing the “nice” thing by staying with someone you’re just not that into. But really, that’s one of the worst things you can do. Some advice my dad gave me recently: “everyone deserves to be with someone they adore, and to be adored by the someone they’re with.” You deserve to find someone you really like, but more than that, the guy or girl you’re with deserves to be with someone who really likes them. And if that’s not you, you’re not doing them any favors by sticking around.
  2. Don’t make your partner do your dirty work.  I remember my first few boyfriends were big fans of this move: “I’ll just be a jerk, so she’ll dump me.”  And you guessed it, that move was super lame. Although tempting, it’s not fair to just stop calling someone, make excuses to not see someone, or just generally be rude or standoffish because you aren’t happy in your relationship. Don’t try to make yourself so hard to deal with that your partner has to dump you. If you want to end a relationship, grow a pair and do it yourself.
  3. When you do it, be honest (ish).  Anyone you’ve been dating deserves a certain amount of truth about why you’re breaking up with them. This is not to say that you can’t sugarcoat it a little bit (you don’t always have to be brutally honest), but don’t feel like you have to fall back on excuses like “I just want to spend more time with my friends” if the real reason is “I just don’t feel the same way about you that I used to.”
  4. Initially your ex may hate you, but that’s okay.  Be prepared for the fact that initially your ex may be upset and not want to talk to you. That’s okay, and that’s totally normal. If they need space, give them space. If you give them time to be mad at you, get over you, and heal, it’s WAY more likely that you’ll have a chance of being friends with them in the long run.
  5. I promise, eventually you’ll be fine.  When you end a relationship, even if you’re the one who wanted to end it, it can feel like a giant sinking hole in your stomach mixed with the worse barf flu you’ve ever had. But even though at the time it feels like you’ll never feel whole again, you will. Trust me. As someone who has been through many a break up, it does get better—cliché as it sounds, it just takes time.  

Most of all though, don’t feel guilty. People get into relationships knowing that they might end. The possibility that things won’t work out is clear from the very beginning, so when you start dating, they know what they’re signing up for. So don’t feel bad about having to break up with someone. Feel bad about going about it the wrong way. Being fair and honest with your partner, and doing your best to give them whatever closure they need, is all anyone can ask for out of a break up.


Amber Madison has been writing about sex, love, and relationships since college (she went to Tufts University) when she wrote for her school newspaper's sex ed column. Since graduating, she's published two books: Hooking Up: A Girl's All-Out Guide to Sex and Sexuality and Talking Sex With Your Kids and has been quoted in a ton of different media outlets from Seventeen magazine to MTV to NPR. Have a question for Amber? Send us an email!


 

WHAT OTHER TEENS ARE SAYING:

ON MARCH 20, 2015 AT 12:58 AM, GUNNAR SAID:

My girlfriend is nice and loves me and I love her but at the same time I wanna break up with her and she wanted me to kiss her for the first time today and I didn't kiss her I need to know if you think she would be mad and what I should do

ON MARCH 16, 2015 AT 9:50 PM, CAMRYN SAID:

Im dating this guy but i like his bestfriend and i dont want to tell him that because he will hate me forever so this is just what i was looking for

ON MARCH 4, 2015 AT 1:02 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm thinking of breaking up with my current boyfriend because my grades are terrible.. I want to do it gently so I looked for something like this.. This really helped! I really hope he doesn't hate me forever though..

ON MARCH 2, 2015 AT 11:15 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I only said yes to this guy because of pressure! Someone said we were cute together and then I decided I wanted a boyfriend, but if what we have is a relationship then I don't want it... Thanks for making it easier for me!

ON FEBRUARY 25, 2015 AT 10:28 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

We have been dating but only like 3 weeks now an he took me to the school dance and im grateful for that but im just not that into him????

ON FEBRUARY 25, 2015 AT 12:00 AM, ALO J SAID:

I love him but I don't know if he loves me because he sometimes stares at me and I don't know he is beautiful I love himmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

ON FEBRUARY 24, 2015 AT 11:59 PM, ALO J SAID:

Well I just was texting a friend form mine from church and we started to talk and everything and then he tell me that he wants to ask me something and I really wanted to know and he said he wanted to go out with me and I told him that I never had a bf and don't know how to act like a girlfriend which is true and then he said he will teach me but I regret saying yes because I feel that if one day one of us break up we wont be friends an=gain and that friendship will get lost for ever.

ON FEBRUARY 22, 2015 AT 10:46 PM, BRITNEE SAID:

He's just not my type

ON FEBRUARY 20, 2015 AT 12:34 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

My boyfriend broke up with me 2 days ago and he still texts me all the time saying he still likes me and that im really pretty (were both 13) lol

ON FEBRUARY 5, 2015 AT 6:43 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Thank you for this article! I've been dating this guy that I broke up with a year ago and we got back together, and I want be break up AGAIN. It makes feel like the hugest b**ch in the whole entire workd. This helped

ON JANUARY 24, 2015 AT 2:14 PM, JENNIFER SAID:

Wow this helped me grow up. Now I don't feel so bad about doing it.

ON JANUARY 22, 2015 AT 5:35 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I been with my boyfriend for 5 months and I love him to death but I don't think we are ment to be and it's best I'd we break up.. I scared to break up with him because I know what his reaction is gonna be. He's gonna cry. I don't know how to break up with him.

ON JANUARY 13, 2015 AT 6:33 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

How do you break up with someone when u think that they love you?

ON DECEMBER 30, 2014 AT 4:41 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I have been dating my girlfriend for 6 months and 3 weeks and 6 days and at times i just feel like ending it because i have my eye on someone else i really like my girlfriend and i really like the oy i want to be with but its difficult my girlfriend's ex boyfriend. Has a cousin and his cousin started kiking me and i talk to him now but when i break up with my girlfriend i dont want her to think tht i broke up with her to be with someone else its because i dont feel right with her its like we argue all the time we hardly even kiss we have never had sex we just are fading away shes finding interest in other girks and boys and so am i what should i do help me plzz

ON DECEMBER 18, 2014 AT 5:02 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

so that made sense but lets say he has fallen madly in love with you and you love someone else, your heart tells you one thing and your brain tells you another? what am i supposed to be doing?!?

ON DECEMBER 8, 2014 AT 10:52 PM, ZOE R. SAID:

ugh having to dump my bf is horrible especially what his actions are going to be the nxt day

ON DECEMBER 4, 2014 AT 2:04 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I've been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half and to him i'm the greatest thing ever. He is super sensitive and never sticks up for himself but whenever i try to break up with him he tells me no. He is convinced that we are meant to be together and that we will be able to fix it. the problem is, there is nothing to fix i just don't like him anymore, plus i like this other guy that i work with. i know i need to break up with him i just don't know how to get the words out because he really is a great guy and he treats me better than anyone else ever has, I just don't feel anything for him and i only said yes to dating him because he is a safe choice. Besides all of this, i'm going off to college next year but he will be a senior in high school still and i won't have any time to talk to him and i won't be around to see him. A guy like him deserves someone who puts in just as much effort as he does, i just don't know how to convince him of that.

ON NOVEMBER 26, 2014 AT 1:39 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I really like this guy we started dating about three weeks ago but I saw him huging a girl but he hug me as a friend but hug her more than a friend and I also saw him sitting on her twice. Should I be worried?And in my case he acts like he don't want to talk to me and don't want to be around me and he look as if he don't care about me. Dose this means I have t break up with him? I also really like , but everyone thinks I should be with someone better?What should I do?

ON NOVEMBER 21, 2014 AT 11:28 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

My boyfriend doesn't talk to me the way he talks to his friends. His all bubbly around them, but when his around me his quiet and he always wants me to talk

ON NOVEMBER 20, 2014 AT 6:28 PM, ANONYMOUSLY DISTRESSED SAID:

I want to break up with my bf but he is just a "fragile" guy an it's so hard cuz I'm not cold hearted I still care for him I just need me time I like to be alone most of the time and he deserves someone who gives him their all and right now that's not me but telling him that isn't easy he thinks I'm the greatest thing and I know he's heartbroken even though we're not technically broken up

ON NOVEMBER 10, 2014 AT 3:40 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I don't feel the Same way I used to with him but he is realy sweet so I don't know if I want to break up with him. This is really hard on me and is the only thing I thing about. We have been dating for a month and my best friend says that she knows me better than him and that truly deep down I don't like him anymore. I'm only 12 what do I do

ON NOVEMBER 9, 2014 AT 11:21 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

im 13 and I started dating someone and we've gone out for 4 months but I don't think I'm quite ready for a relationship but he is really sweet and nice and everything so I just don't want to hurt him.

ON OCTOBER 27, 2014 AT 11:39 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

This was very useful thanks

ON OCTOBER 19, 2014 AT 2:31 PM, STEPHANIE SAID:

Hey, I'm 12 and Ive been datiing HIM for 5 months and I want to break up without breaking his heart. His a dear but im just not ready for such a seirous relationship.

ON OCTOBER 15, 2014 AT 6:53 PM, KITTY MILLER SAID:

Thanks u helped so much

ON OCTOBER 5, 2014 AT 5:29 AM, CYANNI SAID:

So we have been dating for a year and 5 months and I'm still not ready for sex but yet I think he doesn't care because he's still messing with his ex...I'm 16 by the way but I ask him all time is he but he just gets made and storms out...I don't feel the connection we once had its like its not there anymore... and to top it off he hit me but I don't know what to do..I tell my mom everything but I just don't know what to do in this situation... my parents over him but its breaking my heart to stay in this relationship... what should I do

ON OCTOBER 2, 2014 AT 9:32 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I really hope this helps me too. I've been stuck with mine for about 4 years and I'm sick of him

ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 AT 3:01 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I'm afraid they won't want to be my friend

ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 AT 3:08 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

This is honestly probably going to help me a lot. I started dating a guy at my school, and I thought I had a crush on him. It's been a week, and I now realize I really can't see us going anywhere in the future. Thanks for writing this article, this really will help.

ON SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 AT 11:46 PM, BRANDY SAID:

Me and my boyfriend have been dating for a year and a half now, but he is ignoring me and pretending I don't exist. I want to break up with him but I don't know how.I'm only 10.Plus I like this other guy, his best friend, and he likes me. So I know that if I'm noticing somebody else that I should probaly be with somebody else.I just don't want to hurt him,because he's really sweet and nice,but it's just not working out! Help?

ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2014 AT 3:14 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I want to break up with him I just cant stand to hurt him I feel like he would never do this to me but he makes promises to make this work and he never does ik nobody really anwsers these ...I just..I cant do this anymore I cant stay with him and be miserouble but I cant hurt him it will kill me and I have nothing and nobody to help me :'(

ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 AT 5:17 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Me and my bf started dating last year right before school ended and we didn't talk to each other for the summer... Well school is back on and I keep asking him if we are still dating and he will say I don't know then walk away. I don't even have his number and he is ignoring me,.. But I'm only 11... Help

ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 AT 3:07 PM, BRIDGIT SAID:

This really helped looks like i have 2 end my relationship with my boyfriend

ON JULY 19, 2014 AT 12:35 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Well I've been dating my bf for around a year or so & I just don't feel the same way for him as I did before . I don't wanna break his heart he's a sweetheart. Which is why I'm scared to break up with him . advice or examples on how I should tell him in a nice way??????

ON JULY 16, 2014 AT 4:08 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

How can this help BY breaking up with him

ON JULY 2, 2014 AT 11:37 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

So me and my boyfriend have been dating for almost two months and I'm moving to Florida in less than a week. He knows I'm moving, but he doesn't know that I'm going to break up with him. It hurts me inside because I feel like I'm going to break his heart. I wanna do long distance, buts it's going to be so hard not seeing, hugging, and kissing him. I'm just so confused.

ON JULY 2, 2014 AT 1:54 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Sometimes my bf acts all tough and makes it complicated for us to communicate a lot often. Worst part of it is he often doesn't know what to say next while talking on the phone. I am sick of it. I wish to dump him but I just don't have the heart to do it.
Any Advice?

ON JULY 2, 2014 AT 1:46 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Hey, umm so I'm 13 in 8 grade and I like this guy like I'm crazy for him but then we start to date when the school year is bot and now it's sorta weird between us I mean we haven't rely seen each other since last day of school and we barley talk
So one day he says I have a surprise for u I'm gonna kiss you but I'm not rely for that...
He also says how much he loves me but I don't think I feel the same way anymore but my BFF tells me I should still date him because it's worth it

She says that because on the 2nd to last day of school he slapped my ass and I was happy that I started to date him but now I don't really feel the connection that we had so can someone please help me figure this out???

ON JULY 2, 2014 AT 1:39 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I want to break up with this boy because we never saw each other since the last day of school and we haven't been really talking to one another
I really don't know what to do

ON JUNE 23, 2014 AT 2:54 PM, LUNARIAN SAID:

I've had a boyfriend for only a week, and he's flirting with other guys on fb on a photo I was tagged in! Then my friend confronted him, he said that guy was his best friend... Idk how I'm going to break up with him, it's true he's hurt me enough but I don't want to make him hate me.

ON JUNE 21, 2014 AT 1:36 AM, ERIN SAID:

I went to the beach the other day and a few hours after I got home I was on skype with my boyfriend and he told me he wanted me to be honest with him and asked if I saw anyone hotter than him and I jokingly told him yes. So he took it seriously and got really mad and ended up ignoring me for 5-10 mins then listed off four girls he thinks are hotter than me, so i've been ignoring him. He's been sending me really sweet texts about how he loves me and stuff but I haven't answered them. I don't want to be in a relationship where i'm mentally and emotionally abused. He sent me a text asking if I wanted to break up and I really don't know what to say. Help?

ON JUNE 17, 2014 AT 11:19 AM, KARABO MKHWANAZI SAID:

I think breaking up with your partner is not a bad thing coz every has aright of what he want and what he doesnt want

ON JUNE 14, 2014 AT 8:27 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

im 14 and have been with my boyfriend for 4 months and i dont feel in love with him! he loves me so much though and he says it all the time! Do i break up through text? im aftaid of how his friends will react and will i get bullied at school? please help me..

ON JUNE 1, 2014 AT 5:00 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I just feel really bad about having to break up with them. Is it OK to ask my friend to break up with them for me or do I just need to grow up and talk to them myself?

ON MAY 31, 2014 AT 9:11 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

How do i break up with him? he says he still has true feelings for me and hes going with someone else. i got feelings for him too but i dont need people holding me back what should i do?

ON MAY 25, 2014 AT 2:24 PM, TIMOTHY SAID:

So, im a guy and i am the "Nice guy" and our school.. I'm dating this gurl i don't like her (Like as a girl friend) and i think we would to better as just friends. help pls?

ON MAY 21, 2014 AT 2:35 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I need some help. Big time. I love the guy but its not the same. I have been with this guy for two years and three months. We have been fighting non stop here recently he makes me happy one second and miserable the next. please help me! Im in love with my best friend of 5 years and he is everything i could possibly want even though Im 19 and he is 28. the guy im with is like connected to me or something I really dont want to hurt him because i still love him. I have changed and the girl I used to be still loves him. What should I do?

ON MAY 18, 2014 AT 8:21 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I really need help breaking up with this guy but I'm afraid he will commit self harm

ON MAY 14, 2014 AT 1:09 AM, GRACE SAID:

Hi I really need help here!! SO there is this guy named Micheil and we have been dating for 5 months and I really cared about him ALOT in the beginning but the more I think about it I just don't talk to him, I'll see him in the hallways and he will wave and thats all I get NOTHING ELSE! But he asked me to prom and I said yes I'd go with him and so I am gonna go but I don't think our relationship is gonna work out much after that... Plus I have just been interested in other guys that are interested in me and I figured well if I'm looking at other guys theres not much of a relationship here... Any advice would help me out please and thank you <3

ON MAY 8, 2014 AT 12:05 AM, SAM SAID:

I've been in a committed relationship for about a year and a half now with my girlfriend, things just aren't quite the same on my end, I think I'm falling out of love with her, or have been for quite some time. Promises were made that I couldn't and can't keep, I just need help from someone please. Anything at this point will help.

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