How to Break up With a Guy Nicely

Two Parts:Breaking Up with a Guy NicelyTreating Him After the Breakup

You don't think your relationship will work out, but you still like the guy, or at least want to make it as painless as possible. A mature, honest approach is the best tactic for breaking up. There'll still be heartache, but with luck you'll both avoid long term resentment and anger.

Part 1
Breaking Up with a Guy Nicely

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    Let him know before everyone else does. It's fine to ask a friend or two for advice, but once someone knows you're planning a breakup, it won't stay secret forever. Don't delay once you've made up your mind. You won't earn any nice points if your boyfriend finds out from someone else.
    • Whatever you do, don't have a friend pass on the information for you.
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    Meet in person and in private. Breaking up over text, email, or anything besides a conversation is a terrible idea. Meet in person, and meet somewhere you can talk in private, where he won't be embarrassed by the possibility of strangers overhearing.
    • If you're in a long-distance relationship, call him when he's at home and alone.
    • If you are scared that he might react by physically hurting you, meet in a quiet but public place, such as the corner of a park or a mostly-empty cafe.
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    Start a frank conversation. Yes, it will be painful. No, there aren't any better options. Be as direct and clear as possible, and get to the subject right after the greetings are done. "I'm breaking up with you." or "I need to end our relationship." leaves no room for uncertainty, which helps both of you in the long run.
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    Give actual reasons. He'll almost certainly ask "Why?" and you need to be prepared for this. Don't give false hope by saying you want more free time, or that it's just a bad time in your life. You're breaking up because the relationship isn't working out, and he needs to know that.
    • For example, say "I don't feel a connection with you" or "My feelings for you have faded."
    • If you're unhappy but aren't sure why, say "I'm sorry it's come to this, but I'm unhappy with our relationship and I don't want to drag it out."
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    Don't be brutally honest. You can be clear and direct without insulting him to his face. If he brings up his behavior, personality, or appearance during the conversation, use your judgement to proceed. Most of the time, you should deflect the question by saying "I've already said my reasons." If it's an actual, obvious problem (such as him being unfaithful, or something that's been the topic of frequent arguments), admit that "it doesn't help." Be especially careful around topics that are common sources of male anxiety in many cultures:
    • Physical appearance (avoid saying "I'm not attracted to you")[1]
    • Sexual performance
    • Emotional sensitivity or lack of "machismo"
    • Ability to provide financially
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    Don't discuss blame. It doesn't matter whose "fault" it is that the relationship is ending. If you say it's his, he'll be offended. If you say it's yours, you'll feel guilty or he'll try to convince you you don't need to break up. The best you can hope for is a mutual acceptance that the relationship has ended, without trying to point the finger at each other.
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    Keep the conversation brief and calm. Once he understands that the relationship is over and that you don't resent him, it's time to say goodbye. If the conversation has gone on for thirty minutes, it's time to say goodbye.[2] If he gets angry at you and starts shouting, stay calm and say goodbye. Try not to respond to angry statements, or get dragged into a fight.

Part 2
Treating Him After the Breakup

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    Don't promise a friendship. Becoming friends is a great solution in the long run, but a terrible subject to bring up during the breakup conversation. You both need time to heal, and you can't do that if you're hanging out or if he's constantly trying to turn that "friendship" back into dating. If he asks whether you can become friends, answer "Maybe later, but let's keep our distance for now." You can explore the possibility of a friendship once time has healed some wounds, perhaps after a couple months.
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    Stay conscious of your online messages. For courtesy's sake, hold off on publicizing any dates you go on or relationships you start in the next few weeks. You don't need to keep them secret, but don't post photos on Facebook or other places where your ex will see them.
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    Keep doubts to yourself. It's common to have second thoughts and to miss your ex. Telling him about these doubts can cause a great deal of pain or resentment at being "jerked around." If you need to revisit your decision, give yourself plenty of time to think it over in private.
    • Avoid telling your mutual friends about these doubts, as some of them may relay them on to your ex and tell him to contact you.
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    Avoid gossip. You'll naturally want to vent about the experience, and you can do so in the company of a close, discreet friend. Never spread rumors about your ex or repeat about private conversations and secrets.


  • Consider handing your phone to a friend before you try that therapeutic alcohol, so you can't give in to the temptation to call him.


  • Some couples go on a "last hurrah" date or have "breakup sex," but this will only work if both of you agree on the breakup and are parting amicably.[3] It will just be painful following a serious relationship, or a breakup that he doesn't agree with.
  • Avoid clichéd excuses that are commonly used to avoid stating the real reason. No one wants to hear "It's not you, it's me;" "I love you, but I'm not in love with you;" or "You deserve someone better than me."[4]

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Categories: Breaking Up