Even if you both know it's the right thing, even if it's been coming for a while, going through a breakup or ending things with someone you're dating can be totally overwhelming — which is why it's easy to avoid confrontation and procrastinate rather than actually doing the deed. But if you know that you want to end things with someone, it has to be done. Even though there's no perfect way to break up or break it off with someone you're dating, there are ways to let someone down gently — and it's really crucial that you do your best to make it a smooth transition.
Because breakups can stay with you for a long time, especially the bad ones. "A cruel breakup can forever change the trajectory of a person’s approach to relationships," Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show tells Bustle. "It can be traumatizing, it can trigger depression, and it can create a basic fear and mistrust of others. A bad breakup can have enough of a negative impact that without professional intervention the person can develop very unhealthy dating and relationship patterns... If you have experienced a significant breakup — and in particular if it is a cruel one — the best thing to do is to go get therapy to help you transition from a place of hurt to a place of strength."
So how do you make sure you're letting them down as gently as possible? Here's what experts say you need to remember.