How To Break Up With Someone & Not Have It Be A Total Disaster


There's no good way to dump someone. Some may be better and some may be worse, but it's probably never going to feel great. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it — there are plenty of good reasons to break up with someone, even if it's just that you feel stuck in a cycle with them. "You should break up with someone if you continue to have the same couples' conflicts and arguments repeatedly and your partner refuses to support satisfying your needs," Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting, and relationship psychotherapist tells Bustle. "A healthy working relationship requires two willing participates who want to please each other’s wants and needs."

If you're not getting that, it's totally fair to call it quits — but how? There are a lot of moving parts. You have to think about where and how to do it, what to say, how long to give it, and even where to go from there.

If you're not ending a toxic relationship, the one thing to keep in mind through it all is really easy: be kind. If you're measured, mindful, and compassionate, then the whole thing will go smoothly. And you're much more likely to salvage a friendship — if that's what you want. Here's what you have to remember.


Think It Through

Do a little planning. Not everything you're going to say, but a general idea of what point you'd like to make. Planning makes everything way easier. "There is an art to breaking up with someone," Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert, tells Bustle. "If you do what needs to be done, you can sail through it."

Why are you breaking up? How do you feel? How sure are you? It's all important stuff to think about.


Be Clear And Direct

You don't want there to be any confusion. "Don't do it by text or by post-it!," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "Today's dating and communication has gotten so 'casual' that people do not always treat each other the way they themselves would like to be treated. My number one tip for breaking up mindfully is to do it clearly and directly." That means making it clear that you're dumping them — but also clear why you're doing it and how you're feeling about it.


Private Is (Probably) Best

Think about where this person would probably take it best. It's often in private. "I think in private is more comfortable and respectful," Hartstein tells Bustle. "People sometimes choose public so the other person can't make a scene. But I don't think that most people really do make a scene when they are broken up with. They might be sad or cry or be angry, but most likely they will just want to talk. And if it's a relationship of more than a few months, an involved talk or discussion is pretty warranted."

If you know for some reason that your partner would hate it in a private place, obviously do it in public instead. But make sure it's at a place where you can really talk it out.


Give Them Room To Speak

"I think engaging in a conversation about what people want individually in their lives is helpful," licensed psychologist, and founder and CEO of Rapport Relationships, Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, tells Bustle. "Oftentimes there is no communication or we are dating someone who is not emotionally available enough to have such a conversation. Opening up the dialog will give you the data you need to decide if the relationship is worth saving."

If you ask them how they feel or where they were coming from on some of your big issues, you're much more likely to have a constructive conversation.


Don't Do It When You're Angry

Make sure that you wait to do the breaking up until you can talk about it maturely. "Too many times people, generally out of anger and impatience, assume that their partner is stubborn and ready to call it quits," relationship coach and founder of Maze of Love, Chris Armstrong, tells Bustle. Even if that means putting it off a day or two— or going outside to take a breath of fresh air — it's best to come into it with a cool head.


Ask Them About What They Want Next

You should try to follow their lead a bit. Maybe you want to be friends, but if they don't want to be then you need to respect that.

That being said, if it was a really toxic realtionship, you don't have any obligation to stay in touch. "Dissolve all accounts, numbers, and names that lead to this person," Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert, tells Bustle. "Do a complete energy makeover and stay clear of their negative energy."


Be Kind

The number one thing (if you're not in a toxic relationship) to keep in mind is to be compassionate. "Be nice about it... Tell your STBE [soon-to-be ex] what you like about him or her," Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., aka Dr. Romance, tells Bustle. You don't need to lie, but remember that being dumped is awful, they may get angry or defensive, but it's important to keep your empathy.

A breakup conversation is almost always going to be awkward as hell — and possibly very emotional. Stay calm, try to have a discussion, and be compassionate, because that's your best chance for success.