How to Break Up with Someone Thoughtfully: 20 Different Ways to Respectfully End a Relationship

As the old song goes, “They say that breaking up is hard to do / Now, I know, I know that it’s true.” After all, if it were easy, you would not be reading this article! It’s now so much a question of how to break up with someone but rather how to do the least amount of damage in the process. You want to end things succinctly without any messy communication or drama. We get that and we’ve got some clever ways for you to get the sad job done.

First, you need to get the notion of a “perfect” break-up out of your head. There’s no such thing. There will always be fallout after a relationship ends that can include your ex’s friends and family and possibly your own. You need to be honest with yourself about why it hurts and push through that pain to come out of the other side things with your head held high. Here’s how to break up with someone thoughtfully and with respect.

Learn How to Break Up with Someone With These 20 Steps:

Ensure That You’re Ready to Break Up

How to Break Up with Someone

In most cases, you do not want to break up with your partner when you’re in the midst of a heated argument. Make sure your head is cool when you come to a decision to end a relationship. You want to make sure that you have exhausted other options before abandoning the ship. If you have already spoken to your partner about your concerns and seen no change, you can go ahead and move forward with your plans. Just make sure that you’re sure. You can’t put the break-up beast back in the bottle once it’s out.

Meditate on the Conversation You Want to Have

How to Break Up with Someone

As we mentioned, you don’t want to jump into a decision. Give yourself plenty of time to figure out what’s not working and the best way to communicate that. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll come to a conclusion as to why things must end. Now, imagine yourself saying all of the things you want to say. What is constructive versus detrimental? Keep this in mind as you formulate the way you want to express this.

Put Yourself In Your Partner’s Shoes

How to Break Up with Someone

At the beginning of any relationship, it’s easier to empathize with your partner. After all, you’re in love. After the relationship has run its course, this becomes more difficult. Remember the person you fell in love with and try to think of how it must feel for them to receive the news. One of the most effective ways of how to break up with someone is to imagine that you’re on the receiving end of the devastating news. If you’ve ever been broken up with, this should be relatively easy. Do it with grace and you’ll feel much better after the dust settles.

Understand That the Reaction Is Out of Your Control


No matter how much you prepare and think about the best way to let your partner down gently, you have no control over their reaction. While there are many factors that you can control (many of which you will find on this list), there’s always so much that you can’t control. You get to deliver the message but not how it’s received. Remember this.

Relationships End & That’s Fine

How to Break Up with Someone

When people try to figure out how to break up with someone, they often forget that it’s a totally normal part of life for a relationship to not work out. You’ve essentially got a fifty-fifty chance at a certain point and those odds are not in your favor. All of this means that you should not beat yourself up over the fact that your relationship did not last. You’re human. Your partner is human. Nothing is perfect and that’s completely okay. You did your best.

How to Break Up with Someone In Person

How to Break Up with Someone

Now, the most respectful, important aspect to consider when deciding how to break up with someone is the best way to do it face to face. If you feel unsafe, by all means, find another means to the end. But, you should put in the effort to end a relationship in person when possible. It’s a sign of respect for both your partner and the relationship you are ending to do so in person. Plan for that difficult conversation.

Consider Where to End Things

How to Break Up with Someone

That in-person conversation is going to be hard enough without interruptions, loud music, and others gawking at you. A private setting is best for a break-up but only if you feel safe. You don’t want to be in a loud place that makes communicating your feelings any harder. It’s already hard. Make it as easy as possible on yourself and your partner by sparing them embarrassment and confusion. When checking off your how to break up with someone checklist, carefully consider the venue.

Be Present

How to Break Up with Someone

This goes hand-in-hand with choosing a venue for the break-up, you must prepare to be present once you’re there. You might be tempted to do something rash to make things easier for yourself but, don’t. You need to feel it. That means no “pre-gaming” your break-up. Be sober. Treat your partner with the dignity they deserve and you want yourself. The most obvious tip for how to break up with someone is to be completely prepared to be present.

Brace Yourself for Heartache

How to Break Up with Someone

A thing to remember when you’re thinking about how to break up with someone is that no explanation you give will satisfy the person you’re breaking up with. Have realistic expectations about how constructive the conversation can be without expecting to end being best friends by the end of it. You’re breaking up. Your partner will likely cycle through sadness, confusion, and anger. You’ll get through it, you just need to be ready for that reality.

Frame Things from Your Perspective

How to Break Up with Someone

Often, when you say things like “you don’t appreciate this” or “you don’t like my family,” they sound accusatory. That’s not what’s going to make the break-up conversation easier. In fact, you should take ownership in this moment. Frame things with statements that start with “I.” After all, you have made the decision to end your relationship and you should shoulder that responsibility. “I’ve come to the decision to…” or “I am unhappy and want to move on” are much better ways to communicate in this situation.

Keep Reading for More Tips On How to Break Up with Someone

Get Right to the Point

How to Break Up with Someone

Don’t string your partner along with a lengthy exposition about how you’ve come to the decision. It’s polite to be direct and state your intentions fairly early on. It’s hard to rip that bandaid off, but you’re going to have to feel the pain of your relationship ending. Get to the point and speak your truth right away. You might think that a gentle landing is the best way, but don’t beat around that bush. Get it out and spare your partner unneeded anguish.

RELATED: 30 Best Sad Love Songs

Get to THE Point, Not the Points


When deciding how to break up with someone, don’t think up a laundry list of wrongs they’ve committed. Put your finger on the exact reason that the relationship must end and nip it in the bud. If your partner wants specifics as to why remember those “I statements” and go with them. You do not want to escalate things. “I don’t think we’re a good fit because I…” should be the way your frame these sorts of statement. Imagine how hurt you felt if a partner listed a litany of ills you’re guilty of. Be honest about the one thing that’s making it impossible to carry on.

It’s the Relationship, Not Your Partner

How to Break Up with Someone
Couple Having Argument – Conflict, Bad Relationships. Unhappy Couple After an Argument in the Living Room at Home. Making Decision of Breaking Up Get Divorced

An important thing to remember when framing how to break up with someone is to keep the focus on the relationship, not your partner’s shortcomings. A relationship takes two. This means that you’re partly to blame for the relationship not working out. You might have rushed into things, have different personalities, or have little in common. This is not your partner’s fault. You’re just not a good fit. Reiterate this as you break the news and really understand that it’s the relationship and not just an individual.

Receive Your Partner’s Feedback


When thinking of how to break up with someone, don’t expect a “mic drop” moment. Nothing you will say will cleanly cut the ties that bind. Instead, prepare to listen to your partner’s concerns, heartache, and confusion. They deserve it. No matter how painful it may be, you should do yourself to take into consideration the response as it can help you learn something about yourself and how you operate in a relationship. Whether or not the criticism is valid, you can ease your partner’s woes by simply having an open ear. However, if this escalates to pure insult, don’t take it.

Be Prepared for Anger

How to Break Up with Someone

When you’re trying to figure out how to break up with someone it’s essential to remember that there is no way to predict a response. You might be met with anger and if that’s the case, it’s wise to respond with empathy. Say something like, “You have every right to be angry.” This can help lower the tension but the most important thing for you to remember is not to meet anger with anger. You do not want to escalate things. Keep a cool head. However, if you feel unsafe or afraid, you should excuse yourself. There’s no need to feel threatened. You’re simply being honest and there’s no fault in that.

Be Prepared for a Sad Reaction


You will most likely be met with sadness as you put your relationship to bed. It’s a common reaction that may or may not follow an angry one. Offer a hug or place your hand on your partner’s to convey that you care. You must be prepared for these sorts of gestures to be declined but you will be the mature actor in this situation if you show that you still care for the person.

How to Break Up with Someone if They Promise to Change

How to Break Up with Someone

One of the hardest things to crack when you’re deciding how to break up with someone is the inevitable “I can change” argument. You are likely guilty of saying at some point in your life and it is a natural reaction for someone to have that cares deeply about you. However, you should strongly stress that you would not want them to change for you and that it’s the relationship that’s not working not them. Show gratitude for the gesture but acknowledge that the relationship has run its course.

Don’t Offer False Hope

How to Break Up with Someone

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to learn how to break up with someone is not absorbing the fact that a break-up should be finite. Don’t leave things open-ended and don’t give your partner false hope that a reconciliation is on the table. If you followed the first tip we shared with you, you should be firm about your position. Don’t falter if your mind is made up. Do you and your partner a favor and make a clean break of things. You don’t want to have repeat this break-up again in the future!

Express Gratitude


If things did not go off the rails, and you’ve followed all the steps we’ve told you for how to break up with someone, a great thing to do is to express gratitude for how your partner changed you for the better throughout your relationship and how you have grown as a person. You might also share how they have helped you during your time together. Of course, this should come as the conversation is coming to a close and not at the beginning. You don’t want to send mixed signals but you do want your ex to know that they had a positive influence on your life. If not, skip this step!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Underrated Songs About Heartbreak that Will Heal Any Heart

Take Stock

How to Break Up with Someone

So, you’ve learned how to break up with someone and actually gone through with it. Now, what? It’s best to take stock of your feelings and check in with how you feel. You might feel elated that you’ve gone through with it. Pat yourself on the back and feel proud for being the adult in the situation and for looking out for your own best interests.

What’s more common, however, is that you feel rather crummy. That’s normal. The end of a relationship does feel a lot like mourning for a lot of people. Take time to process your grief but don’t forget that you did something very hard that will ultimately be a constructive act. Be gentle with yourself and practice self-care until you’ve come to terms with your new reality. You did it.

While it is a difficult time, now you know how to break up with someone without causing a ton of damage. There are thoughtful ways to break up and communicate your feelings so that your ex can better understand where you’re coming from. While there are no right or wrong ways for how to break up with someone, ee hope our different ways for how to break up with someone helped you discover the right path forward for you.

About Mamas Uncut

Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.