our everyday life

How to Break a Relationship with a Boyfriend

by Paige Johansen

Breaking up is difficult no matter which party you are. When you decide to break up with your boyfriend, you are letting down someone you care about and losing him, too. However, it's more compassionate to end the relationship than to let it continue when you know it is over. Be kind and empathetic but decisive.

Break Up with Compassion

Make time and find a quiet place to talk to your boyfriend. Breaking up via a text message or email is inappropriate (unless you've been on only one or two dates). Although breaking up over the phone isn't ideal, sometimes it's the only option. Depending on your comfort level and your relationship, find a private spot or a quiet public spot to talk.

Be decisive, explain and listen. If you are sure about your decision, don't waffle. (If you aren't sure, then this isn't a breakup - it is a conversation about the status and direction of your relationship.) Tell your boyfriend what you are doing and why. Don't explain why this decision will be good for him, but rather focus on why the breakup is necessary for you. Mention aspects of your relationship that were good or memories you will keep from your time together. Listen to what your partner has to say - he might be angry, sad or defensive. He might have questions. It's okay to engage in conversation about the relationship, but don't let it degenerate into an argument over petty points. Usually breakups are about larger issues - not about the time he didn't call or the time you flirted with a coworker - and you can be clear and decisive about those larger issues. If he begs you to stay or wants another chance, be prepared to be emphatic about your decision. Follow your instinct that it's time for the relationship to end.

Set up clear guidelines for the breakup. Maybe you can be friends, but not right now. Most sources agree that you should go one to two months without contact - no meeting for coffee, no phone calls, no text messages. Defriending on Facebook and other social media sites is probably a good idea, too.

Learn from the relationship. Consider making a list of what you learned about yourself (about who you are or who you want to be) in the relationship and what you want from your next relationship. Breakups aren't a failure, they are a step toward finding the life you want.

Items you will need
  • Time
  • Quiet Space
  • Resolve
  • Distance

Tip

  • Each breakup is different, and how you do it depends on many factors, including how long you've spent with your boyfriend. If you are living with him or have been together many years, the breakup might be more complicated and involve more than one conversation.

About the Author

Paige Johansen has been writing professionally since 2003. She holds a B.A. in psychology and English from Cornell University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from The University of Virginia. Between degrees, she worked in the fashion industry for two years.

Photo Credits

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