So you have found yourself at a crossroads. You have been dating a girl for a while now but feel that she may not be the one for you. You really want to tell her that you need a break, but aren't sure how. You don't want to hurt her feelings, and you may even be worrying she'll have a really bad reaction to your news. What in the world are you to do? Relax and take a breath! This may surprise you but according to research published n the Journal of "Personal Relationships," females actually perceive more positive outcomes from being broken up with than males do! You do have a fighting chance. Don't worry, there is a nice way to tell your girlfriend that you need a break.
Tell your girlfriend that you want to speak with her about something. Set up a time and a place to do so in person -- do not send her an email, a text, or leave her a voicemail. Doing so will come across as completely rude and inconsiderate, and the response will almost certainly be negative. If your girlfriend asks what the talk is about, tell her that it involves your relationship with her but do not be any more specific than that.
Meet with your girlfriend in a quiet place where you can give her your full attention. The area should not be too isolated in case things go awry and you want to leave, but it should not be too public either for fear of her becoming upset in front of others. Picking a place such as an outdoor picnic table may be a good setting.
Tell your girlfriend right away that you are having this talk with her because you feel you need a break. Being up front from the very start is important. Otherwise, during your talk she may be trying to figure out what you are going to say and become frustrated or even panic. Letting her know the purpose of the discussion, followed by the details is the best option. Explain to your girlfriend that you are going to talk with her about why exactly you want this break.
Tell your girlfriend the exact reasons as to why you want the break. Be honest about them. If you feel she isn't for you, say so. If you are feeling too smothered, tell her. Let her know that you have been thinking about this for awhile and that you feel you need to be honest with her about how you have been feeling. According to a 2000 study published in the "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin," women are actually better at detecting lies than men are.
Compliment your girlfriend on the many positive traits that she has, and let her know what you have enjoyed about dating her. Breaking up with her will probably be hard on her self esteem so leaving the conversation on this positive note will help boost it back up to some degree.
Ask your girlfriend if she has any questions about what you have just said. Give her the courtesy and respect of allowing her to question you further about your decision or ask for clarification about anything that you told her. This will show her that you still respect her as a person and that your relationship does mean something to you even though it isn't currently what you want.