How To Break Up With Someone In 5 Difficult-but-important Steps

Now sure how to break up with someone? It's never, ever going to be easy or fun, but if you do it right it can at least be respectful and freeing. //

This guest post comes to us via the lovely Danielle Dowling, professional soul sister and relationship re-mixer. She writes about break ups, make ups and lots of other things three times a week on her blog. Pop over and say hi!

So you’re over them, huh?

An impending breakup is encroaching on the outskirts of your thoughts. Your intuition is telling you—it’s time.

The single most important thing you need to know: You have permission to go.

The truth of it? Breakups are hard. Heartbreak is part of the human experience of loving and being loved. Chances are that both of you know things have been far from ideal lately.

But maybe you sense they still have hope and the idea of slicing their self-esteem in half has you second-guessing “the talk.”

Reality check: It’s a part of life, and you can’t prevent your partner from getting hurt.

Being in a relationship is a choice, and just as you made a choice to begin a relationship, you can make the choice to end it.

There will be hurt feelings. There will be disappointment.

But, really? You’re giving them the gift of freedom and the opportunity to find a partner who will celebrate them for who they are – with no amendments and no tweaks.

And what about you? Yeah, you. Remember her?

You deserve to have what you want. Click To Tweet

You want: eye contact, smiles, crazy passionate sex + laughter? You want: emotional support, loyalty + chemistry? No problem. It’s yours.

Right after this breakup. If the relationship you are in has fallen short it must die in order for a new love to be born.

How to break up with someone in 5 difficult-but-important steps

1. Find someplace private to have this conversation

In private tell your partner you’d like to have a serious conversation. If he asks “what about,” say you have decided that you need to end the relationship. It’s best to be straight forward.

Like ripping off a band-aid. Do it quick. Get the information on the table.

2. Have this conversation in person

If you‘ve been on six or fewer dates you have a free pass to call instead. Otherwise, suck it up, honor the relationship you had + schedule a date to meet. (Do not just ignore them or disappear–it’s rude and bad karma.–who wants that?)

3. Hold your ground

It’s possible they won’t want to break up and they’ll attempt to convince you otherwise. There are real reasons why you came to this decision. Stay firm.

It’s not fair to go back to dating someone just because you feel guilty or “bad for them.” This would be a waste of everyone’s time + a form of self-sabotage. Choose to embrace the transition + stay focused so you can bypass the muck and mire of flip-flopping.

4. Stop making excuses

Does he have an important interview next Thursday? Milestone birthday coming up or a parent who is ill? The timing not working in your favor, huh?

Feeling a little guiltiy about wanting to run for the hills? There is never a good time to leave, and the sooner you do it, the sooner you both can get on with your lives. It’s that simple.

5. Now leave each other alone

Why do we love violating this rule? There is no to fall down the rabbit hole of frustration than insisting on trying to create a friendship out of a failed relationship. It’s a bad idea and it’s hard on everyone. If possible, don’t talk about ‘staying friends.’ If you’re meant to cross paths again one day- you will. Love your ex enough to leave them alone.

How do you go about ending a relationship? Are you good or bad at breakups?

P.S. If you have a habit of dating unsuitable people, this might help. And it’s free!

Photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash


Little redhead

Great advice. Sadly none of the men I dated and decided to end the relationship had the guts to do it in person. My last relationship, which lasted over two years, was ended by ignoring me for a week or two and then ending it via phonecall. I felt this was incredibly rude, it doesn't show much respect. So I definitely agree it's so much better to do it in person, even though it sucks to be the bad guy and break someone's heart, it shows you give a damn and you can properly explain yourself.


Such great advise. I wish this post had been around for me about 3 years ago though haha! Hopefully with the guy I have now, I wont be needing anymore breakup advice 😉


Wow. I really needed to hear this about 3 months ago. Better late than never! (And talk about spot-on!)


little readhead, I feel your pain. Dated a dude for 6 years broke up with me by ignoring me…I havent heard from him in over two years. He just…stopped talking to me one day, I still don't know what I did wrong. I think by now it's safe to say we're over, but um…not even an "I hate you, you're a bitch, it's over" email?! It took me well over a year to realize how terrible it was of him and that I deserved much better.

But the no contact rule is thing that got me through it. If he had actually been a man and done the breakup properly, we would have probably gone through a few months of that awkward "friends but probably getting back together" phase, which would have just made things worse. The no contact really saved me and helped me move on. So at least he did one thing right!


Ugh, I did terribly the last time I broke up with someone. 🙁
They were so difficult, not listening to what I had to say etc. It was on the phone, since I couldn't deal with the face to face. Then when I went for the face to face apology they did everything they could to pull me back in. After that I ignored them because I just didn't know what else to do.


Always excellent advice but what I really liked was the "no contact" rule. The only way I was finally able to extricate myself from a heart-breakingly unhealthy relationship long-term was to move. 1500 miles away! A year later I'm in a much more emotionally mature and stable relationship and was just recently able to sit down with my ex and have a wonderful talk about our relationship and our friendship and the lessons of life and love. I am super grateful to have this person in my life still, and with absolutely zero animosity. So…. Take that road trip, make that big move. I didn't have the guts to leave a boy so a left a state instead, but it worked!


I need to break up with the guy I've been dating so bad that it's been giving me agita and I cry just thinking about hurting his feelings and making him sad. He is so nice, but not what I need and yet, I know he will be devastated. This post literally could not have come at a better time. Thank you.


Ha. My ex (4 year relationship) and I only casually talked a couple of times after our break up. Once, he e-mailed me to find out what I did to get a speeding ticket deferred, and then I contacted him to see if he wanted to take my newly-adopted kitten that wasn't working out with my other newly-adopted kitten. Then nothing for a while. A few months after our breakup, I signed up for OKCupid. My first day on there, he messaged me with a "HA!" message. I blocked him. After that, there has been no contact. =)
I wish everyone followed that no contact rule. Then there might not be as many ex's sleeping with their ex's… though I've never personally had an issue with that.


Great post! Can I make a wish about another topic? "How To Tell Someone They Should Break Up". I have a friend who's clearly looking for company from outside her marriage. I know of at least two times (she has told me) when she has, well let's just say that, done a lot more than just hugged or kissed another man. These two occasions were with different men. She's still sending yucky SMS messages with the other fellow. I myself hate cheating – and she knows that. But she still tells me all this shit. I don't really know how to react. Should I say something to her? Or just shut up since it's none of my business. Nowadays I don't even like visiting her because I might meet her husband. I feel like I'm part of the whole thing somehow – since I'm keeping her secret.

The Curious Cat

Oh gosh! I had to do the break-up recently and it was HARD. I'm so used to playing the victim…It was awful because he was so perfect…and yet one little ingredient was missing (chemistry) but I'm glad I had the experience as now i hope next time I get dumped I'll be a little more understanding…xxx


I disagree with No Contact. There is a time and place for it, but sometimes you don't have to do the cold-turkey "I will ignore you and pretend I don't know you and we never had any kind of friendship here" thing. I think it's actually very rude and crass, and in my list of breakups that have happened to me, I consider the jerkiest one to be the guy who cut off all contact, than any of the others.

If you're still direly in love with him and he breaks up with you, end contact until you get over it.

If you both have decided that, y'know, this isn't working, we're sad, but hey, it'll be okay, then you can be friends. My first boyfriend and I, after two years of dating, broke up smoothly like this and were instantly great friends and never had a problem.

You don't have to alienate someone and make them feel like crap unless the situation absolutely demands it.


Great post! I've been in this situation and you're advice is spot-on. The "no-contact" rule is pretty important for some situations (breaking up with a clingy guy who insists you're not of sound mind with this silly break up idea).

She probably won't read this, but to KATIE: Please don't think you did anything "wrong" in your relationship! Just because it didn't work out doesn't mean YOU did something wrong. He dropped out of your life with no warning – that is wrong. Let go of that. 🙂


I honestly thought that my marriage was healthy. i loved my husband with all my heart. we was married 8 years and have a 3 yr old son. we bought a house 2 months ago. i told him i was pregnant…then he starting acting strange. he didn't want me to keep the baby. one day i decided to tell him i could not go through with not having the baby (about 2 months pregnant), then he tells me he doesn't love me anymore. 2 days later he tells me he cheated on me and wants a divorce. he has since (2 weeks) been really cruel, cussed at me, told me he was going to file kidnapping on me, and has generally acted like i am a doormat. the other woman even contacted me and told me she is going to be my children's stepmother. i know that the affair was not very long because he met her 3 months ago. i don't know what has happened to my husband. i cannot eat or sleep and only have a sister with minimal finances. i completely alone and scared. i needed help because i don't know what to do. he filed for a divorce with a lawyer. so 3 days later a friend told me about a spell caster, i contacted him and told him my problem and what i wanted and after 3 days he brought my husband back and made my husband a changed man, he is now a good man.
Shannon Monique from Texas

Young mom/wife

Unless you are trying to end an 8 year mariage. I loved his so much but I have fallen out of love with him. We have two kids one old enough to understand and the other is too young. I havnt gallon in love or been with anyone else, I just feel like I need to fall in love with myself again because I feel like I have given up everything to him and he doesn’t always treat me right. I just want to love and be loved and respected.


Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.