What’s the Best Way to Break Up?
I have been with my boyfriend for over a year now and I don’t see a future together. It was fun for a while, but now it feels stale and unexciting. I don’t love him and never have. I’m bored, he mostly annoys me now, and I don’t want to be in the relationship anymore.
My friends have been telling me to end it for months, but I don’t know how. I suck at breaking up with guys. I usually end up waiting until they get so frustrated with me that they decide to end it, and then I feel relieved that I didn’t have to. I know that probably makes me a terrible person, but I don’t like hurting people’s feelings, so it’s hard for me to be honest and direct like that.
Unfortunately, my boyfriend doesn’t seem at all deterred by the distance I have been putting between us. I don’t see him ending this. I’m going to have to buck up somehow and do it. But how? A couple of my friends have broken up with guys by text or app. One said leave a written note. One said call him and call it good. My parents say I should meet him in a public place and deliver the news in person, but I am worried he’ll react badly and make a scene.
What do you think? Is there a “right way” to break up (and is there a “wrong way”)? —Split Decision
Thank you for writing in with such a great question. First, I’d like to assure you that none of what you described makes you a terrible person. Many people do not like to invite potential for conflict, to deliver bad news, or to hurt other people’s feelings. Breaking up with a partner raises all of these possibilities. It is hard to do, and most people don’t enjoy doing it; in fact, a lot of people avoid it. It sounds like avoidance has been your approach—you create distance and wait for your partner to get frustrated and end it themselves.
I wonder if, in your relationships, you have a hard time asking for what you want or need—maybe you find yourself dropping hints in the hopes your partner will pick up on them and act. If this rings true for you, perhaps you can think of your pending breakup as an opportunity to state your desire: in this case, the desire to end the relationship.
One of the problems with trying to behave in a way that causes your partner to end the relationship is that it can lead to what you are dealing with now. You want out of the relationship and are behaving as such, but your boyfriend is either not getting it or doesn’t mind the behavior. Either way, he’s not ending it and you are stuck. Trying to force a certain behavior—in this case, a breakup—from someone else can be quite frustrating for both people. You’re wondering why he isn’t breaking up with you and growing more and more annoyed by his presence, and he might well be feeling hurt or frustrated wondering what is happening.
When this kind of issue shows up in my practice, I often find it is emblematic of a general discomfort with asking for what one wants and needs. I wonder if, in your relationships, you have a hard time asking for what you want or need—maybe you find yourself dropping hints in the hopes your partner will pick up on them and act. If this rings true for you, perhaps you can think of your pending breakup as an opportunity to state your desire: in this case, the desire to end the relationship. Learning how to ask for what you need is essential to having happy and healthy relationships. Even if you want out of this one, you can think of it as practice for your next relationship.
It is not easy to learn how to be direct and open with your needs and desires; sometimes there are underlying challenges such as self-worth issues or unhealthy models in your family of origin. You might even find it helpful to partner with a therapist to explore some of this and practice new behaviors.
As for your question about whether there a “right way” or a “wrong way” to break up, I think the modality you use is less important than deciding you are going to assert your desire to end the relationship. You want out of it, and you have wanted out of it for some time. You deserve to stand up and state that and get what you want for yourself, rather than waiting and hoping someone else will give it to you.
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ikudaySeptember 19th, 2018 at 5:57 AM
Apparently Madison responded to the situation, and she said basically He treated me like his mother and I had to do everything for him, he never did anything but sleep and play video games, and I was tired of his emotional outbursts. Also, she doesnt even really like video games. The relationship with the other guy (main dudes brother) started well after the initial breakup when main dude asked his bro to check up on her, and they grew closer. poor girl got in a relationship with a manbaby and now everyone hates her
abinaarlFebruary 4th, 2019 at 1:38 AM
I’m a guy,I cry day and night,i can’t sleep or eat regularly,she no longer the person I knew,,,i want to leave her but its hard for me to leave,why because i love her so much,,we where involved for a year and 6 month,how to leave such person fo good?
LisaMarch 13th, 2019 at 12:21 AM
Husband refuses to correct his loud snoring problem it’s been disturbing me so much and has had a negative impact on my work life as well !
privateSeptember 30th, 2020 at 6:32 AM
that is stupid if you know you dont like hurting peoples feelings and knew you didnt love him you at all and never have why leave for this long to say this you should have just done it as soon as you knew you didnt love him. your just gunna break his heart even more fix it!!!!!!
AnikeJanuary 7th, 2022 at 7:22 AM
I hate relationship.
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