Relationships Spouses & Partners How to End a Relationship the Right Way By Anabelle Bernard Fournier Anabelle Bernard Fournier LinkedIn Anabelle Bernard Fournier is a researcher of sexual and reproductive health at the University of Victoria as well as a freelance writer on various health topics. Learn about our editorial process Updated on November 17, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Carly Snyder, MD Medically reviewed by Carly Snyder, MD Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print rawpixel / Unsplash When we fall in love, we often believe the relationship will last forever. We always hope that this one is the one, that it will be different this time, and that there's no way anything can ever happen to break you up. Except, sometimes those things can happen, and you do break up. If we only look at the divorce rate, research shows it is around 50% (although measuring divorce rates is more complex than comparing marriages to divorces in a single year). Because they are not as closely monitored, it is much more difficult to obtain rates on casual and common law partnerships that break up. Relationships end for a wide variety of reasons. Conflict is one common reason, but sometimes it involves other reasons that mean ending a relationship with someone you still care about. When this happens, you must learn to break up with someone you love. To do this, you should: Acknowledge that it will cause pain on both sidesHave a face-to-face conversationBe honest but not overly detailedAvoid responding to argumentsMake a clean break in order to create distanceBe sympatheticDon't shame or blame the other personAllow yourself to grieve the relationship Why and How Do Breakups Happen? Most of us enter relationships with the hope that we will never have to end them. Marriage, especially, is built on the premise that it will remain "until death do us part." Common causes for breakups include personality differences, lack of time spent together, infidelity, lack of positive interactions between the couple, low sexual satisfaction, and low overall relationship satisfaction. Ending a relationship is one of the most difficult things we have to do. No matter where you are in the breakup process, knowing how to break up well (including how to break up with someone you love) can help make this transition smoother and less harmful for both partners. Consider These 9 Things Before Breaking Up With Your Partner How to Break up the Right Way We say "right" way, but in reality, there is no right or "best" way to break up. Every relationship is different, and every person in a relationship is different. It is up to you to consider the personality, needs, and feelings of your partner as you read through this article and figure out how to end things. Recognize That It's Never Easy Understand that there is no pain-free way to break up. We all wish that we could end relationships without any hurt or pain. But no matter how broken the relationship is, officially ending it will cause pain on both sides. Once you acknowledge that there will be pain, you can be prepared for the aftermath. Do It Face-to-Face If you've ever been dumped by text or email (or if you've been ghosted altogether), you know how it feels to be given so little consideration that the other person didn't even bother to tell you in person. Why do the same to another person? Your partner deserves the dignity of a face-to-face conversation. An intimate setting is arguably better, but if you are worried about your partner having a violent reaction, a public place is safer. Be Honest But Don't Give Too Much Detail In general, people want to know why they're being dumped. While "you're terrible in bed" or "you lack ambition" might seem like an honest answer, it doesn't really preserve your partner's self-esteem or dignity. Using a reflexive sentence like "I don't feel we're compatible sexually" or "I don't think our long-term goals align anymore" are nicer ways to express your feelings. Don't do a play-by-play of the things the other person did wrong or use clichés like "it's not you, it's me." My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Anymore Do Not Give in to Arguments or Protests If the breakup is a surprise for the other person, they might try to argue, protest, or give reasons why you should remain together and try again one more time. If you are at the point of breaking up, nothing can restore or revive the relationship now. Giving in will only delay the inevitable. Make a Clean Break Do not suggest you stay friends. Avoid saying "let's stay in touch." To move on from romantic relationships, you need to avoid further emotional entanglements with the ex-partner. You may be friends again down the road, but this is not the right time to consider this possibility. What Are the Pros and Cons of Breakup Sex? Show Empathy Express your sadness at the breakup and share some good things about your time together. Being dumped feels really bad. You can soften the blow a little by talking about some of the good times you shared together. Say something like, "You taught me so much about cooking and I am a better cook now, thanks to you". You want to make the other person feel like they had a positive impact on your life despite the relationship ending. Avoid Blaming or Shaming Avoid turning the other person into "the bad guy." Nobody's perfect. You have faults too, and turning your ex-partner into an evil figure is not helpful (aside from obvious instances of violence, but that's not the kind of relationship we're talking about here). They may have done some bad things, like cheating, but they are human too. It's better to resolve your feelings around what they did (if they did anything wrong) rather than who they are. Give Yourself Time to Grieve Even if you are the one ending the relationship, there will be a period of heartbreak, sadness, and pain. This is one of the most difficult parts of figuring out how to break up with someone you love. You still care about them, but you need to remind yourself of the reasons why the relationship isn't working. Realize that you will also need to adjust to your new situation. Surround yourself with people you love, do things that make you happy, and remember that crying and feeling sad is perfectly okay. A Word From Verywell In any breakup situation, the most important thing to remember is to be kind and compassionate. It's easy to forget how the other person might feel when we are so caught up in our own emotions, but it is essential to avoid centering the entire conversation on yourself. If you reach out with kindness and compassion, things will be much easier for everyone. I Just Broke Up With My Ex: What to Do After a Breakup 1 Source Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Amato PR. Research on divorce: Continuing trends and new developments. J Marr Fam. 2010;72:650-66. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00723.x Additional Reading Miller RS. Intimate Relationships. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education; 2018. By Anabelle Bernard Fournier Anabelle Bernard Fournier is a researcher of sexual and reproductive health at the University of Victoria as well as a freelance writer on various health topics. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Relationships Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.