21 Dos And Don’ts Of Breaking Up With Your Girlfriend

Break up And Loss | | , Editor-in-Chief
Updated On: February 23, 2024
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How to break up with your girlfriend? There is no easy answer to this question. No matter how long you’ve been with one another or what your reasons for parting ways are, pulling the plug on a relationship is bound to sting. And not just the one who is going to get dumped.

Even as the one initiating the breakup, you may feel distraught, sad, and riddled with a sense of inexplicable heaviness. After all, you are going to break up with a girlfriend who loves you or at least hasn’t expressed any desire to end the relationship.

While you deal with these emotions and muster the courage to spill the beans, you must also be sensitive toward your girlfriend’s state of mind upon learning of your decision to part ways. Being mindful of certain breaking-up rules can make the situation somewhat easier for both you and your soon-to-be ex.

What You Should Do When Breaking Up With Your Girlfriend 

Leaving your girl is never an easy task, but breaking up with your girlfriend when she loves you is excruciating. You may feel guilty about breaking up with her when she has always showered you with affection. Feeling guilty can mar your conscience for many weeks afterward. But it’s also unfair to pretend to be happy with someone when you’re not. 

There’s no solid breakup excuse that makes it any easier to dump your girl. You just gotta square your shoulders and talk about it. If you’re wondering what to do when you decide to break up with your girlfriend, we got you. Read on.

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1. How to nicely break up with someone? Tell her in person

Yes, telling someone you’re no longer interested in being with them or that you’ve fallen out of love sucks. Big time. But such is life. You have to learn to deal with unpleasant realities. This is one such situation. No doubt breaking the news to her is going to lead to some awkward, potentially volatile moments. You have to prepare yourself to handle it to the best of your ability.

  • If you want to break up with your girlfriend, make sure you have an in-person conversation with her, even if you’re in a long-distance relationship. Have the courtesy of meeting her for the last time, if possible
  • After all, if you’re mature enough to be in a relationship, you’re mature enough to end it the right way. That entails giving her the closure of a face-to-face conversation
  • This becomes even more crucial when you break up with a long-term girlfriend, as it’s more difficult to cope with a sudden breakup in a long-term relationship. It may not be the easiest way to end your relationship with a girlfriend, we get it. But it’s decent and proper

2. Pick a place with some privacy

Where should I break up with my girlfriend? Is that question weighing on your mind? First of all, pat yourself on the back. You’re gearing up to break up the right way. Now, to answer your question –

  • Steer clear of public places like cafes and restaurants. It’s ideal to have the breakup talk somewhere you both have the chance to converse in peace without others eavesdropping
  • At the same time, avoid places that hold a special meaning for you as a couple. For instance, taking your girlfriend to the place where you first kissed her to tell her that you want out isn’t the best thing you can do when you dump your girl
  • Choose a neutral place where you can have the privacy that such an emotionally charged moment demands. Perhaps you can meet at a friend’s place or go for a walk in a secluded park so that you can both express yourselves freely, as you break up with a girl you love or who loves you

Related Reading: 8 things to do if your girlfriend is ignoring you

3. Give her an explanation

Whether you’ve decided to break up with a girl you love or someone you’ve just been seeing casually, there are bound to be reasons behind your decision. Even if it may feel like you’re going to break up with your girlfriend for no reason, there are always underlying triggers for such a decision. 

  • Perhaps you’re not compatible. Or there are certain relationship issues that you haven’t been able to resolve. Or there is another person in your life. Maybe your individual dreams are taking you apart
  • Whatever your reasons, share them with her. There may be scope for misunderstanding. So, try to be as clear as possible. Use a patient, calm tone. There may be tears or a complete emotional meltdown, so be prepared
  • When you break up with a girlfriend who loves you, these explanations will go a long way in helping her understand where you’re coming from and can perhaps cushion the hurt. If you want to break up with your girlfriend but want it to be as easy as possible, this is non-negotiable

Rita, a yoga instructor from Wisconsin, tells us how to nicely break up with someone, “Well, definitely don’t leave them hanging, especially when they’ve been super good to you. When Morgan left me without even a note, it took me ages to believe that it had nothing to do with me. I couldn’t think of someone else to date because I was so convinced of my unsuitability as a partner. I just kept thinking about how to get this man back after the breakup.” A lack of an explanation can severely impact your girlfriend’s mental health and self-esteem. So, make sure you do right by her.

4. Give her a chance to talk

Once you’ve said your piece and announced your decision, give her a chance to talk. If she feels blindsided, there is a good chance that her reaction may be one of shock, mixed with anger and confusion. If you both had significant problems and the breakup was an inevitability, she may be more pragmatic in her reaction.

  • Allow her the space to let her feelings out uninterrupted. You may or may not agree with what she has to say, but this is not the place to contend with it. Let it go. This may be the last time you have a heart-to-heart with her
  • Breakups can be hard to get over, so if she tries to bargain or change your mind, don’t let her emotionally charged appeals influence your decision. This is not the time to second-guess. “Should I break up with my girlfriend or not?”

5. Rehearse your lines

To make sure that you get the intended message across, you must rehearse what you’re going to say. And if you are going to break up with a long-term girlfriend, understand that the conversation will be stressful. That’s because announcing the decision to break up can be an emotionally vulnerable and overwhelming moment. You may not be able to wing it in that state of mind. As a result, you could end up saying things that can make the situation worse or more complicated.

  • Before you have the talk with your current girlfriend, take some time to practice your lines. Talking in front of a mirror is a great way to assess whether you’re saying the right things in the right way and if your words are having the desired effect
  • You could also try it with someone else, like a friend, to get feedback on how best to approach this conversation
  • Try not to flaunt, gloat, or sound like you’re enjoying yourself. Remember, you’re saying these words to break up with her. The point is to soften the blow for her, not make her more miserable

6. Discuss the no-contact rule

After you go through with the motions of leaving your girl, you must sever all contact with her. This allows you both the time and space to heal and move on. When having the breakup talk with your girlfriend, do discuss the no-contact rule.

  • Tell her that you’d like to go off the radar for a while and define what that means. No phone calls, no texts, unfriending or unfollowing each other on social media platforms – the whole nine yards, even if you are close friends
  • Make it a point to tell her that you’d appreciate it if she were on board with the idea, but you’re going to do it anyway. This should be non-negotiable when you break up with a long-term girlfriend, as you both need the space to recondition yourselves and get used to a life without each other

Related Reading: 10 Signs He Is Still In Love With His Ex

7. End things on a good note

You may be exiting each other’s life forever but that doesn’t mean you cannot remember the great time you spent together fondly. For that to happen, you must end things on a good note and break up with your girlfriend kindly.

  • Tell her that she’s a great person with many admirable qualities. And that anyone would be lucky to have her as their life partner
  • If you genuinely feel so, don’t miss out on telling her that you’re sorry that things didn’t work out between you two
  • Being gentle in your approach when you break up with a girlfriend who loves you can make dealing with the pain and heartbreak a lot easier for her and for you

8. Shut the door on her, gently but firmly

Being trapped in a vicious cycle of breaking up and getting back together with an ex isn’t the only aftermath of a breakup that you need to be wary of. Breadcrumbing – sending flirtatious messages every once in a while to maybe start things over with an ex – is an equally dangerous tendency. You text, she asks you to come over, and one thing leads to another, and you have a problem on your hands. 

  • It can lead to confusion and make it near impossible for either party to get over the other
  • In the long run, you need to find a more constructive way to channel your emotions than latching on to the past. Once you’ve announced your decision to break up with a girl you love or have fallen out of love with, close the door on that part of your life
  • You may need additional help if one of you is finding it difficult to move on after a breakup. The easiest way to end your relationship with a girlfriend is to block each other’s contact information for a while. It’ll be hard, but it’ll be worthwhile

9. Discuss logistics

How to break up with someone you’ve been in a long-term relationship with? Well, apart from the emotional aspect of it, you will also have to factor in the logistical implications of breaking up. If you share a house, bank account, assets, passwords, pets, or children, the breakup can become a whole lot messier. But that doesn’t mean you have to continue staying in an unsatisfying or unhappy relationship.

  • Once the emotions and tempers have settled down on both sides, do sit down with your girlfriend to discuss how to divide up your shared assets and liabilities before you move in different directions. Who gets to keep the house? How soon will the other person move out? Would you like to close the bank account? How would the money be divided? And so on
  • If the split wasn’t amicable, then the best way to do it is to get a neutral third party like a counselor, mediator, or financial advisor involved in the process. At Bonobology, we have an excellent panel of trained counselors and dating coaches who can help you with these steps

10. Let go

If you’ve thought your decision through rather than acting from an emotional place, you will be at peace with your decision. That means no going back and forth over whether or not you did the right thing. Or trying to justify your actions to your ex or even your trusted friends. Or spending sleepless nights beating yourself up over the decision to break up with a girl you love (or loved). Now, it’s time to let go. Here’s how:

  • Try getting into a new routine after the breakup. This will help in letting go of the urge to want to stay in the old relationship
  • Remember that what’s done cannot be undone. Even if you try to get back together, you cannot eliminate the cracks that have taken hold in the relationship owing to your decision to call it quits
  • Use the post-breakup phase to focus on yourself – your healing, your growth
infographic on do's and don'ts of breaking up with girlfriend
21 Dos And Don’ts Of Breaking Up With Your Girlfriend

What You Should Not Do When Breaking Up With Your Girlfriend

Now that you know what to do when you decide to break up with your girlfriend, let’s discuss what not to do. For instance, ghosting is one of the most awful ways to end a relationship. No matter how casual or serious, it’s certainly not the way to go if you want to break up with your girlfriend without hurting her. While the breaking up rules are largely contextual, there are certain basic don’ts that you must avoid to make the process of moving on easier for both you and your ex.

1. How to break up with your girlfriend the right way? Do not break up over text

Unless you have a very good reason for it – say, a girlfriend whose temper issues pose a threat to your safety – it’s not cool to break up over text, email, or a phone call. Even if you have been dating casually or have been together only a few weeks, you still owe her a proper conversation. This becomes even more imperative when you’re going to break up with a girlfriend who loves you.

In a research paper by anthropologist Ilana Gershon, Ph.D., a college student shared that her boyfriend’s relationship-ending text included the sentence, “I’m bad at life.” And a man described his soon-to-be-ex-wife’s two-line email announcing she wanted a divorce. Not the best way to part ways with a partner.

  • If you have been in a long-term relationship with her, denying her that last conversation can strip her of a sense of closure. This, in turn, would make it harder for her to move on
  • You may think conveying your feelings over a text message may be a good idea if you’re grappling with the “I want to break up with my girlfriend but I love her” conundrum. But it’s not. She shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of your confused emotional state

2. Do not ghost her

If you want to break up with your girlfriend like a man, don’t ghost her. Unless, of course, you have a valid reason to do so. Quietly vanishing from her life can be considered acceptable only and only if she has done something, or is capable of doing something, that threatens your physical or mental well-being.

For instance, say, you’ve just discovered that your girlfriend had been cheating on you with someone else. You may be hurting too much to have that final conversation with her. In that case, just upping and vanishing from her life may well be what you need to do to protect yourself. And the decision to ghost is nearly justified.

  • But if your soon-to-be-ex isn’t violent or a serial cheater or a potential stalker, ghosting is a no-no. By disappearing from her life without an explanation, you are leaving her riddled with questions forever. She may move on eventually, but a part of her will always wonder what happened
  • Even if you have decided to break up with your girlfriend for no reason, denying her the courtesy of one last conversation is still not a good idea

Related Reading: 21 Signs You Should Break Up For Good

3. Do not make it personal

If you’re wondering how to break up with your girlfriend the right way, be mindful of this. Know the difference between explanations and accusations, and steer clear of the latter. 

  • Avoid statements like “I’m breaking up because you suffocate me” or “It’s impossible to be happy with a whiner like you”
  • Even if those things are true, it helps to not say them out loud. Be sensitive to the fact that you may be breaking her heart with your decision. There is just no need to add insult to injury
  • When conveying your reasons for ending the relationship, it’s best to use “I” statements to make sure she doesn’t feel accused or blamed. For instance, instead of “It’s impossible to be happy with a whiner like you”, you can say, “I no longer feel happy in this relationship”
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4. Do not be ambiguous

“I’ve decided to break up with my girlfriend but I love her” – this can be a harrowing realization to come to terms with. But if, for some reason, you have made this tough decision to break up with a girl you love, you already know that it’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ve ever had to do. Particularly when you want to break up with your girlfriend and not leave her with emotional baggage. To handle it in the best way possible,  

  • Make sure you’re clear and concise in your message. Don’t create ambiguity with statements like “I need some time off” or “It’ll be better if we didn’t see each other for a while”
  • These statements can be interpreted in different ways, not all of which may suit your intention. She may perceive it as a need for some space in the relationship or your desire to hit the pause button for a while
  • In that case, she may hang on to the hope that you will get back together once this phase is over
Should I Breakup With My Girlfriend

5. Do not waver from your decision

When going to break up with a girlfriend who loves you or whom you love, emotions can get the better of you. She may implore you to rethink your decision. While talking about your relationship, you may both start reminiscing about the good times. And that may make you feel that you can make it work. Make sure you don’t lose sight of,

  • The fact that it’s your emotions clouding your judgment. Even if you do end up giving it another try or decide to spend time with each other, you will be back to where you are in a matter of weeks, if not days. This can leave you trapped in the dangerous on-again-off-again relationship pattern
  • One of the most crucial breaking-up rules – to not decide to end a relationship lightly, but once you do, don’t backtrack
  • Why you chose to end the relationship when your resolve seems to waver. Ask someone else, like a friend, to keep you in check if you’re having trouble reminding yourself

6. Do not promise to stay friends

Being best friends with one’s ex is always tricky territory. It may start off well as it opens the doorway to having that familiar, comforting part of your life back, minus any obligations or baggage. But soon, jealousy, resentment, and arguments over whose fault it was that the relationship didn’t work begin to rear their ugly head. When that happens, not only your friendship but also your memories of the relationship are tarnished forever. Remember,

  • You may want to stay friends but maintaining a platonic friendship after you’ve been romantically involved with someone rarely works, if at all
  • How to break up with your girlfriend extends far beyond just conveying to her your decision to end the relationship the right way
  • You must also handle the aftermath of a heartbreak well enough to not let a breakup turn into a complicated mess

Related Reading: 11 Expert Tips To Stop Being Toxic In A Relationship

7. Do not get trapped in an on-again-off-again relationship

After the breakup, there are going to be moments when you find yourself in the throes of loneliness and unable to stop thinking about your ex. Once you have called it quits, you might go through spells of rushes of remorse that will make you think “I decided to break up with my girlfriend but I love her.”  

When that happens, it becomes more important than ever that you consciously remind yourself of the reasons it didn’t work out between you two. This will help you steer clear of the trap of an on-again-off-again relationship, which is nothing more than a toxic mess that will take a toll on both of you.

  • If you find yourself questioning whether or not it was the right decision, try to distract yourself by doing something you love and see that feeling of self-doubt recede
  • Even if you feel that you decided to break up with your girlfriend for no reason, going back may not be the best idea because even if you can’t pin them down, there are always reasons behind pulling the plug on a relationship
  • Take the time to heal, spend time with yourself, and then, focus on moving on

8. Do not send or respond to emotional messages

You may have decided to cut all ties after the breakup and your ex may have agreed to it too. But following through with it is easier said than done. Men after a breakup find it more difficult to cope with loneliness. 

  • In your weak moments, don’t send out a barrage of emotionally charged messages or voicemails to your ex. Don’t drunk dial them either
  • If your ex does any of these things, don’t respond. It may feel hurtful in the moment but it will help get across the message that you’re truly done with the relationship
  • To break up with your girlfriend like a man also means standing by your decision no matter how tough the going gets
Follow breaking up rules
Steer clear of emotionally charged conversations

9. Do not act rashly

If you’re wondering, “How should I break up with my girlfriend?”, then one crucial rule of thumb is not to act rashly. Make a decision only when you have calmly evaluated the pros and cons of breaking up. Acting rashly puts you at risk of making decisions that you may regret later.

  • If you’re breaking up with someone you’ve just started dating, consider whether you can work through your issues, and build a solid relationship
  • If you’re in a long-term relationship, think about the consequences it can have on both your lives
  • If you’re stuck at the “I need to break up with my girlfriend but I love her” crossroads, think long and hard about whether or not you’re sure about ending the relationship

10. Do not play fast and loose with her feelings

One moment you tell her that you want to break up, and then kiss her the next. Or you continue to behave as if you’re still together long after you’ve broken up. Such erratic behavior patterns do more harm than good. It makes it seem like you decided to break up with your girlfriend for no reason.

  • Once you’ve made up your mind to end the relationship, don’t play fast and loose with her feelings
  • It’s essential that you stay in control of your feelings
  • Just because you miss her one day doesn’t make it all right for you to show up at her door, expecting her to humor you

11. Do not sleep with her

What not to do after the breakup? Whatever you do, do not sleep with your girlfriend after dumping her. This is one of the breaking-up rules that remain non-negotiable, no matter the circumstances or reasons behind the decision.

  • Sleeping with an ex is a bad but tempting idea. You do it once, you will want to do it again. Then, one of you will want more but the other may not be ready
  • The hurt and angst you both lived through when you first decided to break up will be magnified manifold, with feelings of confusion and betrayal thrown into the mix
  • The simple answer to how to end things with the girlfriend you love is that you have to be clear, concise, and almost clinical in your approach
  • While you must be considerate of her feelings, you cannot let emotions weaken your resolve or cloud your judgment

Key Pointers

  • Breaking up with your girlfriend is hard, but it can be done respectfully if your feelings are honest
  • Be very respectful and empathetic to her feelings
  • Circumstances may vary for every breakup, but most people appreciate it if they’re given closure
  • It may seem that a conversation is sufficient, but it may take many conversations to get all the logistics and no-contact rules figured out
  • Do not dawdle once you’ve decided. If you want to get back with her, then you must work out the issues in your relationship first

Just like relationships, all breakups are unique. The right way, moment, and time to convey that you’re no longer interested in pursuing the relationship depend on your circumstances. The kind of connection you share with your girlfriend and your reasons for breaking up – all play a role in determining how and when you should pull the plug. And when you do decide to end things, make sure you stay on that path.

This post was updated in July 2023.


1. When should you break up with your girlfriend?

You should break up with your girlfriend in case you’re not happy in the relationship anymore, your relationship is riddled with issues that cannot be resolved, you have another person in your life, or you both want different things in life. These are perfectly valid excuses to break up with someone.

2. How to break up with your girlfriend without hurting her?

Be sensitive and considerate of her feelings but at the same time be clear and concise. Make sure there is no room for ambiguity so you can break up with her without making it difficult for both of you.

3. How to break up with your girlfriend over text? 

Ideally, you shouldn’t break up with your girlfriend over text. This is a conversation that must be had in person. But if you must (in case she’s abusive or cheated on you), make sure you convey your decision clearly and offer an explanation for it.

4. How to make your girlfriend break up with you?

It may seem like a better plan. But rather than playing mind games to get your girlfriend to break up with you, the mature thing to do is to let her know that you want out.

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