The realization that you need to end things is never an easy one. You might even have tried to fight this urge, but when you can’t go a day without fighting, you know deep down that the end is nigh. But the next hurdle may just leave you putting off the inevitable: the hurdle of what to say to end a relationship.
Since this isn’t a high-school assignment, putting it off till it blows in your face isn’t the smartest thing to do. It’s vital to understand what to say to end a relationship on good terms, and that ghosting your “partner” isn’t really the best tactic. Since you can’t take the “easy” way out without also being labeled the worst person in the world, you’ve got some thinking to do. Read on to find out what you can say, and the things you need to keep in mind while ripping this band-aid off.
What Should I Say To End A Relationship?
Here’s what not to say: “We need to talk” or “It’s not you, it’s me”. Since we don’t live in the 1980s anymore, it’d do you good to avoid the cliches. What to say to end a relationship largely depends on your situation and may look different for everyone. It’s easier to end things in some scenarios than in others.
If you’ve been cheated on or have gone through something distressing, you’re probably okay with saying, “We’re done”, and walking away. In other situations, however, figuring out what to say to break up with someone can take a lot more time. The most important thing to remember when thinking about what to say when you want to end a relationship is to be honest, kind, and clear.
Be truthful about your feelings without being disrespectful. Without being ambiguous, put forth what you want and any boundaries you want to establish. As we said, what to say to end a relationship on good terms depends on what yours looks like. Nonetheless, here are a few examples you can always use:
1. What to say when you don’t see a future with them?
It is okay to end a relationship when you don’t see yourself in it for the long haul. In such situations, here’s what you can say to end a relationship nicely:
- We have fun together but I don’t see a future for us. I’m sorry if this hurts but I don’t want to give you false hopes
- You are a wonderful person but not the one I see my future with. I’m coming from a place of honesty and I think we should end it here
2. What to say if the relationship has become toxic?
You cannot predict how a person is going to be when you enter a relationship. If things have taken a sour turn and all you see are red flags, here’s what to say to end the relationship:
- We don’t have fun with each other anymore. Our relationship has become very stressful. We argue a lot, and I can’t deal with it
- I can’t cope with how many times you have hurt me. I don’t trust you anymore
- We’re two very different people, and I’m tired of trying to tell myself that we can make it work
3. What to say when you like someone else?
Love is complicated. Falling for someone else while you are in a relationship can happen and it is better to let the partner know. In such a case, here are a few examples of what you can say:
- I don’t feel in love with you anymore
- I respect you and you are an important part of my life but I have realized that my heart is somewhere else
4. What to say when you feel the relationship is going too fast?
You thought it was just a casual relationship but the other person is already planning a wedding in their head? Been there, done that! So, to end a casual relationship, here are some nice things you can say:
- I have very different expectations from a relationship. I’m not prepared for the kind of commitment you want
- This is going too fast for me. I want something more casual at this point in life and clearly, I’m not prepared for what you are expecting
5. What to say when you realize you don’t have the time to date?
Dating, in any form, requires attention and effort. However, if your priorities have left you no time to spare for the said effort and attention, here’s what you can say to end the relationship:
- My goals in life are very different right now. I’m at a juncture where I need to focus more on so and so…
- I don’t think I can spare the attention this relationship deserves because I need to invest my time somewhere else
Of course, what to say to end a relationship isn’t really as easy as saying any one of these sentences and just being done with it. Once you do mention a reason along the lines of the ones listed above, the most important sentence follows: “So, I think we should break up and go our separate ways. I know we’ll still care for each other. It’ll be hard, but I think it’s what’s best for us. I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore.”
Related Reading: Should I Break Up With My Girlfriend? 12 Signs You Should
Whether you’re figuring out what to say to end a casual relationship or end an FWB relationship, letting them know that you’re actually ending it is what’s most important. Don’t leave any space for ambiguity, and make sure you say something along the lines of “I want to break up”.
Since what to say to end a relationship must be tailor-made for your relationship, let’s take a look at a few general tips so that the conversation doesn’t result in a few broken plates and a 6-hour long phone call that leaves you emotionally exhausted.
8 Tips On What To Say To End A Relationship
Since you’re basically trying to figure out how to break some very bad news to a person you cared very deeply for (and probably still do), you’re bound to be overthinking your moves just a little bit. Be it the complicated dynamics of ending a relationship with a married man/ending an FWB relationship or simply pulling the plug on a fling, it’s never easy to just go out there and say your piece. The following tips on what to say to end a relationship can be helpful irrespective of the nature of your dynamic:
1. Before you even say anything, make sure you want it
What’s worse than a nasty breakup? Realizing two days after it that you actually never wanted to end things. The first logical step — instead of racking your brain about what to say — is to figure out if you actually want to say it or not. Are you sure your relationship is beyond repair? Is it really worth breaking up with your partner because they answered an ex’s drunk 2 AM call? Take a moment to think about what you want. It’d surprise you to find out how fixable most things are.
That being said, however, make sure you don’t turn a blind eye to any toxicity in your relationship. If there are far too many red flags or the moments of sadness and distress far outweigh the happy ones, you may be right in exploring ways to end your relationship.
2. Talk to someone you trust for advice
When you’re figuring out what to say to break up with someone, your responses could be clouded by the harsh treatment you might have experienced. You probably want to be done with it as soon as possible, and might end up saying some not-so-nice things in the process. Which might be detrimental, especially if you’re breaking up with someone you live with.
When you talk to a friend about it, they may help you look at things from a different perspective. Your friend may persuade you to ditch your plan of screaming “you’re the worst person alive” at your partner and walking away; they may even help you come up with something a tad bit better, like, “We’re not compatible anymore, we’re fighting more than we’re making memories together.”
PS: If your best friend is the crazy-overprotective kind, maybe try to talk to someone else. You don’t want them to “help” you break up by throwing a brick through your partner’s window, with a two-word note attached to it.
3. Walk a mile in their shoes
Sure, empathy may not be the first thing on your mind when you’re trying to figure out how to break up with your boyfriend without any reason or dump your girlfriend without any forewarning. Even so, putting yourself in their position isn’t going to hurt. Plus, if there were communication issues in your relationship, this might just come as a surprise to them.
Ask yourself, how would you like to be treated if somebody were to break up with you? Take a while to think about it, and maybe change up a few words in your breakup speech, according to what might work. You know, treat thy neighbor and stuff.
Related Reading: It’s Not You, It’s Me – Breakup Excuse? What It Really Means
4. Play the conversation out in your head
No, you don’t necessarily have to answer all your questions while pacing around in your room as you did before that job interview. Instead, try to think about how the conversation will pan out, how they might react to certain things you say, and how to steer them toward a favorable reaction.
Does the mention of someone else being a part of the equation boil their blood? Well, you don’t necessarily have to lie, but you can probably tell them something like, “I don’t feel adequately loved or in love anymore in this relationship,” instead of bluntly saying, “I’m in love with someone else.“
5. The blame game is one you can’t win
“YOU did this, hence I am doing this” isn’t really going to work. Toxic relationships often feature the one phrase that promises a lot but delivers nothing: “I can change.” To make sure it doesn’t even get to that stage, don’t turn it into a situation where you are blaming your partner for something. Instead of saying, “You’ve changed, you’re boring”, you can probably say something like “I think our personalities don’t match as optimally as they should. I’m not having fun anymore.”
Instead of “You don’t give me any personal space in this relationship“, maybe go with something along the lines of “I don’t feel free enough in this relationship; I need space to grow. In order to explore and find myself further, I need to step away from this detrimental relationship”. See? What to say to end a relationship is about how you say those things too. It isn’t really that hard. Just give yourself some time to think about it.
6. Be resolute, there’s bound to be a protest
Especially if you’re ending a long-distance relationship or a more serious one, your decision may take your partner by surprise. You may hear them say all the things you want to hear, they may plead, they may even beg, and you may even think for a second, “Could there really be hope here?”
But since the first point on our list of tips on what to say when you want to end a relationship was to be absolutely sure that you want it, don’t let their words sway you. When you’re fighting about your trust issues a mere 36 hours after this conversation, you’ll regret not pulling the plug.
7. Choose the when, where, and why carefully
Unless you’re trying to end a long-distance relationship, try to do it face-to-face. Breaking up over a text is basically like you saying, “I’d like to end things, but I’d also like to disrespect you in the process and not give you any closure.” And since you’re not the devil’s spawn, you can be a little nicer about it. Consider where you’d want to do it, why you’re doing it and when would be the best time to do it. You don’t want to break up with this person days before a vital examination.
Related Reading: Should I Break Up With My Boyfriend? 11 Signs It Is Probably Time
8. No, we can’t be friends
Meaning, make sure you establish clear boundaries. Especially if you want to break up with your boyfriend without any reason or end things without your girlfriend out of the blue, they may think you’ll eventually come around. Let them know that you expect them to respect your boundaries. Even so, you still want to be able to say things to end a relationship on good terms. So, instead of saying, “Please don’t even talk to me again”, maybe say, “I don’t think it’s the best idea to remain friends, it might complicate things”.
- Before you end a relationship, make sure you want the breakup
- Ending a relationship isn’t easy but if it is not working out, you need to be firm about your decision
- Take advice from a third person and play out the conversation in your head
- The most important rule is to make sure you are respectful and don’t end up saying things that will leave a deep scar
An amicable breakup — however bizarre that sounds — may be the difference between a smooth moving on the process, or suffering through months of anxiety and anger. Whether you’re trying to figure out what to say to end a casual relationship or how to end a relationship with a married man, ending it on a positive note will make things a lot easier. You’ll essentially make sure you won’t experience nasty recurring fights, or have to ward off the abusive drunk calls at 2 AM. When push comes to shove, make sure you’re honest, kind, and clear.
This article has been updated in October 2022
What to say to end a relationship is all about being honest, kind, and clear about your intentions. Make sure you don’t play the blame game and use “I” statements instead. Let them know what you feel is the problem and why you think it’s best to go your separate ways, but don’t be brutal about it.
Instead of saying, “You’re jealous and possessive, I don’t like you,” say things like “We’re not as compatible as we used to be, and I don’t feel the same way about you.” When thinking about what words to use, try to spin them in a kind and clear way, while still being honest.
To make sure you don’t hurt someone, try to put yourself in their shoes before you do it. How would you like someone to end things with you? Try to be empathetic, kind, and not brutally honest. Use “I” statements instead of blaming them, and let them say their piece.