Ready to call it quits? Here’s a guide to dumping someone without being a giant asshole
The kindest and most compassionate way to do it
by Nian Hu
It's time to end things. You can feel it in your gut. It was good while it lasted, but it's just not worth it anymore. At the beginning of the relationship, you couldn't even imagine your life without your partner. But now…? Well, a lot has changed. You learned a lot about yourself, you learned a lot about your partner, and eventually you came to the difficult conclusion that — for whatever reason — it's not working out.
Contrary to popular belief, being the dumper isn't necessarily easier than being the dumpee. Regardless of who actually initiates the "We need to have a talk…" conversation, it's going to suck. That's 100% guaranteed. But you don't want to be a huge asshole about it to your partner. After all, you still care about them! Granted, there's a lot that you can't control. You could break up with them in the kindest, most compassionate way possible and they will STILL feel extremely hurt. That's just part of the deal, unfortunately. What you CAN do, however, is not make this shitty process even shittier. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Slowly prepare your partner for the inevitable
Dumping someone is really fucking hard, so you probably want to just get it over with — rip off that Band-Aid in one go! But hear me out. There is truly nothing worse than a breakup that comes out of the blue. Sure, this breakup might feel like a long time coming for YOU, but that might not be the case for THEM. And if you tell them "I love you" one day and then break up with them the next, you're almost certainly going to give them some major trust issues that they'll carry over into their next relationship.
So, if you don't want your partner to feel blindsided, you need to slowly prepare them for the inevitable separation. You need to have an honest conversation with them about how you're not happy with the relationship anymore. Give them tangible reasons: your schedules don't line up, your personalities aren't compatible, your core values are too different. This conversation will be hard — they might get defensive, they might promise you that things will change, and they will almost certainly get emotional — but it's also necessary. Don't be a coward, alright?
Deliver the bad news in person — at your own place
Along the lines of not being a coward, you also don't want to be that person who breaks up with their partner over text — UNLESS your partner was abusive, in which case, fuck them. Break up with them over text. Never see them ever again. Live happily ever after. If your partner wasn't an abusive piece of shit, however, you should really do your best to deliver the bad news in person. If you're doing long distance, this will obviously be a lot harder, so you should try to do it over Skype or the phone or SOMETHING other than a sudden 2 a.m. "im breaking up w u" text that will almost certainly leave your partner reeling.
Set up a time and place to have this hard conversation. Preferably a private place, because getting dumped in public is the absolute WORST. Don't be a dick about it though! Like, don't choose a place that they love, because chances are this experience will leave them scarred — and do you really want them to burst into tears every time they pass by their favorite restaurant, unable to go inside ever again because they associate it with this terrible moment? Similarly, you also don't want to dump them at their own place, because they'll forever associate their own home with…you. Yeesh. That's just unnecessarily mean. Instead, you should do this at your own place. This is perfect because it gives your ex the chance to walk out of there and never be reminded of the breakup ever again. And honestly, that's the kindest thing you could do for them at this point.
Listen to them and respect their needs
During the actual breakup, you need to be hyper-aware of how your partner is reacting. Sure, the breakup conversation will mostly consist of you talking — but you also have to make sure to listen to your partner. What do they need from you right now? Whatever it is, give it to them (within reason, obviously). And if you're not sure what they need, then ASK!
If they say they want to be alone for a bit, then get the fuck out of there — even if you feel super guilty, even if you want to hang back and make sure they're okay. On the other hand, if they're asking you to stay and talk some more, then you need to actually sit there and BE there for them. I'm not saying you have to stay there for hours and walk them hand-in-hand through their emotional turmoil, but you can at least spare a couple minutes to be there for them while they're processing what just happened. Take care of yourself obviously, but also do your best to take care of your (now ex) partner.
Give them space after the breakup
After you break up with them, you need to back the FUCK off. I mean it! Your ex is feeling all kinds of emotions right now — grief, rage, frustration, disappointment — so the last thing they need is for you to barge in and make them feel even more confused about what the fuck is going on. The absolute cruelest thing you can do right now is give them false hope. So unless they reach out to you first, do NOT contact them. Not even to check up on them! They do NOT need to see your name popping up on their notifications! It might feel cruel to not even send them a quick text a few days later saying "hey, hope you're doing okay" but REFRAIN!
If they reach out to you, keep your responses brief and make it clear that you're not changing your mind. If they ask to see you one more time, even just as friends, stick to your guns and tell them that it's best to spend some time apart until both of you have recovered — a process that might take months. Yeah, it'll suck to not talk to them, especially since you've spent so much time with them and you probably miss them a lot. But you have to keep yourself distant. You can't be their therapist, and you can't be their support system anymore. Give them the opportunity to spend some quality time with their friends, their family, and themselves.
And please, for the love of all things holy, do NOT hook up with them again!! Especially if you have no intention of taking them back!! I'm sure you miss having sex with them, but this will only prolong their suffering (as well as yours). The kindest thing you can do for them now is let them go. You've made your decision — now let them rebuild their lives without you in it.