How To Break Up With Someone As Respectfully As Possible

Depart with grace.

Woman delicately breaking up with partner Gabriel Ponton | Unsplash

Being in a relationship may be one of the best things to happen to you, but unfortunately, not all relationships last forever — nor do they always end well. When you've come to the realization that it's time to break up, sometimes, it's up to you to do the difficult thing and break up with your partner. Yes, breaking up is hard to do, but with careful planning and empathy, you can break up with someone in a way that leaves both people with their dignity.


To minimize the pain of heartbreak so you can both learn how to move on and recover faster, there are some tips to keep in mind.

Here's how to break up with someone as respectfully as possible.

1. Keep a level head

It's natural to experience intense emotions when a once-healthy relationship starts to deteriorate. Practice relaxation techniques or talk things over with a friend and try to bring your emotions under control and see the situation objectively.

a breath of fresh airPhoto: Aleshyn_Andrei via Shutterstock


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2. Gauge the potential for conflict resolution

Take a close look at the issues that are troubling you. Learning to ask for what you need and negotiating win-win solutions can often strengthen a relationship before it comes to initiating a breakup.

3. Take responsibility for your actions

Hold yourself accountable for whatever decision you make. If you accept that you contributed to the decline of your relationship, your partner is more likely to adopt a similar approach.

4. Practice what you need to say

You'll feel more comfortable if you know the main points you want to communicate. With practice, you're more likely to articulate your message more clearly and avoid saying hurtful things you might later regret.


5. Have a face-to-face discussion

Whenever possible, it's courteous to end a relationship in person. It shows more respect for the other person's feelings and gives them a chance to find closure.

6. Show your appreciation

There's a reason you got together in the first place. Let your partner know the good qualities that you admire in them and tell them how being with them has enriched your life.


7. Listen to the other person's side

Give the other person a chance to talk about what they're experiencing. They may have a different view of the same events or want to express their feelings.

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8. Stay on track

Focus on your purpose of ending the relationship. It's kinder and more effective to be decisive than to offer false hopes of getting back together. No matter what brought you to this point, you both still deserve to be in healthy relationships.

9. Give each other recovery time

It's wonderful if you can remain friends. However, you'll probably need time apart to sort things out.




On social networking sites, consider blocking them for a few weeks so you're not tempted to check in on them and vice versa.

10. Return each other's possessions

Some people like to clear away mementos and some just want to get their valuables back. Be cooperative in trying to get anything important home to its original owner in good shape.

11. Avoid flaunting your new relationship

It's good to be tactful if you're the first one to start dating again. Think twice if you suspect that posting all the details of your latest fling on social media might hurt someone's feelings.


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12. Remember the good times you shared

According to research, reflecting on positive memories of past relationships not only helps you appreciate new relationships more, but also allows you to heal more fully post-breakup. Give yourself time and be gentle with yourself while you're adjusting.

13. Speak well of each other

Speaking well of your ex-partner will help protect you from negative thoughts that only disturb your peace of mind. It also makes you look more dignified.



14. Change your routine

Even unpleasant life changes unlock new opportunities. Sign up for a cooking lesson or rediscover an old hobby. If you're alone on Saturday night, reconnect with old friends for dinner and a show.


Even when you're the one who initiated the split, getting over a breakup can still be a distressing event.

Communicating with respect and kindness will help you depart with grace and make it easier for you both to heal and make a fresh start.

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Moira Hutchison is a mindfulness coach, energy healer, and hypnotherapist at Wellness With Moira.