The 5 Most Cowardly Ways To Break Up With Someone

There's a right way to break up with someone, but these 5 ways are not.

Last updated on Sep 03, 2023

woman sad, reading break up text donald_gruener, Marlene Leppanen | Canva

By Dia Darling

I’ve never heard someone refer to their breakup as a fun conversation. In fact, I’m pretty sure we can all agree even in the worst relationships it can be hard ending things with someone.

No matter how you do it, it will be awkward and probably emotional, but just because you want to end a relationship doesn’t make you the “bad guy/girl”. It’s how you handle it that really matters.


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Here are 5 of the most cowardly ways to break up with someone:

1. Ghosting

My generation has developed this nasty little trend that is done so much it’s even been given a name: ghosting.


Instead of actually having enough respect for the person they are with to just break up with them, they “phase” them out. Hanging out less and less. Texting less. Missing date nights and then eventually just disappearing completely. 

This is so bad because all you are doing is dragging it out, making them feel more insecure and worthless because they feel like they aren’t even important enough for you to address until finally they take the hint and move on.

2. Online*

There are a couple of ways to break up with someone online and guess what… all of them make you a horrible human being who deserves to be kicked.

Email: I am a writer so I totally understand the desire to write down your feelings just to get them out and say what you need to say. I even believe it’s okay to send the email to start a conversation but if your email actually ends the relationship it’s not the adult way of handling it. A letter is a great way to express your feelings, not to break up with your partner.


Facebook: If you change your status from “In a Relationship” to “Single”, your S.O. will definitely take the hint… the hint that you are a bad person. Finding out your “boyfriend” is no longer your boyfriend when a friend texts you, “Are you okay, I saw you broke up,” is not the way to go.

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3. In a text message

Breaking up in a text message may not be as bad as an email but it’s still bad.

Here is the biggest problem with giving any bad news via text message… in most cases, you don’t know where they are, what they are doing, or who they are with. Right before a meeting with their boss, right after someone just cut them off and stole their parking spot, as they are about to walk into a final… if you’re giving them bad news at least be considerate enough to do it when they can talk to you.  


You may not be able to provide them with an answer that will provide instant closure, but at least they can feel like they have to say anything they need to.

Also, what if they don’t see it right away? Then when they respond hours later looking for some kind of closure or information you may not be able to text back making them feel even worse.

4. By cheating

If you want to act like a single person then be a single person. Don’t start living your single life before you’re actually in it.

Having your S.O. find out your relationship is over while you’re getting it on with your next, is a bad look. The biggest insult to injury is moving on before you’ve let the other person go.


Cheating on someone instead of breaking up with them doesn’t just say, “I don’t like you anymore” but also “I have no respect for you. I’m free to move on with other people but I’m going to hold on to you just in case.”

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5. Forcing them to break up with you

One of the most cowardly ways to end a relationship is by forcing the other person to break up with you.

This is when someone decides they are over the relationship but doesn’t want to be responsible for hurting the other person. So they start being extra moody, extra neglectful, and even mean. Treating them so badly that eventually, they break up with you.


The sad thing about this one is a lot of time the person they are dating will hold on for weeks or months and make excuses for their partner’s behavior in hopes things will return to normal.

No matter what breaking up is hard on everyone, but try to make things a little better on the other person. Give them the respect of a face-to-face conversation. Once you know you’re no longer interested in being with them, let them go and set them free. Don’t waste their time or prevent them from being with someone who wants to be with them.

*If you are in different states and won’t see each other for months and you want out I don’t think Skype or over the phone is that horrible (but that’s when face-to-face is nearly impossible).


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Dia Darling is a freelance writer, marketing coordinator, and blogger. She's a former contributor to SheKnows and BlogHer.