Why It's So Hard To Break Up With Someone, Even If You Don't Love Them

What are you hanging on to?

man looking at woman who wants to break up with him NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock

Are you completely flummoxed about why it’s hard to break up with someone, even though you know the relationship will never work?

It seems like it should be easy! You don’t love them and you want to find someone you do love, so breaking up should be easy.


But once you understand why it's hard to be the one initiating the breakup, things become clearer — and I have come to learn that there are clear reasons why it’s hard to break up with someone even if you don’t love them.


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Knowing and understanding them might help you be able to take the step and break up with them so that you can both move on.

Here are 5 reasons why it's hard to break up with someone, even if you don't love them.

1. The idea of hurting them feels bad.

I have a friend who attracts girls like bees. It’s really amazing. And, almost without exception, especially if they sleep with him, he's rarely interested in a second date. And, almost without exception, those girls want a second date.


And do you know what he does? He doesn’t tell them he isn’t interested. He continues to interact with them but not as enthusiastically as he did before the date. They get clingy and insecure and he just pulls away further.

Ultimately, he leaves them more devastated than he might have if he was just honest with them from the start.

He does this because he's "afraid to hurt them,' but not being direct with someone, and just giving them less and less until you gradually disappear, is way more hurtful than being told the truth.

Pulling away from someone only damages their self-esteem every time you are vague and non-committal and removed.

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2. You don’t want to mess up your friend group.

I have two clients who both know that they aren’t right for each other but are worried about what will happen to their softball team if they break up.

Will they both continue to be able to play? Will the drinks out afterwards be uncomfortable?

I have a client who's considering a divorce. She's worried about who will get the friends after. Will they have to take turns hanging out with people? Will it get awkward? Would it make her feel bad if she wasn’t included in something?

Unfortunately, basing your decision on your social life is not a good idea. Yes, beers out after softball or not taking part in a dinner party might not feel good, in the moment, but they're just passing feelings — feelings that will change as time goes on.


Furthermore, if you're considering breaking up, you guys aren’t too much fun as a couple, so your social group might be happy if you two go your separate ways!

why it's so hard to break up with someoneBackkground Image Credit: Victoruler via Canva

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3. You're hoping things will change.

Breaking up means that you've accepted that things might never change, that as much as you hope they will go back to the way things were or improve in the future, they won’t.


One of my clients met the person she thought was the love of her life. And then she realized that he wasn’t. But, she was so focused on getting married and starting a family that she just couldn’t let go of her relationship.

Because she wanted what she wanted in her life, she just couldn’t let go of the fact that if she broke up with her guy, her dreams would be even further away. So, she hung on longer than she should have, putting off finding the guy of her dreams as a result.

So, if you still hope that your relationship will change, I respect that. But I encourage you to give it a good hard look and see if your hope is based on the quality of your relationship or based on what you want for your life.

If it’s the first, keep fighting. If it’s the second, it’s time to move on.


4. You believe that you will never love — or be loved — again.

I don’t think there's a single client who I've worked with who hasn’t been concerned about being alone forever if they break up with their person.

I, personally, remember thinking, in high school, that if my guy broke up with me, I might never love again.

I can tell you, with 100% certainty, that if you break up with someone who isn’t making you happy, and you're willing to put yourself out there again, you will find someone else to love you.

You're amazing and your person is out there waiting.

Furthermore, if you can’t break up with someone then you will be forever doomed to be unhappy because, if you are stuck in this relationship, you won’t be able to find someone else.


So, if you are finding it hard to break up with someone even if you don't love them, know that, if you do, if you can find the strength to do so, you will be way more likely to find the person of your dreams.

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5. You're worried that you're making a mistake.

I have a client who's been in a relationship with a man since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Within months she knew that this was not the guy for her. He wasn’t employed, his politics were way off, she always had to pay for things, he would gaslight her horribly and pitifully apologize for what he had said.

She was miserable and wanted out in a big way. But she couldn’t break up with him. She was worried that she was making a mistake.


From the outside looking in, I knew that she wasn’t making a mistake but there was nothing I could do to convince her — she was just too close to it all to see clearly.

My client had been told by her parents over and over that she made stupid decisions. No matter what the choice she made, they second-guessed her. As a result, she really struggles with the wisdom of her decision to break up with him, even if she no longer loves him.

To deal with this, I encouraged her to look at past relationships, ones that she ultimately ended. Did it take her a while to take action but she is glad that she did? And the answer was definitely "yes."


She managed to leave her husband after being unhappy for years. And, as a result, she was much happier. Recognizing this has helped her see that she can trust her own instincts, for her own happiness.

Finding it hard to break up with someone even if you don’t love them is not unusual.

You have all of this time invested in the relationship and you don’t like to give up on anything.

But you can do it! Knowing the signs will help.

If you can accept that there will be some pain and uncomfortableness around a breakup, if you can believe that you will be loved again, if you can have confidence that you aren’t making a mistake, then you will be able to break up with the person you don’t love and find a relationship that will make you happy!


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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based, certified life and love coach who works with clients to help them find and keep love.