The butterflies flying around your stomach, your heart doing somersaults every time you see each other, the warmth of their lips on yours—these things tell our body that we care deeply for someone. Your shattered feelings won’t get spared from the death that losing interest can feel like. Some of us start feeling the butterflies dying off one by one, and our partner’s lips starting to feel colder with each kiss. Things must come to an end and quickly. Finding the words to let the other person down gently seems difficult, but not impossible. With thought and careful navigation, you will get through this.
Read on for a how-to guide of 10 ways to let you partner know the spark died.
1. Tell The Truth
Honesty can help you close the door from letting drama from confusion flood in. Don’t tell your partner lies to avoid hurting their feelings. Even if you think it’ll lessen the blow of you breaking the news to them. Instead, just tell the truth. You can preserve someone’s feelings by just telling them exactly why you wish to end the relationship. Not only will it end quicker, but the band aid will rip off easier as well.
Truth plays the most important role of letting someone down. Lying only adds unnecessary fuel to an already blazing fire. Coming right out with how you feel will give your partner the closure they need. It can also limit the amount of time they stay up wondering what went wrong. As for you, you get to walk away with a clear conscious.
If you really want to let them down gently, just straight up say what you want to say. Don’t leave your partner guessing. This will only come across as toxic and confusing for everyone. Take them by the hand and lead them through the misty maze of confusion by telling them the truth. Let truth lead the way.
2. Respect Your Partner’s Feelings
Burning bridges helps no one. You lose a lot more than you gain by disrespecting your partner’s feelings. In the process, you destroy the feelings of someone who you once cared for you. From all the nights of staying up and talking through problems, to the tears that you wiped away for them as they left their eyelids, they meant something to you. So, don’t lose a valuable person with carelessness.
Tearing them down like a spider web that blocks your pathway will not make you or your partner feel any better about breaking up. You’ll leave your partner feeling like a soda can blowing down a busy highway. Respect kills two birds with one stone: you set new boundaries and leave feeling good about yourself.
3. Talk To Them In Person
In-person communication, the best way to avoid your partner from falling into the trap of confusion. Take the time out to construct what you will say to your partner and go say it to their face. Although quick and convenient, text messages remain too open for interpretation. When face to face, you can read each other’s expressions and body language. The act of meeting in person also seems more mature and caring than a voicemail. Swallow your fear and face your problems head on.
“Talking in person makes it easier for both partners to get closure,” Penn State senior Janicka Bell said. “Nobody wants to feel worthless and breaking up with someone over text can make someone feel that way.”
Closure and sparing the feelings of the one person you once held so near outweighs convenience. Even if the phone sits closer to you than a drive to their house, the choice to take the easy way out is not the right one. No matter how nerve-wrecking the situation seems, you must act maturely. That one breakup text that makes sense to you may play out another way in your partner’s head. Where you see a brick wall, they may see a dark tunnel with light at the end of it. Too many questions come along with breaking up through text messaging. When talking in person, you can explain yourself in real time. So don’t feel like you need to worry about leaving any strings untied. Don’t exchange texts for hours trying to answer everything. Show your face and get the job done quick.
4. Be Straightforward
With your honesty and courage, raise your face, keep your eyes straight ahead and speak. Let your feelings act as the handles of a sink and your mouth the water that pours out. Don’t beat around the bush and waste everyone’s time with childish games. As you both sit face to face, let your feelings get a taste of the outside air.
“Our lives are too short to waste time with people that aren’t for us, so if you’re not happy, I think it’s best just to be straightforward,” Penn State University sophomore Calvin Tran said.
Happiness should always come in first place in the race of life. Remind yourself that the sadness that comes after the conversation won’t hang around for long. Your partner will feel better and so will you. Bluntness feels like death by sword, quick and strong! No one can misconstrue your words if you add in sternness and truth! Asking about the weather or listening intently to how your partner’s day went wastes everybody’s time. Small talk works when getting into a relationship, not when you need to end one. Walk in with your head held high and your shoulders back, sit across from them and start talking about the issue at hand.
5. Show Kindness
Try to resist the urge to scream in their face or give them attitude for not understanding. As the saying goes, “you get more bees with honey than vinegar.” The news will probably strike them like a knife. Do you really need to apply more pressure to their fresh wound? No, you don’t. Avoid hurting their feelings, wrap your words in nice and shiny wrapping paper and let them down gently. Speak to them sternly, but don’t forget to soften your tone, maintain eye contact, speak slowly and answer all their reasonable questions.
6. Go To Them, Don’t Make Them Come to You
Whether thousands of miles separate the two of you or you can simply walk around the corner to see each other, don’t make your partner go out of their way for you. Imagine the excitement you felt when you got a “let’s hang out” text. How good did you once feel when making your way to see them? Your smile stretched across your entire face and you felt the joy in your cheeks. Now imagine you showing up just for them to sit you down and talk about how much love wandered away from the two of you. Then, you make the journey all the way back home with a shattered heart.
“I made sure I went all the way down to them, it was a bit of a longer distance, but I went to them out of respect,” Penn State senior Jacob Michael said. “I didn’t want her to travel for something or pay for an event that would end up hurting her.”
Not only should you spare their feelings, but their pockets too. One final act of caring can really show them how much they still mean to you. Going the extra mile to make your partner feel that last bit of comfort could potentially make up for the heartbreak coming their way. Spare them that miserable walk or drive home by going to them instead.
7. Talk To Someone About Your Feelings
Confiding in someone else about our breakups can help steer us in the right direction. The person we talk to could even make us feel better about our decision. When we only consult with ourselves, our judgement can get clouded. As a result, what we think comes off as nice and sweet, in reality, doesn’t. Getting a second opinion on our actions and words can prevent the dreadful “what-ifs” from popping up.
“I’m the one more likely to break it off with someone,” Penn State junior Mariam Tananibe said. “I probably could have done better by making my feelings clearer and not being wishy-washy.”
Spare yourself the pacing around your room wondering if you will do the right thing. Get that second opinion and listen to any feedback you get. Talk to someone you trust and someone who can tell you the truth.
8. Make Sure They Know They Didn’t Do Anything Wrong
When the person you love breaks up with you, it can get hard not to blame yourself for the devasting end. Making sure that your partner knows they didn’t do anything wrong will make ending things easier for both of you. Naturally, your partner may believe that they did something to make you uninterested. Let them know that feelings fade like words in an old book without any fault of theirs. “You deserve better” or “it’s not you, it’s me” don’t get the job done like you think they do. They sound rehearsed and insincere.
“It sounds cliché, and it makes them feel like it really is them.” Penn State University junior Lindsey Singletary said.
Losing feelings happens all the time. As we grow older, we lose interest in hobbies we once loved. Foods even begin to taste differently and our tastebuds cringe when they touch our tongues. Similarity, in life, people outgrow each other and wish to move on. Make sure your partner knows that change comes from no fault of their own.
9. Continue To Support Them
As awkward as it may sound, let your partner know that even though things didn’t work out romantically, they can still pick up the phone and call you whenever. After all, the relationship didn’t end on bad terms. The timing just didn’t match up with your feelings. You don’t need to show up at every soccer match they play in or attend every violin concert they sit first chair in. Still, you can simply press the green button on your screen when their call comes through.
10. Don’t Argue With Them
This doesn’t mean allow them to say whatever they want. You should just try to think about your sentences before you say them. Emotions will get the best of us in times of vulnerability, causing us to say things we don’t mean or forget the things we truly want to say. So, practice what you want to say in the mirror. Stare at your reflection looking back at you and say exactly what you plan to say to your partner. Lean in closely towards yourself and work on that tone. Since delivery plays the most important role in communication, speak carefully.
All in all, break-ups sit heavily in the hearts of everyone that experiences them. Things can feel great one hour and then suddenly turn bad the next. No matter how passionate you feel about ending things, remembering the importance of kindness, respect, straight shooting and telling the truth. This will help you end the relationship on good terms.