It's really tough to break up with someone who still loves you. However, just because someone loves you, does not mean that they have a right to be with you. Love is not a binding contract. While it is extremely difficult to figure out how to break up with someone who loves you in a way that causes the least amount of harm, you should know that deciding not to be with a person anymore is perfectly OK. You do not owe a relationship to someone, and love is not a form of ownership.
When breaking up with someone who still loves you, you need to understand that no matter what you do, you are going to hurt the person. That does not mean that you are a bad person for doing it. It's just a fact. There are ways, though, to minimize the pain you cause while still treating that person with the dignity and respect every person deserves.
What it comes down to is owning your decision and making your actions reflect your intention. Here are some tips to follow so you can make sure your breakup does just that.
1. Make It Clear That It's Permanent
When you are breaking up with someone who is still madly, deeply in love with you, do not provide them with anything that would make them believe there is hope for you two to get back together — not even if you think there is a chance that you two will reunite. If you are breaking up with someone who is madly in love with you, then you hold the power in the relationship right now. Treat your ex with compassion.
You wouldn't feel good if you were being strung along by someone, and when someone really wants to stay in a relationship, they will cling on to any hope that it will work out. When you are breaking up, don't say that you don't want to be together "right now." Say that you don't want to be together, period. It might sound harsh, and you might be tempted to say "right now" in order to soften the blow, but all it will do is give your ex something to hold out for. If you're breaking up with them, you have to give up being with them as an option forever.
2. Don't You Dare Have Breakup Sex
Breakup sex is probably some of the hottest sex ever, but if you are breaking up with someone who is still in love with you, under no circumstances should you indulge. The amount of hurt you are causing them will be increased a hundred fold when you leave. It will deepen the wound of your breakup and make closure for them more impossible.
If you are still in love with the person you are breaking up with or if you really do care for them, you will respect them enough not to take advantage of their feelings for you by having sex with them. You'll understand that it sends a mixed message and the pleasure of the moment won't help with the pain.
3. Establish A Boundary And Stick To It
When you are breaking up with someone who is still deeply in love with you, treating them with respect means that you will clearly communicate to them that you are not going to communicate with them further. By no means should you continue to talk to someone after you break up with them. That's something you have to lose along with the relationship.
Tell your partner that you think it's best if you do not talk for a while. Then, stick to the plan. Do not initiate a text conversation with them. If your ex texts you, tell them kindly and yet firmly that you both need space from one another and time to process your heartbreak. It will be the best for both of you.
4. Respect Your Ex's Space When It's Over
When you break up with someone who is deeply in love with you, it is your responsibility to give them a wide berth. If you share the same friend circle, then you are the one who needs to bow out of attending social events. Do not go if your ex is going to be there, and do not be the one who forces your ex to stay home.
The reality is that your ex is going to be the one who is having the more difficult time with this breakup. It might still hurt for you, too, but the more time you give them around their friends, the more opportunity they have to move on from you. That's what you need to want for them.
And by all means, if you start seeing someone new, do not bring them around wherever your ex might be. A friend's ex once brought his date into the restaurant where she was working. I've also had boyfriends who literally bought the house behind mine, and I would have to see him and his girlfriend all the time. It's bad form on your part and, honestly, just pretty disrespectful. Give your ex the space they need to heal with dignity.
5. Do Not Say That You Want To Be Friends
If your ex is still madly in love with you, they might be willing to take whatever they can get from the relationship. The chance to keep you in their life as a friend is something they will grab for if you offer it. But don't, not because you don't like your ex — I'm sure you do — and not because you don't actually want to be a stranger to them. Don't tell them that you want to be friends, because you weren't friends in the first place. You were lovers. That's different.
Maybe you can be friends several months or years from now, but before that happens, you both need to give yourself time to move on. Friendship will also have to happen organically. When you break up with someone, you risk losing them from your life altogether. It's neat if you can circle back to one another eventually, in a healthy way, but that can't be something either of you plan for. A breakup needs to be treated like the ending it is. When you are breaking up with someone who is madly in love with you, do not force your relationship to become something it never was in the first place.
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