How To Break Up With Someone When You're The One Who Did Something Wrong

by Alison Segel

I once had to break up with a guy I cheated on, because I knew my infidelity meant I wasn't invested in the relationship. It's hard to know how to break up with someone at all, but particularly when you're the one at fault for your relationship going down the drain. But the truth is, if you know your relationship is over, the best thing you can do for your partner is end it. I was acting out because I no longer cared about my partner, and it was better to end our relationship than to keep inflicting necessary pain and distance upon him.

I've also been on the other side of things, as I've been broken up with by someone who cheated on me. And at the time, I couldn't understand it. How could my boyfriend be unfaithful, and then break up with me? I didn't even do anything wrong! It felt like a punch to the gut — bad news piled upon more bad news. But I guess, in hindsight, my ex did me a favor. Would I have preferred he stayed with me and continued to be unfaithful, or would I have preferred for him to fess up to his indiscretions and end things then and there?

If you misbehaved in your relationship, and you're no longer invested in your partner, it might be time to end things. So here's how to break up with someone, even when you're the one who did something wrong. Because no one ever said breakups are supposed to be fun.

Take Accountability

If you've messed up in your relationship, then it's important to hold yourself accountable for your actions. Usually, it's not the wrongdoing that people are mad at; it's the cover-up and the lying that are truly the most painful. So when it comes to accountability, this means apologizing if necessary and making amends for any harm you might have caused during your relationship.

It's always good to end things with your partner on good terms, if possible. The best way to do this is to admit your faults and apologize for them. That way, you can both move forward with a clear conscious and no resentment.

Be Honest

When it comes to relationships (and breakups), honesty is the best policy. That means no sugarcoating scenarios, no placing blame on other people or situations for why your relationship didn't work out, and no making up excuses as to why you need to break up.

Be honest with your feelings and why you don't want to be in a relationship with your partner anymore. Honesty is the best gift you can give someone to help them move on and get closure. So if you want a smooth breakup, although it seems scary, honesty is key.

Set Boundaries

When my ex cheated on me (and then broke up with me to be with the girl he cheated on me with), I was emotionally devastated. The worst part of it all was that he continued to send me mixed messages after we broke up. He'd call and text me to check in and make sure I was doing OK, and he'd drop by my house to let me know he was thinking of me. He'd even kiss me on occasion, claiming it was "so hard not to."

Granted, this was obviously a huge loser of a man I was dating. But when you break up with someone, and you're truly over the relationship, it's important to display appropriate boundaries so you don't end up leading your ex on. If there's not hope for a future, then don't act like there is. It'll only prolong the breakup, confuse you both, and cause your ex even more heartbreak than they're already experiencing.

Breaking up is hard to do, even if you're the one doing it. Be honest, take accountability for your actions, and don't lead your partner on. Even if you were the bad guy in your relationship, you still have the opportunity to be the good guy during your breakup.

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