One of my best friends is currently going through a breakup, and unfortunately, it's an amicable one. Why are mutual, friendly breakups always the hardest? See, my friend and her boyfriend love one another very much, but they're no longer in love with each other. Their relationship became a partnership. They became best friends — roommates, essentially — and the passion was gone. They desperately needed to end their relationship, but neither of them knew how.
What's the best way to end things with someone you still care about? I mean, there's no instruction manual for that. But you're welcome in advance, because I just wrote you one. Here's how to break up with someone you love, because it really is one of the hardest things to do.
1. Tell Them You're Not Ready For A Relationship
Or at least say that you're not ready for a romantic one with them. While you might date someone and honestly develop feelings for them, it's possible they're not the kind of emotions necessary to sustain a relationship. If you're not ready for a committed relationship with someone, then let them know.
No one likes to be strung along, led on, breadcrumbed, cushioned, zombied, or whatever dating trend involves not being courageous enough to tell someone you love the truth. So if you're seeing someone you love, but aren't in love with, let them know explicitly and honestly that you aren't ready for a relationship with them right now. Just make sure your actions match up with that statement as well. Mixed signals are the worssstttt.
2. Let Them Know They Deserve Better
If you truly love and care about someone, then you know they deserve a relationship with someone who is emotionally and physically available. If that's not you, then it's time to set them free. And while sometimes this can come off as a "it's not you, it's me" rejection, it still rings true.
When you really love someone, you know that they deserve the best version of you and they deserve to be happy. You should probably press pause on a relationship if you can't give that to them right now.
3. Tell Them The Truth
When we're rejected, we wonder what we did wrong. Was I a bad partner? Was I mean? Selfish? Not give enough time to my relationship? Not always. Sometimes, the love is still there, it just changed its shape, meaning, and intention.
And although it can be hard to hear, telling your partner you still love them, but you're not in love with them, can provide the other person with important closure needed when a relationship ends. Plus, knowing that your partner still loves you in the general caring sense can give you great comfort when healing your broken heart.
4. Say You'd Be Better Off As Friends
While "let's just be friends" is a hard phrase to utter out of your mouth, you'd be surprised at how many times your partner might actually feel the same way. I once had an ex-boyfriend whom I cared about very deeply, but realized that we had slowly just turned into best friends. We weren't hooking up frequently (if at all), and he felt more like my roommate than my boyfriend.
One day, I mustered up the courage to tell him I loved him very much, but thought that he and I should just detour into being friends. And it turned out he was so relieved. He wasn't into me that way either! (It stung a little at first, but as soon as my ego got out of the way, I was relieved.) While we both needed a few months of a grace period to get fully over one another, we quickly became true friends, and we still are seven years later.
Breaking up with someone is hard. And if you still love them, it's even harder. While the truth hurts sometimes, it's important to be honest with your partner to have true closure in your relationship. Your partner deserves to be with someone who is in love with them, so if you don't feel that way, maybe it's time to set them free.
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