Breaking up with anyone is rarely an easy feat, but breaking up with someone who still loves you is exceptionally hard — especially if there's nothing actually wrong with the relationship. The sad truth is that not all relationships are meant to last forever, even if you achingly want them to, and even if the person you're ending things with hasn't done anything wrong. Our feelings are often out of our control, and we can't force ourselves to love someone who's done everything right or to un-love someone who does us more harm than good.
So when you realize you don't want to be with your partner anymore, but you know they're as in love with you as ever, how can you make the decision to end things with as minimal heartbreak as possible? "The best thing you can do is sit down with them in person (no text breakups) and have a really kind, honest, and compassionate conversation with them," Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily. "Do your best to end things on good terms and then go no-contact after that so that both of you can have time and space away from the relationship, gain clarity, and start the healing process," she explains. "It is never easy to hurt someone, but staying in a relationship that is not working just because you are afraid to hurt someone is doing both of you a disservice."
The amount of time the two of you should go "no-contact" for is a decision you have to make together. If they never want to speak to you again, it may hurt, but if that's what they want in the moment, the best thing you can do for them is accept it and hope one day they'll change their mind. "Agree on a period of no contact: 30 days, 60 days, etc.," Nicole Richardson, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Elite Daily. "If you really care about them and want to minimize their hurt, let them know that you hope you can be friends some day. And in order to make that happen, you will need to make a clean break and not keep in constant contact because that will only drag the hurt out."
If the idea of breaking up with your partner scares you, trust me — you're not alone. I broke up with my ex of two-and-a-half years because I simply didn't want to be in that relationship anymore. I put it off for as long as I could, constantly telling myself it was nothing but typical commitment jitters, until it got to the point where it just wasn't fair anymore. I had been having doubts about our relationship since the beginning, and he had no idea. I loved who he was as a person and how he treated me, and I didn't want to hurt him. In the end, I did anyway — more than I would've had I ended things sooner.
"Just because someone loves you (or vice versa), it doesn’t mean the relationship is working," Leckie explains. "If you stay in something longer than you want to just because the other person loves you, you are not loving yourself. Not to mention, you are pretty much just prolonging the inevitable, which will make it harder in the long run for both of you." I was too busy caring about him, fighting what I was feeling to spare his feelings, that I didn't realize I stopped being concerned with my own emotions. Don't make the same mistake I did, despite how good of a person your partner is or how amazing they've always treated you.
If you switch your perspective a bit, it might ease the looming breakup pains. Don't look at your wanting out of the relationship as hurting your partner. Try to see it as you pushing them one step closer to the person who is right for them, even though that person isn't you. The sooner you end things, the sooner they can move on and find their person, and the sooner you can do the same. Everyone deserves that, right?
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