Here's How To Break Up With Someone You Know Isn't "The One,” The Right Way

Often when a relationship ends, there's an inflection point that, even it’s been building for a long time, naturally leads into the moment where you break up. However, there are some cases where it's not a conclusive and final event that happens, but rather, it’s the slow and painful dawning realization that the person you're dating is not who you want spend your life with. This can be really painful, especially since it means you need to know how to break up with someone who isn’t the one just because they aren’t, well, “the one.”

In this kind of scenario, when it's not something they said or did that's making you want to leave the relationship, it's especially important to try and do it with kindness. And as Elle Huerta, CEO and founder of heartbreak recovery app Mend, tells Elite Daily, not all relationships are meant to last, and that's OK. “Remember that relationships that don't last forever can still be worthwhile if they help you grow and learn,” says Huerta. “However, if you no longer want to be in your relationship because you think it's holding you back from meeting 'the one,' then the nicest thing you can do is be direct and not leave it open-ended when you break up.”

If you know in your heart that it’s over, all that leaves is knowing how to end it. Here's how the experts say to break it off — as kindly as possible.

Do it in person, if it's safe
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I don’t know about you, but when it comes to doing things that are unpleasant, I am very skilled at avoidance. Hurting someone's feelings is kind of my worst nightmare, but when it comes to breaking up with someone, Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the breakup BOOST podcast tells Elite Daily you have to resist that selfish urge. “The worst thing you can do is break up over text message, so be sure to do it in person,” says Leckie. ”It’s much more respectful and mature that way. Sit them down and have a kind, caring, and compassionate discussion.”

Of course, this only applies to situations where it is safe to do so. Kerri-Anne Brown, LMHC and founder of Healing With Wisdom, a private psychotherapy practice in Orlando, Florida, says that the location where you have the conversation should be chosen with your safety foremost in your mind. “If you have concerns of safety or if your partner has displayed difficulty managing their anger in the past, breaking up in a public place would likely be best,” says Brown. “If the breakup is one of a more mutual nature, a face-to-face conversation in a quiet place is suitable. Even if you feel the person you’re dating has stronger feelings for you but they are level-headed and can engage rationally, a face-to-face conversation in a quiet place is suitable.”

How to end the relationship
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Once you’ve found the appropriate location for the talk, all that’s left is knowing what to to say. “It's natural to want to soften the blow with someone you care about,” says Huerta. “But being straightforward will cause much less heartbreak. Try to keep the other person's long-term feelings in mind, not just the short-term pain they'll experience. If you want them to be able to let go and find happiness outside of your relationship, the best thing you can do is be clear that they're not your person.”

Brown stresses that honesty, in this case, really is the best policy. “Share honestly how you feel and why the relationship is ending. This honesty allows partners to have genuine closure and even learn more about themselves. It provides an opportunity for personal growth which is helpful in future relationships.”

Leckie suggests that, if you want to soften the blow, you can begin with a compliment. “Start off the conversation by saying something positive about them and about the time you shared together,” she says. “You have to be aware that they may still get upset. It’s imperative that you stay calm. Ensure that you fully explain why you have made this decision and allow them to ask any questions they have so that they aren’t left wondering why or feeling like they didn’t get ‘closure.’”

What not to say
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Knowing what not to say when you're breaking up with someone is just as important as knowing what to say. After all, you don't want to pour salt on fresh wounds. Grace Lee, co-founder of A Good First Date, tells Elite Daily you also don't want to say anything that might lead them on. “Don't leave it vague,” says Lee. “With a clean break the other person can heal and move on, and move on they must! Wishy washy reasons why can lead to further frustration.” Lee explains that the kindest thing you do can do for your soon-to-be ex is to make it clear it's final. “Close the loop and wish them the best,” she says. “Remaining friends may be an option farther down the line, much farther. Give them time and space to heal and move on.”

Ultimately, that's the most important takeaway: By breaking up with someone you know in your heart you don't have a future with, though it may hurt in the moment, you're actually freeing them — and yourself — up to find a better and more fulfilling love with someone who is “the one.” "Know that you did what is best for you and don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty for breaking up with them," says Leckie. "You can’t just stay with someone you are unhappy with or who is not a good match for you in order to protect their feelings.”