Here’s How To Break Up With Someone Who’s Just Not For You In The Nicest Way Possible

In the early stages of dating, it can take some time to figure out if you're with someone who's a good long-term match. Unfortunately, if you realize that you're dating someone who isn't a good fit, breaking up with them can be a challenge. When you break up with someone who’s just not for you, it's important to be as kind as possible. We've all been on the other side of this situation, and finding out that the person you're really into doesn't feel the same way can be really painful. Considering how to navigate this tricky situation in the least hurtful way possible can make a huge difference for the other person.

I spoke to NYC relationship expert Susan Winter to find out the best way to break up with someone without causing them unnecessary pain. The good news is by cutting them loose before their emotional investment becomes stronger, you could be saving them even more discomfort down the line. However, if you're OK with making major compromises, Winter also notes that there's nothing inherently wrong with dating someone who might not be an obvious fit. If, however, you've already decided that breaking up is the right move, here's the right way to get the job done.

1. Be clear.

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"Let this person know that you value them, but you don't see a future," explains Winter. "Be kind and thoughtful and remember, their emotions and ego are on the line." Even though being direct can feel intense, if you're not clear there's always a possibility that they'll continue to pursue you.

2. Don't breadcrumb.

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Even though it may be tempting to leave the door open for a possible relationship in the future, putting someone on the backburner isn't cool. "Being vague is not being kind," says Winter. "Though it's uncomfortable for you to say, suck it up and shoot for clarity. Clarity equals kindness."

3. Construct the perfect phrase that's definitive and applicable.

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"Test out numerous phrases to see how they feel for your situation," recommends Winter. "For example: We're not going in the same direction; I feel we have different life goals and a different vision for our future; I don't feel a substantial connection; I honestly don't feel I can give you what you need; I'm not in a position now to take on a serious relationship right now."

Planning key phrases to deliver during your break up conversation can help avoid mincing words or getting sidetracked. So don't be afraid to map out your key talking points ahead of time.

4. Have a plan in case they resist.

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No matter how direct you are, there may be situations where someone may try to convince you to continue the relationship. In these cases, Winter suggests bringing in another element to shut down the possibility of staying together.

"If a date resists your attempts to move on, you need to introduce a third player," says Winter. "The ex is always a good option in cases like this. Mentioning that you've had unexpected contact from your ex and need to 'examine that relationship again' is a known 'out.' Or, say that you met someone prior to this person, with whom you feel a strong connection."

Sadly, breakups are rarely easy, even if you're the one doing the deed. However, once you know you're no longer interested in pursuing a future, being honest about that is key. Not stringing someone along is one of the best ways to demonstrate that you respect them and their time.