How To Break Up With Someone Who's Super Sensitive, While Still Standing Your Ground

by Alison Segel

I'm the person people are afraid to break up with. Why? Because I can go a little bit cray cray. Like, "drive past your house and refuse to admit to myself that we are broken up" cray cray. It's not easy to know how to break up with someone (like me), especially when you know they're extremely sensitive or prone to having their feelings hurt. But you can't stay with someone forever just because you're afraid of hurting their feelings. That does a disservice to both you, your partner, and your relationship. It's better to just break up than to date someone you know isn't right for you.

Breakups with people who seem like you can't break up with them don't have to be impossible. In fact, there's a way to do it with love and care, so it's actually easier. When I'm being broken up with, all I really want is to feel seen, heard, and respected. I want to know that I'm still loved, and that our time together was special and always will be. It's then that I'm OK with letting go. But if I feel like my partner is being flagrantly disrespectful of my feelings or isn't acknowledging or honoring the time we had together, I kind of flip out a bit. LOL!

So here is how to break up with someone who is sensitive, while still standing your ground. You know, with a sensitive person like me!

1. Acknowledge That They Process Things Differently

People deal with emotions differently, and feelings are not facts. Just because you are emotionally over something, doesn't mean that the situation is emotionally over for someone else. If you stopped being invested in your relationship months ago, understand that your partner could potentially still be in the thick of their feelings for you. Be patient with how your partner reacts to the breakup talk, even if you find it surprising or unrelatable.

2. Follow Their Lead

I tend to laugh and make jokes during awkward situations. The term "laughs at a funeral" was pretty much made for me. I don't know if it's some sort of defense mechanism, but I need humor to lighten up otherwise heavy or sad situations.

However, not everyone is like that. So when it comes to a breakup, read the room. If your partner is looking for a hug, hug them. If they want to talk about the past, take a walk down memory lane. If they're sensitive, it might be time to cater to their needs for a bit, so they feel satiated and get the closure that they crave to move on.

3. Be Firm, But Gentle

Catering to your partner's needs doesn't mean enabling them. Make sure that you get your point across, too, in a way that's gentle, yet firm. You don't want to be too aggressive with an otherwise sensitive person, but do make your point clear, as to not lead your partner on or give room for any misunderstanding.

4. Listen

Sometimes sensitive people just want to be heard for a bit and need some time to cry or vent. While it might feel a little awkward, give your partner some time to grieve — potentially in front of you.

5. Set Boundaries

I can be a stage five clinger after a breakup. Being sensitive, I like to text my exes every five minutes to let them know I am feeling sad. I also like to ask them if they can come over to give me a hug. Essentially, I like to break up over and over and over again.

In order to avoid that kind of trap, set firm boundaries for breakup behaviors. Figure out whether you are going to talk or hang out once you're not together, and if so, how often that can happen. Then, even when it's hard, make sure you stick to those boundaries, and remind each other of them when or if they're broken.

Breaking up is hard, especially if your partner is more sensitive or processes emotions differently than you do. Just make sure that you make your ex feel seen, heard, and acknowledged, while still standing your ground and maintaining appropriate boundaries. That way, you'll both get your needs met and obtain the closure you need to move on.

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