How To Break Up With Someone You Love, But Can't Imagine Marrying

by Ginny Hogan

Breakups are never fun, and they can be especially hard when you don't actually want the relationship to end. Sometimes, you get far into dating a person you're in love with, but you just don't see yourself staying with them forever. You want to live in the moment, but you also realize you could be wasting their time if they'd like to get married and have children and you don't. So, I reached out to the experts for advice on how to break up with someone you love. Just because you end a relationship doesn't mean you don't still love the other person, and it can be particularly heart-wrenching to break things off in these circumstances.

Communicate your feelings carefully, and tell your partner why you don't see yourself marrying them. "The most important thing you can do for them to show compassion is to explain why you love them but don’t want to marry them," Dr. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Elite Daily. "If you can answer the question for yourself then you should offer that to them." Dr. Klapow suggests being clear about what is preventing you from wanting to marry them. You should never have to lie and say it has nothing to do with them if it does, but you also don't need to hesitate to tell your partner if you simply don't want to get married. Explain to them everything going through your head — if you love them, consider giving them an explanation. Even if it takes a long time to tell them how you feel, try to be patient, and answer any questions they have. Clearly communicating your feelings for them can make your partner feel valued, even during a breakup.

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Try to bring up the subject as soon as you know your feelings aren't aligned. You don't have to end a good thing early, but if you're positive that they want to get married and you don't, consider letting them know. "Ask yourself this: 'Why do I not want to marry them and what would make things different?'" Dr. Klapow says. "Ask yourself: 'Have I had the conversations clearly and specifically about what is not working and what is working?' If you love the person, then you need to be very sure that you are very clear about why you don’t think it is going to work." If you've communicated that you don't want to get married and they're OK with it, then you might be able to keep seeing them. However, if you're hiding feelings from them, it might be a sign that it's time to check in with yourself and your relationship.

Be aware that even with open and honest communication, you're at risk of hurting their feelings. "There is not an easy way to break up with someone you love," Dr. Klapow says. "Recognize that there is a decent chance you are going to hurt feelings." I've experienced relationships that went on for too long because I wanted to avoid hurting my partner's feelings, and I regret wasting both of our time. When you enter into a relationship, you're both tacitly acknowledging that it might end with someone getting hurt. While you don't ever want to go out of your way to hurt the person you love, you should also be aware that leading them on in order to protect their feelings could hurt you both more in the long-run.

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Additionally, try to remain open-minded to changes in the future. "Not everyone knows they want to marry someone early on," Dr. Klapow says. "The evolution of a relationship, time, and experiences can change your mind. You may not want to marry them now but the ongoing dating may actually change your experience. It’s very important to be clear with your partner about where you stand about marriage, why you don’t want to marry them now, but also what they can do to change that" If you and your partner are in love, you don't need to end the relationship just because you're not yet positive about marriage, but it's important to be honest. Moreover, if you're positive that you never want to get married one day, that's 100% OK, too. Above all, communicate your feelings and intentions as directly as possible.

Ending a relationship with someone you love can be very challenging. However, if you know you don't want to get married to your partner, and you know your partner wants marriage, a breakup can often be the most considerate move. Using care and compassion, explain your feelings to your partner. It's hard to do something that could potentially hurt someone you love, but if you break up with them thoughtfully, you'll know that you made the right choice — for both of you.