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Monday, August 29, 2022


You’re likely to experience a whole raft of unpleasant emotions before, during and after a breakup — you worry how it’ll go, you feel sadness in the moment, and you might feel regret or even uncertainty afterwards, wondering if you really did the right thing. 

There can be serious weight to that consideration, too. A good breakup can mean a guilt-free next few months for you, and maybe even friendship with the ex over time; a bad one can have all kinds of unexpected negative consequences, for you, for your ex, and for your mutual friends. 

In short, dumping someone nicely isn’t just the gentlemanly thing to do, it’s also the wise thing to do. 

If you’re not sure how to do that, though, that’s understandable. The appropriate type of breakup for a long-term relationship where you’ve even discussed marriage is vastly different from the breakup of a brief fling that only lasted a handful of dates. 

Unsure how to get it right? In order to let the other person down easy, no matter how serious you’ve gotten, AskMen spoke to five different relationship experts to give you the rundown on what to do, what to avoid, and how to express yourself without under- or oversharing during a breakup. 

Perhaps the easiest breakup to have is one where there’s barely any relationship to speak of. In this situation, it’s genuinely possible that neither party is invested enough for an official split.

“Depending on how many dates you’ve had, you may be under no obligation to officially end it,” says Connell Barrett, dating coach for The League and the author of the forthcoming book, Dating Sucks But You Don’t. “You could merely stop asking them out. They may get the hint without you sending an ‘I’m not feeling it’ message.”

That being said, a relatively short period of dating doesn’t mean you’ve got a free pass to treat the budding relationship as meaningless. For Barrett, there’s a point after which you should feel obliged to give the other person a firm explanation of your non-interest, even if they haven’t asked for one. 

“Draw a line in the dating sands at three dates,” he says. “You can go on up to three dates and feel no pressure to proactively tell the other person that it’s over. You don’t need to officially break it off unless you’re prompted.”

However, even if you haven’t gotten to four dates yet, some factors may necessitate a break-up message of some sort: if you’ve had sex, or if they reach out and ask to see you again when you no longer want to. 

“At this point,” adds Barrett, “the right, respectful thing to do is call it quits if you see no long-term future for the two of you.”

How to Say It 

“Be honest, kind, and empathetic,” advises Barrett. “Close the door, but gently. Frame it as a chemistry issue, rather than there being anything wrong about them.”

He advises you to say something like, 

“‘I’ve had a great time getting to you know, but the romantic spark isn’t there for me. It’s chemistry. I know you’ll find someone who’s as fantastic as you.’” 


Even though ghosting is generally a no-no, it is acceptable in some circumstances like these that Barrett mentions: “If they’ve been emotionally or physically abusive, if their behavior is harassing or violates boundaries, or if you catch them in a big lie.” 

If it’s clear they’re not operating in good faith, you don’t have to either. 

How to Break Up With Someone Nicely in Person

Unlike more serious relationships, there’s no need to break something like this off in person. “You don’t owe it to them, because you never got serious.” says Barrett.

How to Break Up With Someone Nicely via Text or Phone Call

For a less serious kind of breakup, “stick to text, phone, or some kind of digital messaging,” notes Barrett, though “your best bet is the communication method the two of you used most often, whether it’s texting, phone calls, Zoom, carrier pigeons, etc.”


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