How to break up with someone kindly.

Mercy asks: I really need some relationship advice here. My boyfriend, a very sensitive, childish person who couldn’t use his brains once to think maturely, is getting on the very last of my nerves. You see, he is two years younger than I am. And we’ve been together for a year now. I just feel that I am not being heard at all. And I’m always wrong in an argument. I shouldn’t hang out with my best friends. God! So many restrictions. And he doesn’t trust me! It’s so frustrating! So I don’t wanna be in a relationship with him anymore. But the thing is, I am very emotional and I get sad just by the thought of what doom it might bring to him. So I’m just being miserable with no idea what to do. I desperately wanna get outta this relationship w/o much damage done. Really need some advice on how to do that.

Hi Mercy –


This is an ageless dilemma.  Most humans hope to commit to just one person in their lifetime, which means they have to either get rejected by, or break up with, every other person they ever get involved with.  Which is so tough, for both people, each time.  In fact, you’re in a better-than-average position, as you’re really fed up with this guy, not just feeling “he’s not the one” or “the spark is gone.”  But still, you’re asking how to break up with him in as kind and harmless a way as possible.  Which stinks EVERY time.


I go through this every morning.  You see, we dogs don’t have nearly the awareness of time that you people do, so when Handsome heads off to work, or to the gym, or to visit someone, and leaves me at home alone, I feel completely rejected.  He doesn’t love me, he doesn’t want me anymore, and he’ll never come home again so I’m trapped in here to starve: these are just what goes through my head every time.  Now as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more used to it, so I don’t believe it as much as I did when I was younger, but yeah, the thoughts are still there.


And this is why you’re feeling so sad: you relate!  You can be pretty sure that your boyfriend will have awful thoughts like that you don’t love him, you never loved him, you hate him, and that he’ll never find another romance as long as he lives.


But just like me, he doesn’t have to hang onto those beliefs too long.


The first question I need to ask you is what relationship you’d like to have with him.  So many humans say “Let’s be just friends,” but they don’t actually have any intent of speaking to that person ever again.  I prefer honesty, and he’ll want to know, so it’s important for you to choose, before you bring this up to him, just what you’d like.  (Of course, he may not accept what you request – you might hope to stay friends and he might say “Nope, you’ve hurt me and I have to avoid you for a while.”  And that’s perfectly okay, and you should respect that wish from him).


But once you make that choice, my belief is that you should be as clear and straightforward as possible.  The worst breakup Handsome ever did was with a woman who he wanted to understand that he really cared about – he just wanted out of the romance.  So he took her out for dinner, to a concert, had a wonderful night, and then told her he wanted to break up. She was horrified – she’d thought all his actions meant he was more committed than he’d been before! – and then spent years (yes, years!) telling people how he’d cruelly set her up in order to hurt her as much as possible.  This was all before he met me, but as far as I know, she’s still talking about it!


Instead, I suggest you do one of two things.  First you could avoid meeting him, if you think that’s best.  If so, via phone or email or text or even an old-fashioned letter on paper, tell him clearly, yet kindly.  For example, “I have loved our time together, but it’s become clear to me that it’s best we split up.”  Or “I want to do what’s best for both of us, and I’ve come to realize we’re not the right people for each other in the long term.”  You don’t need to use my words exactly, but please note, I’m not asking, such as “I’m not happy in the relationship right now and wonder if you think it’s best if we break up.”  Most likely he’ll say no, and you’ll be in the same shape you are today, even more so!  I’m also not making it all about him being wrong – just “us” being wrong for each other.


But if you want to do it in person, which can be better if you trust him to handle it right, you actually want to say the same thing as above.  The only difference is that there’s always going to be a “moment after” – in which he might argue, might cry, might angrily walk away, I don’t know.  But something will happen, and you’ll have to be prepared for it.


The hardest, and most important, thing for you to do is to both let him know how much you’ve enjoyed this last year, and to be clear that you’re clear that it should end.


It’s like when Handsome leaves in the morning these days.  He hugs me, kisses my nose, and then tells me “no” as I start to follow him out the gate, and shuts it in my face.  Then he often looks over it and sees my sad loving eyes and tells me he loves me back, and then leaves.  It’s loving but clear.


And do I like it?  No.  As I said before, it hurts every time.  But I do survive it.  As your boyfriend will. And you.  As you both find new wonderful romances that match your changing maturity levels.


After all, if he was great enough to hold onto someone as wonderful as you for a whole year, he should have NO trouble finding someone else out there for a little while, right?!!  And vice versa?!


Best of Luck!  Please let me know how it goes!


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