Breaking up is never easy. It’s difficult for both people, whether they’re ending the relationship or being broken up with. Whether you’ve been dating only a couple weeks, months, or years, it’s never easy. Even if it’s a mutual ending, where both parties feel this is what’s necessary, it’s still not easy. Plain and simple, breaking up is a tough pill to swallow.

When it comes to the actual act of breaking up, what’s the best to go about it? It can totally depend on the duration of the relationship, how serious it was and many other components. Here’s a helpful guide to get you through it.

If You’ve Only Gone On A Couple Dates

Now, this isn’t necessarily a breakup, per se, but it can still be tough. This is more about letting the other person know you’re not interested in continuing to, well, get to know them.

So, how do you handle it? I’ll tell you one thing – just going dark should not even be an option you consider. You’re an adult, so you should handle it as such. No harm, no foul if you’re just not feeling it, but you should have the decency to communicate and be mature about it, right? If you’ve only gone on a couple dates, you don’t need to make a whole thing of it, but do let them know. If you’ve never spoken on the phone and you’ve only texted, then it is okay to send a text letting them know you enjoyed getting to know them, but you’re just not feeling it romantically. Keep the text fairly short and sweet; there’s no need to go back and forth. However, if you have spoken on the phone, then you should absolutely call the other person and let them know; it’s the right thing to do.

If You’ve Been Dating For A Few Months

Well, now you’ve been dating a few months, so it’s been well over just a couple dates. You’ve both invested time and energy into the other person, and you’ve obviously enjoyed each other’s company. However, that initial spark has faded and, for one reason or another, you’re just not feeling it anymore.

Since you’ve spent a few months getting to know each other, you owe it to the other person to have an in-person conversation. Yes, it might be a tad uncomfortable, but it’s the right thing to do. Be honest and explain how you feel. Tell them how you’ve loved getting to know them and dating, but you just don’t feel like you have a future together. Let them know it’s nothing they did, but avoid the cliche “It’s not you, it’s me” – no one really wants to hear that). Keep it short and sweet and to the point.

If You’ve Been Dating For A Year Or More

Finally, we’ve come to the toughest breakup of them all. You’ve been dating your significant other for a year or more, and you’ve decided this person isn’t the one for you and you’re ready to end it. It’s definitely a tough situation, but you can’t control feelings, and if the feelings have faded, it’s better to end it than lead the other person on.

Now, at this point you’ve likely gotten to know each other’s friends and possibly even families. Maybe you’ve even discussed future plans. Whatever the case may be, you’ve invested a lot of time into each other, so an in-person, and likely in-depth, conversation needs to be had. Be honest. Tell them when you started having these feelings, why (if there’s a “why”), and explain your thought process. They will likely ask some questions. Don’t be short or frustrated. Allow them to ask questions, and respond as such. You’re two adults who have spent at least a year together, maybe even several years; you owe it to each other to speak openly and honestly. Don’t leave them hanging. Communication is everything, even when breaking up, so be sure to offer closure so you can both move on and find happiness elsewhere.

When breaking up with someone, understand that while you’ve had time to come to terms with everything, your partner might be thrown off guard, so show them respect and be mindful of that. And, remember, as cliche as it sounds, time heals all.

You may also be interested in The Top 10 Tips For Getting Get Over A Breakup

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