How to write a breakup letter in 7 steps
For most relationships, breaking up in person is the most appropriate and respectful way to end. If it has been a long relationship and you are able to express yourself freely with your partner, you should show him the courtesy and respect of breaking up face to face.
However, sometimes circumstances dictate that the break be put in writing. For example, a breakup letter might be appropriate if:
- Your partner tends to behave violently or commit physical or verbal abuse.
- Your partner did something to rape you or betray your trust (such as cheating on you) and you no longer want to interact with them
- You have tried to break up in the past and your partner refuses to listen or lets you speak freely.
- Your partner refuses to receive you or answer your calls
- It’s a long distance relationship and you can’t see them or call them.
Things to consider…
If you’re thinking about writing a breakup letter because you lack the courage to face it, try to muster up the willpower to do it in person. As long as the situation is not threatening, it is the best way to go. While it’s hard to deliver bad news and make someone angry or cry, writing it can feel disrespectful and avoidant.
However, if you’ve been avoiding breaking up because you’re dreading face-to-face encounters, stop procrastinating and write to them! it’s best to break it off as soon as possible, even if it means through a letter or email, so you can both get on with your lives. Some people spend months or even years avoid a fear breakup; Get it in writing if that’s the only way you can!
Also, if you’re having trouble expressing yourself in person, you might want to write a breakup letter and then give it to your partner while you’re with him or her; there is nothing wrong with that.
I should note that while email tends to feel less personal, it’s sometimes the best option if time or distance is an issue.
How to write a “Dear John” or “Dear Jane” letter:
Step 1: Why am I writing?
After his “Dear [Partner]”Explain that you’re sorry you can’t talk face-to-face, but circumstances made it necessary. You may want to let them know why you weren’t able to face them. For example, if you’re afraid of a backlash, feel too guilty, or just don’t want to never see them again, just say so. Tell them you know they’ll want to hear this information as soon as possible and that this is the best way to do it.
Step 2: Why am I still going?
Tell them that you have decided to end the relationship. You might want to explain why, or it might be obvious to both of you (e.g. cheating). Focus on yourself and how you feel, and try not to dwell on your ex’s faults.
If there’s no clear reason, you could say that while you appreciate his positive qualities, the relationship isn’t working out for you. Express that you’ve enjoyed your time together, but now you know it’s time to move on. Let them know that you will have good memories (if true).
Step 3: “Get help”
If your relationship was affected by your ex’s unhealthy behavior (eg, cheating, substance abuse, violence), you may want to express how that affected you. She can recommend that they get help and wish them well. Repeat that you know it’s time for you to move on and that even if he or she changes for the better, your decision remains.
Step 4: Possibly friends?
Although I don’t recommend mentioning friendship, if you want to remain open to the possibility of friendship, you can. Usually this isn’t a good idea, but sometimes it’s okay, especially in cases where you were friends first. You can let them know that you both need time to heal, but there is a possibility of a future friendship.
Step 5: Your decision is final
If you don’t want to be left with any chance of getting back together, tell him that you’re sure of your decision to separate, and ask him to respect that. If you never want to hear from them again, let them know that calls, visits, and correspondence are No Welcome. Remind them that you don’t want to spend any more time talking about what went wrong and that you’re moving on with your life.
Step 6: Apologize
If you did something to hurt your ex, especially if you cheated on them or lied to them, apologize as sincerely as possible. However, as advice columnist Dan Savage says, “All relationships fail until one fails,” so he doesn’t blame himself simply because her relationship didn’t “succeed.”
Step 7: “My best wishes…”
Wish your partner the best. If you want, you can let them know that they will contact you at a certain email address in the future, but remind them that now is the time to heal. Although it may be difficult, avoid ending the letter with “Love, [Your name].”
Remember: Focus on the task at hand: ending the relationship, without analyzing it. Also, avoid mentioning that you love them, even if it’s true. Mentioning your love for them will only confuse them and give them hope, so avoid it.
Finally, If you’re a man in an unhealthy relationship and you’re having a hard time getting out, or if you know such a man, check out my breakup manual for men who feel stuck. For the readers, if you know a man who is stuck with a clingy, overly jealous, or unstable woman, please visit my site and see if the ebook is right for him.