15 Worst Phrases To Use When Ending A Relationship

15 Worst Phrases To Use When Ending A Relationship ©iStock/portishead1

Your relationship has reached a permanent dead-end and you’ve decided to break up with your partner. Although you want to have the talk as soon as possible, make sure you don’t resort to negative or damaging phrases, like these 15. Look, breakups are hard enough, so don’t make them even more traumatic.

1. “It’s better.”

If you say something like, “It’s better if we end things” or “This will be better for both of us,” it’s not going to sound sincere. Honestly, it sounds like you’re trying to convince the person that moving on without you will be better for them like you’re so invested in ensuring they’ll be happy. Um, right. It’s also rude to assume that you know how they feel.

2. “We settled.”

Maybe you felt that you were settling for your partner, but it’s unkind to tell them that you were settling for less than you deserve by staying with them for so long. Ouch! Although you want to be firm and honest when breaking up with someone, you shouldn’t become cruel. It just makes you look bad and can be damaging to their self-esteem, which will result in a ton of guilt that you don’t need to carry forward.

3. “You always/never.”


If some unresolved relationship issue causes you to want to walk away instead of trying to make things work, we get it. But, you don’t have to bring up all those old issues during your breakup, like telling your ex that you’re walking away because they “never” supported you or they “always” prioritized their friends. You’re not going to resolve the issues and stay, so why bring them up? It just causes more drama.

4. “It’s not you, it’s me.”

You might be guilty of using the classic “It’s not you, it’s me” excuse without realizing it. Although you might not want them to feel bad, it’s intensifying their feelings of hurt. No one buys that they’re not the problem! Look, the bottom line is that you don’t want them in your life anymore. Throwing yourself under the bus isn’t going to make them feel any better about that.

5. “Let’s stay friends.”

It might rip your heart out of your chest to think that you’re not only losing a romantic partner, but a best friend. Yup, it’s hard, but it might not be the right thing to suggest staying friends. It’s way too soon if you’ve just broken up. At least give the situation some time to settle before you try to work on a friendship. Until then, it’s better not to chat via text every day, okay?

6. “I don’t want a relationship right now.”

If you’re telling the person you’ve been dating that you’re breaking up with them because you don’t want a relationship “right now,” it comes across as insincere. They’re not going to believe that you’re suddenly not interested in having a relationship like you just woke up and changed your mind about them. Even worse than that, the phrase “right now” is so misleading. It gives them hope that maybe you’ll be able to reconnect in the future. Never, ever, give them false hope!

7. “I had a great time.”

Sure, you want the person to know that you loved them at some point and enjoyed being with them but don’t overdo it. It gives the person mixed messages if you’re ending things while simultaneously reminiscing about all the great times you shared. What is really going on? Are you nostalgic and changing your mind about the breakup, or are you just trying to make them feel good even though you’re breaking their heart? Ugh.

8. “You’re so amazing.”

Another thing to avoid doing during a breakup is bolstering the person’s self-esteem, like by telling them how amazing they are or what a catch they’re going to be for someone else. No one wants to be dished a compliment when they’ve had their heart ripped to pieces. It’s hurtful because it comes across as inauthentic. If you like them so much, why aren’t you with them?

9. “You’ve changed.”

Maybe the reason why you’re walking away from the relationship is because your partner isn’t who they were when you started dating them. But, telling them that they’ve changed can be difficult for them to understand. They’ll want more details, which will extend the painful breakup process and cause you both more drama that you don’t need. They might also try to convince you to stay by promising to become a better person, which makes things even more confusing and painful.

10. “I’m not ready for anything serious.”

You might tell your ex that you want to walk away from the relationship because you’re not ready for anything serious. This is a way to put them down gently, but it causes more confusion. What, exactly, does “ready” mean? Why did you waste their time for months if you weren’t “ready”? It can lead to lots of conflict that you don’t need when trying to cut the strings and walk away.

11. “My feelings are too strong.”

If you’re trying hard not to hurt the person’s feelings, you might tell them that you’re ending things because your feelings are growing too strong for them and it scares you. Um, what? The worst thing you can do is give your ex a riddle to figure out when breaking up. How can you end things because you’re falling for them too hard? That would cause you to stay, no? Don’t leave them with such a lack of closure. It’s unfair.

12. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

When setting up the breakup, you might use phrases such as, “I don’t want to hurt you” before dropping the bomb. This can be even more hurtful. Don’t beat around the bush and try to protect their feelings. You’re not responsible for how they react to being dumped and acting as though you are can seem condescending.

13. “Dinner tonight?”

Where you decide to break up is important. Inviting the person out to dinner so you can tell them it’s over is not a good idea. Although you want to break up in person (because it’s a decent thing to do), you don’t want to drag it out because it makes things awkward. After ending things, no one wants to stick around and finish their burger and fries while holding back the tears.

14. “I have issues.”

Your partner might still be madly in love with you, which certainly makes breaking up with them tough. You don’t want to hurt them, but that doesn’t mean you should try to persuade them that you’re not a catch. You might say things like, “I’ve got so many issues, you don’t need me in your life.” If they really love you, they might try to remind you that they don’t want to lose you, which is going to make the process much more brutal.

15. “It’s all your fault.”

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Maybe the person was horrible to date, and you’re fed up with dealing with them. That’s valid, but don’t launch into a session of, “Here’s why you’re the reason for our breakup.” Even if you don’t care about the person’s feelings, you don’t want to end up in a highly emotional breakup that drags on for hours and results in a big blowup. You don’t need the drama! Stay calm and cool, and focus on walking away with your head held high.

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.
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