How To Break Up With Your Boyfriend In The Most Mature Way Possible

Breakup conversations are never easy even if you’re the one who’s doing the dumping. Relationships end for lots of different reasons, but it’s in the best interest of both partners to end things respectfully and without drama. Here’s how to break up with your boyfriend in the most mature way possible.

  1. Write down your thoughts ahead of time. Even if you’ve been planning this conversation for weeks, odds are your emotions will take over when you finally have that talk. Make a list of everything you want to say beforehand or even write a letter to be read aloud to your boyfriend. This way you won’t be searching for the right words on the spot and you’ll be able to articulate your feelings and reasons for the breakup.
  2. If possible, do it in person. If you find yourself reaching for your phone to call things off (no pun intended), you’re doing it wrong. If possible, you should meet your boyfriend face-to-face to talk things through. After all, you owe him that much. It’s okay to text to set up a meeting, but keep the details for when you meet in person.
  3. Pick a private (and neutral) location. Breaking up in a bustling coffee shop probably isn’t a good idea. It can also be tricky to follow through at his or your place where memories of better times lurk in every corner–especially if the bedroom isn’t far off. Think about meeting in a park or another quiet, neutral location where you can speak (and cry) without interruption.
  4. Don’t play the blame game. If he’s cheated on you, he already knows he’s screwed up. Even if infidelity isn’t the problem, putting the blame on him isn’t likely to make him want to hear you out. Instead of framing your reasons for ending the relationship in a way that makes him responsible, try focusing on your own experience and emotions using sentences that begin with “I feel…” or “It’s important to me that…”.
  5. Say “break up” not “take a break”. If Ross and Rachel’s relationship on Friends taught us anything, it’s the importance of syntax when it comes to defining–and ending–a relationship. The word “breakup” is much more final than “take a break” which suggests the possibility of resuming the relationship after some time apart. That’s not to say you two don’t have the chance of finding your way back to each other one day, but for now, you both need to be able to close that particular door and move forward. Don’t leave him thinking you’ll change your mind.
  6. Be clear about your post-breakup expectations. It’s incredibly important that your ex understands what the newly-single life will look like for the two of you. Maybe one of you has to move out of your shared apartment. Maybe you’ve decided to go solo to your sister’s wedding. Maybe you’ve got to divvy up T-shirts and furniture. Whatever you need to do to move on, make sure your ex knows what changes lie ahead.
  7. Allow him to express himself. Once you’ve explained your reasons for ending the relationship, ask him if he has any questions or sentiments he wants to share with you. Allowing him to participate in the conversation is a major sign that you respect him even if you two aren’t meant to be. He’ll also feel valued if you’re willing to listen to and address his concerns that are likely in opposition to your own.
  8. Don’t make your friends choose sides. If you’ve been with your boyfriend for a while, odds are you two share quite a few mutual friends. Instead of making them choose sides, think about taking a step back from group activities where you might run into your ex for a few weeks following the breakup. If you’re the one ending things, your boyfriend will probably need a little more support from those friends. You should make him–and them–feel comfortable going out without any post-breakup drama.
  9. Don’t draw it out. While it’s certainly tempting to want to linger, console him, or even prove yourself wrong, the quicker you wrap up this conversation the better. Once you both have said your piece, it’s best to go your separate ways before you lose your resolve or he thinks you’ll change your mind.
  10. Give him space. After that tough conversation, your ex is going to need some time to process the end of your relationship and you will too. Let him be the first one to reach out after the breakup. You can even set a two-week or one-month no contact rule if you think it will help (remember what we said about setting expectations?). If you’re texting him in the days or even weeks following “the conversation”, you’ll risk sending him mixed messages and prevent both of you from getting over the relationship.
  11. Stay off social media. Although it’s tempting to post pictures from the girls’ nights you’re looking forward to or that upcoming hiking trip, try to keep your social media presence on the DL. If he’s really hurting, seeing you looking carefree and embracing singleness (or a new relationship) isn’t going to make things any easier. By all means, live your life and do what you need to do to feel good, but keep it off Instagram.
Julia is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia where she majored in English and French language and literature. She's engaged in an on-again-off-again French love affair (with the country itself) and has been crushing on French pop star Jean-Baptiste Maunier for about 8 years. When she's not writing you can find her rereading The Wizard of Oz or trying to run away with the circus.