It’s never easy breaking up with someone – but if you don’t get your words right, you could be causing more heartache than necessary.
Language experts from US-based language learning app Preply have revealed the phrases you should avoid saying when deciding to tell your partner you want to separate.
Many of them are popular break-up clichés like ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ and ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you’. While some of these phrases are designed to spare the other person’s feelings, the most important thing is to fully explain your thoughts and feelings so you are able to give them closure.
However there is such a thing as oversharing. People should never admit to wanting to prioritise their career, for example, because this just isn’t something the other person needs to hear.
Need help navigating the relationship minefield? Here are the dos and don’ts for your next breakup chat…
It’s never easy breaking up with someone – but if you don’t get it right, you could be causing more heartache than necessary (stock photo)
Don’t say: I don’t think this is going to work out
Instead say: ‘I value the time we’ve spent together, but right now a romantic relationship is not the best for us, and I think we should break up.’
You’re just not that into them, and that’s OK – but you still might want to avoid putting them through a painful break up.
If true of your relationship, acknowledge that you had fun together and did enjoy getting to know them (otherwise you wouldn’t have ended up spending so much time with them).
But as always, its crucial to be explicit in saying that an ongoing romance is not something you are interested in pursuing – this offers them the closure they’ll need going forward.
Don’t say: It’s not you, it’s me
Instead say: ‘I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you, however, I am not in the right place to be in a relationship right now. I need some time to figure out what I want and I need to do that alone.’
Don’t break up over text
There is often nothing more brutal than breaking up with someone by text.
If you get the opportunity, it is important to end things in person.
This gives you the chance to make sure there are no crossed wires in what you want to say, said the language experts.
One of the most important things you need to acknowledge is your core reasons as to why you want to end things, but can you frame it in a nice way.
Start with a positive introduction, and give context behind your reasons, like how you have been feeling.
‘It’s not you, it’s me’ is a break-up classic that people can see right through as a cop-out, said the language experts.
Yes, it is good to take responsibility so as to not make the other person feel bad, but adding context to this and explaining your headspace is important to show that you are not just using it as an excuse.
Don’t say: I want to be with other people
Instead try: ‘Although I have enjoyed spending time with you, I have realised that I don’t want to be in a relationship and am enjoying my independence at the moment.
‘It is not fair to keep stringing you along so I think we should end things now.’
It is important to be clear that this is not a ‘for now’ situation but that you are closing the book on a relationship with this person completely, said the language experts.
You are acknowledging the reasons why you do not want to be in a relationship whilst making sure not to put the blame on the other person.
It also avoids the blunt declaration of ‘I want to be with other people’ in favour of ‘wanting my independence’.
Don’t say: I love you but I’m not in love with you
Instead try: ‘As much as I think we get on really well, I think we should end things as I think we would both be much happier apart, or with other people, than we are together.’
‘I love you, but I’m not in love with you’ is the sort of phrase that can stay echoing in someone’s ears for years, warned the language experts.
It is a saying that can lead to the person you are breaking things off with feeling that they are ‘not enough’.
So instead of using that wording with them, put the focus on the fact that you will both be happier in the long term when you meet the right person.
Don’t say: My career is more important to me than you are right now
Instead say: ‘I am focusing a lot on my career at the moment as this is something I really want to concentrate on in the near future, and unfortunately this means I cannot give you and our relationship the attention it deserves, so I think it is best we end things.’
For most people, breaking up with someone to focus on other things in your life is an understandable reason.
However, the language experts insisted that it is important to not make the person you dumped feel like they are less of a priority than a job.
Don’t say: We’re on two different paths
Instead say: ‘As much as I do have fun with you, I feel like we want different things and would be better off ending things before it gets complicated.’
Don’t say: We were never even together
Pretending you didn’t have an emotional commitment with the other person to avoid an uncomfortable conversation it’s definitely not okay, insisted the language experts.
This phrase doesn’t acknowledge the other person’s feelings and will cause further pain for them as they deal with the breakup.
You want different things and want to end the relationship before it get messy and feelings get hurt.
You may not have much in common and are looking for completely different things – maybe you are ready to settle down in your home city whilst your partner wants to travel the world nomad-style.
If you can clearly acknowledge the reasons why you don’t think you’re a good match it gives your partner further explanation why it is a good idea to end things now, rather than leaving them with any doubts.
Don’t say: You are going to make someone really happy someday
Instead try: ‘As much as I have really enjoyed getting to know you, I don’t think we should continue seeing each other anymore. You are an amazing person and deserve to have a real chance with someone who can appreciate that right now.’
There is a difference between softening the blow and being patronising, urged the language experts.
We all know what is not being said in the cliché breakup line – ‘You are going to make someone really happy someday, but it just is not going to be me’.
The person being dumped is likely to find a much happier relationship in the long run, but using clichés to break that news is not likely to go down well.