Break up letter: The biggest Do’s and Don’ts!
As time has gone on, you’ve started to realize that your partner might not be the right match for you. Today, you’ve made the decision to end the relationship but you’ve surely realized that this is never an easy thing to do. Writing a breakup letter is a good option for a variety of reasons, but it’s very important to make sure that you do it right.
Many people use a break up letter to lessen the blow, but incorrectly writing this letter can actually make your soon to be ex more upset and hurt than you intended. This is why I wanted to write this article today on how to write the perfect letter to end a relationship. I am going to go over whether or not this is the most optimal tool for your relationship, what you need to include, what you need to exclude, and how you should present your thoughts on paper.
It’s important to think about whether or not this tool is going to work for your situation. Sometimes break up letters have a bad connotation and you’re going to have to think about whether or not your partner is going to find this to be appropriate or not. Don’t worry, you’re about to read an in-depth article on the ins and outs of this break up technique and should you choose to use it, you’ll know how to do it in the best way possible!
Why break up letters are often used by people who want to end a relationship
I’m going to be frank with you here. Some people think that using a break up letter is cowardly. They argue that it gives you an excuse to not have to own up and face the person you’re breaking up with face to face. They will say that there are so many other ways to break up with someone (which I will go over in a moment) and that using a letter means that you’re taking the easy way out.
While there is no “easy” way to break up with someone, especially if you’ve been together for a long time, sometimes the breakup letter does prove to be the best option – if you do it right!
Sure, many people turn to this tool because they really don’t want to have to break up with their partner face to face and actually witness this person’s heart breaking, but other people know that this is the best way to clearly express what they’re feeling. A lot of people freeze up under pressure or in stressful situations and have a very hard time getting their point across in the way that they intend.
Sometimes it comes out the wrong way, sometimes they aren’t even able to get the words out, and sometimes they fail at getting the actual point across. Breaking up with someone is very stressful, and it’s normal that a person might think that doing so face to face isn’t going to go as planned.
Another thing I’ve witnessed is people knowing that they want to end a relationship, but as soon as they see their partner they just can’t bring themselves to actually go through with it. We of course don’t want to make another person suffer, and it’s also very easy to just tell yourself, “Ok, I’ll just do it next time instead.”
The longer this period lasts, the worse you feel. I think it’s probably safe to say that your behavior has changed since you’ve made the decision to end this relationship, so your partner is more than likely aware of the fact that something is up.
Breakup letters allow a person to sit down, gather their thoughts, and take the time to write out what they’re feeling and figure out the absolute best way to present it. I’m sure you’ve experienced moments in which you were so nervous that your words didn’t come out right and then you ended up regretting the way you said it? Well, the letter helps to guard against this type of thing.
I do want to take a moment to mention that this letter should not be used as an end all. What I mean by that is that preferably, it should be a gateway to another conversation. Writing a letter and then disappearing into thin air doesn’t give you and your partner the chance to discuss what’s going on, and what needs to happen next. Your partner is also going to have things they want to say to you.
This is especially true if you have been together for a long time. It would be ideal to give him or her the option of seeing you, especially if they want to have some sort of closure. That said, if you know that you absolutely cannot see them anymore for some reason, don’t write anything that would lead them on in your letter and make them think that he or she will be seeing you soon.
Ideally, write the most important and hardest topics in this letter, and be open to discussing them in person afterwards. Make sure that you explain why you’re writing this letter. Tell your partner that you’re writing a break up letter to her or him because you want to make sure that you can clearly express what’s on your mind and in your heart.
Don’t worry, I’ll go over what to include and what not to do in breaking up letters a little further down.
Break up letter: Is it the only way?
As I said above, the ideal way to break up with someone you are in a relationship is to do so face to face. Yes, it’s stressful and you don’t want to hurt your significant other, but there are many other ways to break up that people use.
Some people even do so using a break up text, but I definitely don’t recommend this is if you’ve been together for a long time.
Another way to break up with someone that is almost as good as doing so face to face is doing it over the phone.
I’m definitely not saying that breaking up letters are bad ideas, but I am saying that it’s important for you to think about how your significant other is going to take it and why you’re choosing this method. Is it to avoid confrontation, or is it really because you want to express your feelings in the best way possible and you know that this would be the right tool to do just that?
Some people break up with their partners just by disappearing into thin air and this I have to say IS cowardly, especially if this isn’t just a one night stand.
Now if you’re experiencing a relationship that is abusive or toxic, that is a different story. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you aren’t sure about what to do.
Why a break up letter is better than a break up text
Some people might argue that a break up text, a break up letter, or even a break up paragraph are all the same, but they are not.
The advantage that the letter has is that it’s longer, so you can really write everything out exactly how you intend to communicate it. Texts are short, and no one likes receiving 50 messages one after the next. Plus, a letter can be handwritten which reflects thought and effort. Texts are too casual for this type of situation
Receiving a text from a person that wants to break up with can come across as quite a blow. If a text should be used for anything in this situation it should be to set up meeting and talking face to face – not to end the relationship. Again, if this is a one night stand type of thing, that’s a different story.
I am referring to relationships that have have been more or less serious and have gone on for a while.
Break up letter to boyfriend or girlfriend: Make sure you include these elements
When you are writing a break up letter to him or her, I want to make sure that you include certain elements that are very important. First of all, I would suggest acknowledging that things have been tense in the relationship for a while, and you wanted to write this letter to explain why you’ve been acting the way you have been (whether that’s cold, distant, aloof, hostile, angry…etc.)
Make sure that your wording in the letter comes across as natural and that you write clearly. No need for poetic allegories or symbolic musings. You don’t want to beat around the bush and you don’t want your significant other to become more frustrated, confused, or stressed out than need be.
The letter does need to include your reasons. It can’t just say, “This isn’t working, it’s over…”
Talk about what has lead you to this decision, keep the letter concise. It doesn’t need to go on for pages and pages. It should be well-thought-out and clearly written. You want to get your point across eloquently and clearly. Don’t leave room for your soon-to-be-ex to wonder what you’re trying to say.
You don’t need to be cruel or harsh, but make sure that your decision to end the relationship is clear and that this letter contains your reasoning.
As each relationship is different and everyone’s reason to want to end the relationship will vary, I know that everyone’s letter is going to have a different tone. Some people want to end things on a cordial note, whereas others are furious about something that happened and are writing this letter to tell their partner that they don’t ever want to see them again.
I will say this however – the more calm you are in this letter, the more easily your point will be made and the more likely it will be that your partner understands why you feel this has to happen.
Elements to avoid including in your letter
It’s equally important to talk about what needs to be left out of your letter.
Like I said above, you need to write naturally. This also means that there is no sense in being overly dramatic or emotional. Your partner will be more likely to appreciate a well thought out letter explaining what’s in your heart right now than something that reads like a monologue from a soap opera.
When you write this letter to break up, it’s very important to be honest, but not brutally honest. If the truth is that you are leaving your partner because they have changed and are no longer physically attractive to you, well, this isn’t really something you need to include in your letter. Instead, tell them that your feelings for them are not where they need to be for this relationship to continue to develop, or that you’ve enjoyed spending time together but this relationship isn’t the right fit for you.
Don’t use this letter as a list of attacks. Yes, write out the main reasons for this decision, but you don’t need to list out every little thing your significant other has ever done that made you unhappy. Talk about the big things that are non-negotiable for you, but you don’t need to nitpick.
If you don’t plan on leaving the door open to possibility in the future, don’t write things in your letter that would make your boyfriend or girlfriend think that you are. You don’t want to lead them on or sugar coat things in a way that gives them hope for something that isn’t going to happen.
Don’t use this letter as a tool for pointing the finger for however many pages you decide to write. Simply put, you don’t have to be cold or cruel, but you should be honest.
If you want to end things on a cordial note, wish him or her well, and encourage them to move on because they do have great qualities. If you don’t wish to have any contact with him or her at all after this letter, just end the letter with something like, “Wishing you well.”
When you write this letter to leave your boyfriend or girlfriend, don’t send it right away. Sleep on it and revisit it the next day or a few days later. Sometimes you might write things in the heat of the moment that don’t sound right to you the next day, so make sure you reread and check that it feels right before sending it.
It’s fine if you need to write a few drafts. The most important thing is to send something that you feel successfully portrays what you want to say and why you feel that this relationship cannot go any further.
Writing and sending a breakup letter: What to expect
People sometimes think that sending a breakup letter is just going to guarantee that they’ve finished the relationship in one clean swoop. It’s important to note that more often than not, the letter is actually what begins the break up process – not what finishes it.
When your partner receives this letter about breaking up, he or she is most likely going to want to talk to you.
They are going to experience heartache and grief, even if you worked very hard to write a gentle breakup letter. You can do your part to lessen the blow as much as possible, but you can’t expect your partner to have no emotional reaction whatsoever.
So my suggestion is to be open to having a conversation about the break up. The letter will have expressed the main reasons you have for ending your relationship, but your ex will have questions.
After having sat down and thought clearly defined your reasons for making this choice, you will have everything you need to get through this conversation. You will have answers to his or her questions, and they will already know that you’ve decided to separate, so don’t let yourself be too nervous about it.
As I said, I’m always here to help.
Wishing you all the best,
Your coach for knowing how to write the best breakup letter
Thank you so much for this article. I’ve wanted to break up with my boyfriend for over a month, but every time I tried, I’d feel too guilty or have a mini breakdown (I have really severe anxiety). I didn’t even know a letter was an option until I saw this! I liked this option the best because I could actually go through with it and clearly state all of my reasons. Even though some of my friends hate me for writing a letter because “it’s just like a text”, I still believe it was the best option and I thank you for providing me with the do’s and don’t’s. Have a wonderful day 🙂
Thank you for letting me know you liked my blog about “a break-up letter” I know it can be hard but stay strong. Love yourself first! 🙂
I just want to thank you for saying it’s not me being a coward. I have been trying to breakup with my boyfriend cause it’s so toxic. I just felt like I couldn’t because he had nobody else and I felt burdened. I feel sad that I am breaking up with him because I did love and care about him, but now he’s in a program and I just want him to find his way in life. Am I being cruel? I just don’t know what to say in the letter???
No, sometimes someone needs to be left in order to work on themselves. Sometimes relationships can enable someone’s growth. If you aren’t happy then your decision is to choose you first.
Hi thank you so much for this as it had built my confidence to do what is best for me and my life. I’m suffering from mental and verbal abuse and honestly it has been physical at one point. I have been terrified of breaking up with my boyfriend because I’m not sure of how he would react to me. For my own safety I feel like it’s best for me to write a letter and fully express myself to end this.
Is it ok to read out loud my breakup letter to my partner? I have always struggled with expressing my feelings and talking. I wrote it already, but I don’t want to give it to her for her to read. I want to read it out loud to her with my voice … And then wait for questions and conversation. But there is some important things that I’m pretty sure I could forget when emotions hit in. Also I know her and I know she could interrupt me talking… And I believe that when I’ll be reading it will be harder to interrupt and knock me off