Breakups are rarely easy: you’ve spent valuable time together and gotten to know each other at a deeper level than most. But that doesn’t mean you should or could make the relationship work. If you’ve decided that it’s time to go separate ways, it’s important you communicate that to your partner—in an honest, respectful, and appropriate way.

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

I’ve learned firsthand that the worst thing you can do during a breakup is beat around the bush. Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Director of, concurs and explains that honesty is the best policy when it comes to breakups: “Be honest. Tell the truth about why the relationship just isn’t going to work, but also be respectful. Telling the truth doesn’t mean trying to be as hateful as possible. Be straightforward—make sure you are clear in that you want to break up, don’t leave room for interpretation. Delivering the message that you don’t want to continue with the relationship isn’t going to be easy, but you will be glad you acted maturely and were honest. It is much better for both of you to have closure in the relationship so you can move on with both of your lives.”

Lavelle goes on to say that you should also look out for yourself and future relationships, as a bad breakup can have a ripple effect: “An important thing to consider is what potential dates might think about you. Your breakup method will likely make it through to all your exes’ friends and then possibly their friends. The pool is quickly tainted. A poorly executed breakup (such as one via text, for example) may be considered insensitive and the word can quickly spread about how you treated your previous love interest. If you’re concerned about the person’s reaction, because they’ve exhibited questionable behavior in the past when confronted with bad news, meet in a public place like a coffee shop. Also, bring along a friend (who could be seated at another table). Furthermore, take the rap. If letting someone down is really not in your make-up, do it in a way that has you taking the heat, so to speak. It will go much easier and not hurt the other person as much.”

Avoid Clichés: 7 Breakup Lines to Use Instead

It’s not you, it’s me. Sound familiar? Oftentimes, we use breakup clichés of the like to let our partners (or soon-to-be exes) down easy. But really, we’re just making matters worse. Instead of trying to spare your boyfriend or girlfriend’s feelings by using these clichés, simply be honest with them. It will make for a much smoother and less complicated breakup, as explained by Lavelle: “Lines and clichés are developed to ease us out of uncomfortable situations. To spare our feelings and others’ feelings. However, they often sound scripted and trite. Generally, a line is the converse of what we really feel. So, if you want the indicia of trustfulness, then say what you mean and that means no sugar coating or sparing of feelings. You’re breaking up with this person—the reality is that we don’t usually discard the things we like and want to keep.” Here are a few breakup lines that aren’t so cliché, which Lavelle says will make for an overall better breakup:

  • You just aren’t the right one for me. I want a relationship and I am ready to settle down, but I just don’t see myself with you.
  • We have fun together. I just don’t see us raising a family and living together long-term. I am ready for that next step and know you are not on the same wavelength. I can’t picture a future with you, but I did have a really great time getting to know you.
  • I don’t see our personalities being a fit together in a serious, committed relationship, which is what I’m looking for.
  • We have different ideas as to what we want from a relationship and how to build a strong, successful partnership.
  • I remember when we first met—I thought you were funny and enjoyed our conversations and dates. I am really glad I got to know you, but my feelings have not developed in a way that I see a longer term relationship growing.
  • I enjoyed the time we spent together, but I’ve come to realize that I want my life to move in a different direction than where it is now, and I need to end this relationship so I can focus on my own needs.
  • Thank you for the great times, but I cannot let this relationship go on anymore. I realized I want something different in my life, and it isn’t fair to keep stringing you along.