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Relationship experts recommend being honest, kind, and direct in the delivery of a breakup. They say to use “I” statements, be considerate of the other individual’s feelings, and most importantly, make your reasoning crystal clear. But that’s not usually how a breakup unfolds, is it? Instead, we use cliché breakup lines. And as a result, make the whole breaking up thing especially brutal. These phrases are taboo because they’re open to interpretation and very rarely communicate one’s intentions. It takes some digging to figure out what they truly mean, and you don’t typically have time to do that digging in the heat of a breakup. So, we decided to uncover their meanings for you, should someone ever feed you one of the following lines

1.“It’s not you, it’s me.”

The most used—and perhaps most despised—breakup line of them all: it’s not you, it’s me. This line actually wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t an overused cliché. But it is. So nowadays, when someone is fed this line, they either react with anger or bafflement, and then they demand a real explanation… anything other than this tired excuse. But is it really a tired excuse? While some people may use this line as an easy way out of a relationship, a lot of the time it’s rooted in some truth. They’re taking blame for the demise of the relationship and there’s truly nothing the other person did to ruin it or could do to save it. Still, it might be a good idea to avoid using this phrase at all costs. You can communicate your feelings without using these five words.

2.“We need to take a break.”

I despise this phrase more than the last. In high school, “taking a break” became the new fad, the latest craze. Just about every couple I knew took a break at one point or another. So, what exactly does this mean? It took me awhile to understand, but taking a break quite literally means taking a break from the relationship. You aren’t technically broken up, and you aren’t completely on either. Instead, you’re taking five! From the one you love. If your significant other says, “We need to take a break,” it basically means they want to take a vacation from the relationship. This break typically lasts for a few weeks (sometimes months) and then the couple either happily reunites or decides to call it quits. 

3.“I think we should see other people.”

In my opinion, this is one of the harshest breakup lines of them all. I mean, you really have to mention dating other people? If someone makes it a point to say, “I think we should see other people,” during the delivery of a breakup, chances are they’re already seeing other people. Or at least they’re interested in a certain someone(s), so don’t be surprised if you see them out with another guy/gal in the very near future. Now, this line can have another meaning, too. If you’re in a more casual relationship or you’ve simply gone on a few dates, this line might serve the purpose of reinforcing that loose status.

4.“You deserve better.”

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is, “When people tell you who they are, believe them.” But we don’t usually follow this advice, do we? Instead, we insist we can help or change someone, especially those we love. And that never ends well. If your boyfriend or girlfriend uses the, “You deserve better than me,” line during the breakup, chances are they’ve said it before. And my guess is that you know it to be true, too. If you failed to follow the aforementioned advice the first time, do your best to follow it this time. Because this breakup line isn’t typically used for no good reason, it means exactly what it says: you deserve better. 

5.“Let’s just have fun.”

I’ve got to admit, I considered using this line just this past weekend. I don’t have a boyfriend, but I have been hanging out with this guy for a few weeks now. And I can tell he wants something serious, while I just don’t see us meshing well in a full-on relationship. But I do enjoy his company, so I thought the ever-popular, “Let’s just have fun,” would do the trick. Did I actually deliver this line? No. Because it makes it on this list of the most common breakup lines. This phrase definitely communicates the desire for a relaxed dynamic, but a good general rule of thumb is to circumvent these overused lines when possible. So, I told him exactly how I was feeling instead. If someone uses this line on you, you are absolutely entitled to ask for more details—just know that this person probably isn’t interested in putting much time or effort into you.

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