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Let him down easy: How these real women did it

Telling someone you’re no longer interested is bad enough after one date and just gets harder with every passing day. Whether you’re in a relationship that needs to end or you’ve been on a few dates and you’re just not feeling it, we have some advice on how to reject someone without coming across as a horrible person.

Woman breaking up with man

Be direct but gentle

Let’s face it, no matter how you break it to him, rejection is always going to sting, but being direct is the best and most dignified option. Beating around the bush and trying to soften the blow with mixed messages will only make him feel worse and you seem like you don’t know what you want. If you don’t have feelings for him, come out and say it in a way that’s respectful of his feelings and as honest as possible without deliberately hurting him.

What she did

The last guy I dated was a bit younger than I was and totally not in line with where I was in life. We were compatible in other ways and I really liked him, but he was by no means ready to settle down, whereas I was more into something long term. Once I realized our paths weren’t exactly matching up, I sat him down and told him I didn’t think we were right for each other due to bad timing. He wasn’t thrilled, but he got it and I was glad I told him how I felt. Christine, Orlando, Florida

Don’t give him false hope

The last thing you want to do when you’re breaking up with someone is give them hope that you might change your mind. Stringing someone along is not only unfair, but it’s more hurtful in the end than just being direct. If you no longer have feelings for someone, let them go. If he knows you’re serious, he can get on with his life rather than wait for you to (hopefully) take him back.

What she did

I learned from past relationships that letting someone think you might get back together is a bad idea. I used to let guys think I was still maybe interested so they wouldn’t go and find someone else, but I realized that really held me back from moving on. I was the one doing the breaking up yet I still couldn’t let go. It wasn’t healthy. The best thing to do is cut ties but be as nice as possible about it. Val, Chicago, Illinois

Avoid the blame game

Even if you couldn’t stand his taste in clothes, you hated his mother or thought he was lazy and unmotivated — avoid giving him a laundry list of flaws when you break up with him. When relationships end, both parties usually play a role so don’t make him feel worse by telling him all of the things you disliked about him.

What she did

Breakups always suck, but I find the ones that go really badly are the ones that end in a screaming match about who was worse and who pissed off who more. The last time I had to break up with a guy, I didn’t mention anything other than the fact I was no longer into the relationship. He still didn’t like it, but he also didn’t flip out and get defensive, which was good! Melani, Toronto, Canada

Tell us

What are your best breakup tips? Let us know in the comments below!

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It’s not you, it’s me: How to break up the right way
Are you ready to move on? 4 No-fail ways to tell

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