The process of telling someone you don’t love them anymore can be difficult and painful. However, there are ways to make it easier for both parties involved.
According to experts, here are the ways to communicate this effectively:
Sushree Nishtha Om
Psychotherapist and Motivational Counsellor, os.me
Communicate with truthfulness and express your concerns in a kind and empathetic manner
“I can’t feel the same love and affection; not sure it will ever be the same again,” I stated sheepishly. Truthfully. There was a throbbing pain somewhere in my heart. It was a strange feeling because earlier, it used to throb with love; today, it was different.
It was pounding – with stress, anger, fear, guilt, and anxiety.
On the other side, he was aghast. Life was not the same for him. I have shared the most intimate feeling that I have ever felt in my life. This was the phase when I experienced a shift in my consciousness, my feelings, and emotions towards someone I once loved very deeply.
I wanted to express to him the change I felt in my inner world but couldn’t find the appropriate way. For days on end, I struggled to articulate it in a manner that would be less upsetting would perhaps not hurt him as much. The truth is, I struggled because I could not fathom the shift I was witnessing in the deeper realms of my heart.
I was unable to accept the fact that ‘I‘ could be the one to feel empty in my heart.
Gradually, I moved on and started flowing with the river of life, not directionless, but in surrender. In the process of floating and learning to swim, I met my mentors and people facing similar situations.
Combining my spiritual wisdom with psychology, I had a few realizations that I am happy to share. One thing is constant in the world, and that is change. Our thoughts, feelings, emotions, attitudes, viewpoints, and patterns are also constantly shifting, and we gain a whole new perspective towards life.
Over time, our emotions and feelings change, not essentially for the positive or negative; they autonomously change.
Though acceptance makes our life easier, resistance to change is predictable too. When we face an undesirable shift, particularly in a close relationship, we often go through a whirlwind of emotions comparable to those faced with the demise of a loved one.
The initial reaction that one goes through is ‘Denial,’ disbelieving that the person who claimed to love you, is putting you through this agony. We try to comprehend the grieving process, feeling powerless in dealing with that change.
I firmly believe that the more we trust someone, the more emotionally vested we are; therefore, the chances of getting hurt are also much more.
Acquaintances and unknown people may inflict pain, but their conduct and words won’t hurt us emotionally. The moment a person realizes that they are not wanted anymore, they may feel misplaced. This is the moment of facing the truth, recognizing the emotional investment they have made along with their time, energy, sentiments, and feelings.
Every single event in our life changes a part of our inner world, and some can surely break us. Such is the case when we have to bid goodbye to the one we once loved. If we are at the forefront of changing someone’s life, leading the scenario, the first thing to keep in mind is to ‘Take Responsibility.’
Once we take ownership of the decision, we free our minds from the burden of not keeping up with commitments and the guilt attached to the choice of moving on, for it can tie us down like no other feeling.
Try the ‘Bake n’ Break’ recipe
Here is an excellent tool for smooth expression and communication during a relationship crisis. Let’s call it a ‘Bake n’ Break’ recipe to reduce potentially damaging consequences.
My personal experience says that we can communicate with truthfulness and express our concerns in a kind and empathetic manner. Before confronting your partner, imagine that you are trying a hands-on baking recipe.
It has three simple steps:
Collect the ingredients
- Try to center your mind on all that you want to express.
- What is your objective? Take time to reflect on your feelings and the reasons for your decision.
- Be true to yourself. Pick and choose the ingredients of compassion, kindness, politeness, and empathy, as the person on the receiving end of your conversation deserves this care and respect from you.
- Give the batter a good mix; of your words, emotions, feelings, and sensitivity.
Pour it all into the pan
The second step is a crucial one – when you eventually pour it all into the pan and place it in the oven to bake. Appreciate the person in front of you for all the things you admire about them.
Do it honestly, as it will establish the bridge of healthy communication.
As you walk that bridge, make them feel respected, acknowledge their contributions in your life, and that you are not simply blaming them for this situation.
You will notice the cake of your emotions fluffing up and heat rising at this stage.
Confrontations and arguments are a part of this stage of baking. All you have to do is wait patiently until the baking time is over. All through, please keep the truth in your heart and intention alive to not say words that would affect their self-esteem.
Honesty doesn’t mean being harsh. Don’t blame the other person for what’s not working. Be gentle while still being honest, as negative statements can be detrimental to their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Related: How to Break up With Someone Nicely
Be careful as you would want to squeeze thankfulness, regret, anger, frustration, and countless other emotions into one little cake. Chances are, what you want to express may turn out to be sheer venting. Doing so in frustration will only do more damage than good.
At any time, please be mindful of your speech as you may otherwise end up engaging in unwholesome thoughts or discussions.
Take the mold out of the oven and unmold it
The third and final stage of your emotional baking is to take the mold out of the oven and unmold it.
Serve it hot on the plate and cherish the good memories of togetherness and love. Where there is no blame game, there is space to embrace the change. The other person may understand your viewpoint of those shifting feelings you are experiencing.
Relationships fail, love wanes, understanding shifts, we move on or out of love; this is an inevitable fact of life.
Related: 16 Best Books to Read After a Breakup
Let’s accept it and embrace the pure nature of change and its presence in our outer and inner worlds. All challenging times pass, though; we humans can do away with everything when there is a bit of compassion, some loving-kindness, and a lot of empathy.
So let’s bake to make this life a sweet one. Gently. Compassionately. Mindfully.
Nancy Fagan, LMFT
Founder, Relationship Resolution Center
If you want to end a relationship, you can’t avoid having the “dreaded” conversation. It’s unrealistic to think you can end things without hurting your partner.
When you tell someone you don’t love them anymore, the purpose of this sentence is to end the relationship. So rather than start with the harsh words of lost love, say, “I’m not happy and want to end our relationship.” That will lead to many questions about why you are unhappy.
Being prepared in advance will help you avoid getting off track and saying unnecessarily hurtful things.
Don’t ambush your partner
Schedule a time to talk with your partner. Choose an appropriate time and place that your partner agrees to.
Be prepared for your partner’s reaction
It’s okay for your partner to be upset, especially assuming they are in love and want to be in the relationship. Be considerate and allow your partner to voice emotions and say things they don’t mean.
The most common reactions to telling someone you no longer love them are:
- begging you to stay
Expect accusations, blame, and insistence on couple’s counseling. Acknowledge your partner’s emotions but stay the course by insisting the relationship is over.
Plan what to say
Write a script that starts with the opening sentence you will say (i.e., “We’ve both been unhappy for a long time and I think it’s time to talk about going our separate ways.“). Your script should not have more than four sentences. Think of it as an elevator pitch-be succinct and state your goal clearly— ending the relationship.
In other words, don’t over-talk; get to the point right away. Practice your conversation aloud until you have it memorized. Maintain your boundaries and stay focused. Your goal is to leave the relationship.
Tips for having the most productive discussion
- Be gentle but firm
- Be respectful
- Stay calm and avoid raising your voice
- Don’t blame
- Be honest
- Avoid clichés like “It’s not you, it’s me.“
- Avoid a point-by-point dissection of where things fell apart
- Be sensitive
- Be kind
Have a plan after the conversation
After your conversation, decide where you will go and how long you will stay. This is especially important if you live together.
Related: How to Break up with Someone You Live With
Lastly, If your partner falls apart, that is not your fault. Remember, it’s a normal reaction. Don’t let this reaction be a reason to stay in the relationship if you are truly unhappy.
Krista Jordan, PhD
Board Certified Clinical Psychologist | Writer, Choosing Therapy
It’s best to be direct about how you feel
A lot of folks will try to do a “soft start,” saying something like, “you know how much I like you and am glad to have met you, and how you are really important to me, but I have something I need to talk to you about that might be hard to hear…“
While it’s understandable to think that this slow ramping up is easing them into the conversation, in fact, it is actually increasing their anxiety.
Remember how you feel when someone says, “the boss needs to talk to you“? You start getting anxious before you even know what the conversation is going to be about, which makes it harder to stay calm and process what is actually being said.
It’s better to go right into the fact straight away and then if the person is upset, you can deal with that once the news is out. Saying “I don’t love you anymore” is the clearest, direct, and actually a kind way to deliver the news.
Undoubtedly the person will have a reaction at that point and that is the time to explain other things such as how you still like them as a person, may want to still be friends, etc.
Don’t be too specific
Going into specific reasons that you don’t love them anymore is not necessarily helpful if they are things that cannot be changed. It could leave the person with deep insecurities that they bring into their next relationship.
On the other hand, if there are things that are changeable about the person, you can ask them if they want that feedback and if so, try to offer it as tactfully as possible. Make clear that you are not interested in them making these changes for you if you have already decided you don’t want to be in the relationship anymore.
Otherwise, they may think that if they make the changes you will fall back into love with them. Above all, be direct but kind and don’t offer anything you can’t back up. If you really don’t want to be friends after a breakup, don’t offer that.
Breakups are hard but we have all been through them and we all survive. Don’t say things out of guilt that could be misleading or offer false hopes.
On the other hand, it’s also important to realize that being “in love” is not a constant state even in healthy relationships. Ask any happily married couple who has been together for more than ten years and they will tell you that they fall in and out of love with their partner periodically.
Those of us who have chosen long-term committed partnerships rely on things like respect and friendship to get us through the periods of drought where we don’t feel “in love” with our person.
That feeling almost always comes back and you learn just to be patient and trust that it will.
Ana De la Cruz, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Writer, ChoosingTherapy
Be straightforward and honest about your feelings
Honesty is vital in every relationship. And when love is over, it is better to be straightforward and honest about your feelings than to continue to live a lie. It is not fair for your partner or for you to be in a relationship where one person is no longer in love.
And just to clarify a little, love is a decision that we make every day, not an emotion. Many people confuse the emotional excitement and comfort of being around a person with love.
Love is a decision that we make every day to continue to look for the good in people and love them no matter what. But once the decision to no longer be with someone has been made, then it is better to be honest than to hurt the other person.
Honesty is better than deception
There is no right way to tell someone that you are no longer interested in continuing with the relationship. Your best card is honesty and empathy. Imagine how you would feel and what is the best way that you yourself are able to receive that message. So just be honest and gentle.
Tell them clearly that your feelings have changed and that you are no longer interested in pursuing a future in the relationship. Will they be crushed? Absolutely. Will they ask many questions? Of course. So just be prepared to answer the questions as honestly as you can be and as gentle as you can be.
At the end of the day, it is better to hurt someone with the truth than to protect them with a lie.
Keya S. McClain
Author and Podcast Host | Self-Publishing Coach, Keya’s Coaching
Express yourself in an honest, caring and thorough manner
Expressing yourself in an honest, caring and thorough manner is what most people desire. During my life’s journey, I have been ghosted and I have ghosted people from lack of maturity and awareness regarding healthy communication. Through healing and evolving, I’ve learned to be honest yet thoughtful in my delivery of truth that may harm someone.
In sharing what could be devastating news to someone, it is important to consider several things before delivering this news.
- What positive things can I say that are true and add power to them before the news (anything you add power to first can continue with the initial energy from the power source)?
- Where do you see them going, becoming and affecting others? (an important thing to highlight because as you do this, they may see their direction does not even include you).
- Why they are incredible and that they do not need to change to be anything but themselves. Most times, people think they should change to be what someone else needs to love them.
Once you write this out, an example can look like this:
“You are incredibly beautiful/handsome. I admire your intelligence and willingness to persevere through so much. It is impressive to witness and I see you having such an impact and influence on anyone you come in contact with.
Further, I definitely see you having an equally thoughtful, loving, and intelligent partner in the future. In order for you to have the authentic, sincere and devoted love you deserve, it is only fair for me to be completely honest with you in letting you know that my feelings have dissolved from loving you the same way.
I care for you and want you to experience a deep love you desire and deserve.”
This is just one example of how you can break such hurtful or devastating news to someone without making them feel;
- it’s their fault
- you don’t recognize their great qualities
- you are not sincere
- you don’t want the best for them despite your changed feelings
Certified Matchmaker and CEO, Select Date Society
Tell them with integrity and honesty
A key component of all relationships is communication. Communication can sometimes involve having difficult conversations. When you care about someone but no longer love them, the worst thing you can do is to avoid them or ghost them.
You owe it to them and to yourself to honor the relationship that you had by ending it with integrity and honesty. Set a time to sit down in person (not over the phone or via text) to let them know how you feel.
Ascertain that the time and location of your ‘talk’ are appropriate
You may want to meet somewhere publicly if you feel like emotions may get out of control or the conversation may turn heated. Don’t try to break the news right after you have been intimate or while you are at an important event. Instead, choose a quiet, comfortable place to talk.
If you feel safe and comfortable, having the conversation at home may be ideal.
Don’t be vague or try to let them down easy
Say exactly what you are feeling with transparency and kindness. Let them know that you respect them too much to lie to them, and that is why it’s important that you share how you feel honestly and face-to-face. After that, it is not up to you to try to decide whether you will still have contact moving forward.
If you want to salvage a friendship, you should tell them that, but it will ultimately be their decision to make. The saying “time heals all wounds” certainly applies here. After a little time, the two of you may end up having a beautiful friendship.
CEO and Matchmaker, Exclusive Matchmaking
Don’t make them feel like a fool
When it comes to telling someone you don’t love them anymore, this is one where you want to keep it short and sweet and to the point. Don’t hem and haul or sit there listening to declarations of their love and make them feel like a fool when you suddenly announce you don’t love them anymore.
Read on for a few tips:
- Pick a quiet spot where you can focus on them, and there isn’t a lot of interruption such as your living room. You don’t want to be in a crowded bar or telling someone this when the waiter is about to come back and take your order.
- Keep it short and sweet and to the point as I said before. There’s nothing worse than someone trying to guess what you just said. That can be awful and cruel.
- Don’t give them the rundown of why you don’t because, after all, it’s like a breakup. You just want to say as little as possible so as not to upset them more, but enough to give them closure so they can move on.
- Give the person enough time to process it and discuss it because they will need closure. Making an announcement and then throwing them out the door immediately afterward isn’t the way to go.
- Make sure you are clear. It’s like a breakup and you don’t want them to think there is a chance or something they can do to recover your love.
Relationship Expert | Published Author, PeopleLooker
Sometimes, you may not want to be romantically involved with your partner, but you don’t know how to tell them. It can be heartbreaking to think about starting over, but it’s unavoidable at times. Here are some pointers to help you navigate one of the most potentially difficult conversations of your life with care.
Take responsibility for your feelings
Be honest if you’re experiencing hurt and loss, too. Remind your partner that they are important to you and will always be. While these statements may seem trite, they are still important.
Choose a comfortable, private setting
Since it will be an emotional conversation, give your partner the luxury of being alone so they can cry, vent, or otherwise experience the moment in their own way.
Be careful not to give false hope
If you know deep down that you will never reconcile, do not say you might do so in the future.
Explain what has changed
Instead of using harsh words like “I no longer love you,” explain that your feelings have changed.
Avoid doing a detailed post-mortem
It may be difficult for your partner to understand why you no longer love them. Despite the fact that you may wish to ease others’ suffering, you are not obligated to do so.
Use neutral statements that don’t place blame on either of you
If you don’t want to go down that path, don’t analyze your past relationships. With that said, it should be sufficient to let them know that this isn’t working for you and you want to end things.
Don’t suggest that you can still be friends
It’s not a good idea to tell them you’d like to remain friends. Time and space will likely be necessary for them to get over you, so be kind to them and give them the time and space they need.
The greatest gift you can offer them is your honesty
I find that the hardest part of breaking up with someone is saying goodbye to them, even if you don’t love them anymore. Honesty takes courage and tact, but it’s the best gift you can give during a breakup.
Make sure you prepare for the breakup discussion and don’t put it off! Prepare what you’ll say and how you’ll say it before sitting down to speak. Waiting too long will only make things harder.
When a relationship ends, anger, tears, and bitterness can come your way, or there may be no reaction at all! Getting over your relationship involves sharing your partner’s feelings and emotions. You will soon be able to discuss the situation calmly once the initial reaction passes.
Dr. Darcy Sterling
NYC Relationship Therapist, Ask Dr. Darcy | Host, E! Network’s “Famously Single”
Ending a relationship is not an easy thing to do, but since most relationships are more likely to end than last, it’s a necessary skill to have.
Breakups are best done in person
Breakups are best done in person whenever possible or on a video call as a last resort because body language accounts for over half of all communication. What’s important is for the person you’re speaking with to be able to see you.
Schedule a time that’s good for the both of you to speak, and meet in a neutral space where you feel safe and comfortable. If you think your partner might get escalated during the conversation, choose a public space.
When you’re face-to-face, you’ll want to be direct and to the point — that means ripping off the bandaid and physically saying the words, “I’m not in love with you anymore.”
Doing this will ensure that your partner, now ex, understands that you’re ending the relationship and that this isn’t a plea to work on the relationship. When those words are spoken, your ex will likely have questions and it’s important at this moment to answer them honestly and directly, leaving no room for miscommunication.
Your ex may ask if you can still be friends, and while I think it’s great to be friends with your exes, I recommend taking a break first. You both will need time and space to heal before attempting to be friends after the breakup.
Wellness Psychologist, olio lusso
Even if it may cause them pain, do it properly
Breaking up with someone can be complicated, especially if someone loves you. If you have decided to open up, it is advisable to do it decently, even though it will hurt them.
It is common to fall out of love even though it’s devastating and should be handled with great care. I would therefore recommend:
- To be done in a calm and private environment. The desire for break up might not be two-way; therefore, I recommend you find a peaceful and private setting to break the news to them. Please give them a luxurious place where only two of you will have space to allow them either vent, cry, or otherwise.
- Use neutral statements that don’t make them feel to be the cause. While bringing up the issues, explain the breakup in a calm and understanding manner that will not make your partner carry the guilt of being the reason. Most importantly, make them understand neither of you could help.
- Avoid giving false hope that you could reconcile to make the person feel better. This will raise their hopes, and it will break them down severely whenever it fails. Stay firm on your decision to make them start learning living with it.
We have witnessed or experienced diverse effects such as depression, negative emotions, anxiety, and stress due to harsh breaks up. A significant percentage of suicide cases have been recorded as out of love affairs that were rapidly put to a stop. Therefore, if you plan to tell your partner “it’s over,” do it decently.
Co-Founder and Content Writer, WhatsupQuiz
Breaking up is hard to do, and it can be even harder to end a relationship with someone you love. Telling someone you no longer love them can seem like a cold and cruel thing to do, but it can be one of the kindest things you ever do for that person.
If you’re thinking about ending things, here are a few ways to tell someone you don’t love them anymore.
Prepare for a difficult conversation
Telling someone that you no longer love them can be a difficult conversation. You may be worried about their reaction or feel guilty for putting them through this. However, it is important to remember that you are doing this for their benefit, not yours. The first step is to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the conversation.
Make sure you are in a good headspace and that you are ready to handle whatever reaction they have. You should also have a game plan for the conversation. What are you going to say? How will you respond to their questions or accusations? Remind yourself that this is not about you and that you are doing this for them.
Put the other person first
In any breakup, it is important to remember that the other person is going through a difficult time too. It is important to be respectful and put the other person’s feelings first.
This means that you should never contact them if you are not in a good place. You should also never contact them to try and get them back. Wait until you are ready to have a civil conversation and be prepared to listen to what they have to say.
You may not get the closure you are looking for, but you will know that you handled the situation with integrity.
Choose a good time
It might be tempting to just blurt it out, but it’s always best to choose a good time to break the news. You want to make sure you have their full attention, so avoid doing it when they’re busy or preoccupied.
Additionally, try to pick a time when you’re both in a good mood and feeling calm. This way, there’s a lower chance for things to get messy or for either of you to say something you might regret later.
Approach them privately
The best way to tell someone you don’t love them anymore is to approach them privately. This way, you can have a more meaningful conversation and they won’t feel blindsided. You don’t want to say something like this in a public place, as it will only make the situation more awkward for everyone involved.
Give them the respect they deserve and have the conversation in a private setting.
Stay strong and calm
When it comes time to break up with someone, it can be hard to know how to do it. You want to make sure you’re respectful, but you also don’t want to drag things out.
Here are a few tips to help make the process as smooth as possible.
- First, stay strong and calm. Breaking up is hard enough, and you don’t want to make things worse by yelling or being emotional.
- Next, be direct. Don’t beat around the bush or try to find excuses. Just come out and say what you need to say.
- Finally, be respectful. Thank them for the time you’ve spent together and let them know that you wish them all the best.
The world can be a tough place, and sometimes it’s hard to find the strength you need. Sometimes, telling someone that you don’t love them anymore isn’t easy. However, the longer you wait to tell them, the harder it will become until ultimately there won’t be any good way of doing it at all.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I deal with mutual possessions or shared belongings after a relationship ends?
Dividing up mutual possessions or shared belongings after a relationship ends can sometimes be a difficult and emotional process. It’s important to be respectful and fair to your ex-partner and not punish or hurt them with their possessions.
Consider making a list of shared belongings and discussing how you will divide them respectfully and fairly. If you can’t agree on your own, consider seeking the help of a mediator or neutral third party to facilitate the division process.
Remember that possessions are just things and that your emotional well-being is more important than any material item.
How do I handle the impact of ending a relationship with someone who was also my friend?
Ending a relationship with someone who was also your friend can be emotionally challenging, as it may involve navigating a loss of both romantic and platonic connection.
It’s important that you allow yourself to grieve and process your emotions and seek support and help as needed. Take time away from your ex-partner to focus on healing and moving on, but also be open to the possibility of maintaining a friendship if you’re both interested.
It’s important to communicate openly and honestly with your ex-partner about your needs and desires and respect their feelings and boundaries.
Seek the help of a therapist or counselor if needed, and engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Remember that healing takes time, but with patience and self-love, you will eventually find happiness and peace again.
How do I handle social media after ending a relationship?
Social media can sometimes make it difficult to move on after a relationship ends, especially if you see constant updates from your ex-partner.
It may be helpful to take a break from social media altogether for a period of time or to unfollow or mute your ex-partner’s updates. It’s important to focus on your own healing and well-being and not compare yourself to your ex-partner’s social media updates.
Remember that social media only shows a curated version of a person’s life and that everyone has their own struggles and challenges. Allow yourself to grieve, process your emotions, and seek support and help.
How do I deal with the impact of ending a relationship when we have children together?
Ending a relationship when you have children together can be emotionally challenging because it may involve co-parenting and other responsibilities that impact the well-being of your children.
It’s important that you prioritize the needs and well-being of your children and work with your ex-partner to create a co-parenting plan that is fair and equitable for both parties.
Seek the help of a mediator or neutral third party if needed, and consider seeking therapy or counseling to address any emotional issues that may arise.
It’s important to be open and honest with your ex-partner about your needs and desires and to maintain a respectful and courteous relationship for the sake of your children.
Remember that your children’s well-being is your top priority, and with patience and cooperation, you can create a healthy co-parenting relationship that benefits everyone involved.
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