Breaking up can be hard to do

Dear Alice,

How do I dump my boyfriend? I have been going out with a guy for over a month and it's just not working, but the problem is I don't know how to dump him.

Please help,

Emergency in Edinburgh

Dear Emergency in Edinburgh,

Realizing that you and your current partner don't mesh as well as you originally thought can be quite a bummer. However, it's best to recognize and understand the issues in your relationship now, rather than letting them fester on for too long and potentially impact you and your current partner further. You mentioned that your relationship with your current boyfriend isn't working. What exactly about the relationship isn't working for you? Do you think that these issues can be worked through? Or do you think that the relationship has reached its end? Taking some time to answer these questions may allow you to better articulate to your partner why the relationship isn't working out. If you know this relationship is at the end of the line, using strategies to have a difficult conversation will be your best bet to end the relationship while causing the least amount of hurt. 

In any situation such as this, it's key to remember that kindness and respect are what counts. Depending on your comfortability with speaking to him in-person about this, one such option could be to let him know how you're feeling over the phone or video chat. On the flipside, if you're comfortable meeting him in person, you can try to find a quiet place that provides you both with the opportunity to focus on each other and decide whether or not it makes sense to continue seeing each other romantically.  In the end, telling him what you've shared your question ("It's just not working") may be enough. While being able to give reasons as to why you feel the relationship needs to end can help you articulate your decision, you don't have to justify your reasoning to your boyfriend. Sticking to "I" statements, rather than putting blame on your boyfriend, will also help you to own your feelings. It could be that your boyfriend is having similar feelings as you are about the relationship and is also struggling on how to approach you about it. You could also try to put things into perspective and think on the bright side when speaking with your boyfriend. Not only are you giving yourself the possibility of meeting someone new, you're also giving him this option as well!

After a break up, people tend to have a lot of different emotions, whether they be feelings of relief or remorse. You may find it helpful to speak with a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional during this time to help you sort through any emotions you may have. Seeking out advice or support during a break up can also help you build your confidence and help you clear your mind. Furthermore, it may also be helpful to just spend some time with friends or family doing activities you enjoy, or even joining a new club or taking a fun class to help keep you occupied.

All in all, if you feel that your current relationship has run its course and you no longer want to be with your boyfriend, then it may be time to sit down with him and tell him how you're feeling. And, by doing this in a respectful and kind manner, you both may be able to leave the relationship feeling good about the decision and with a newfound understanding of what you are both looking for in a romantic partner.

Wishing you the best,

Last updated Aug 26, 2022
Originally published Dec 04, 1998

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