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Things to Say & Ask Before a Breakup

It might not be the most comfortable topic to think about, but there comes at least one time in our life when we need to process things to say & ask before a breakup.

By Lorna VausePublished 6 years ago 7 min read
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This is the kind of article that, frankly, we wish everyone would read. We say that because, although we can’t think of one person who looks forward to going through a breakup, our personal experiences have taught us that breakups are hard because of how they are done. Breaking up with someone isn't easy, but they are normal. Normally though, they are usually done poorly because the person doing the breaking didn’t think about what to say—or ask—beforehand.

If you’re in a relationship that looks like it’s got an expiration date on it, before sharing this news with your significant other, here are (some of) the things to say & ask before a breakup with them.

It’s a huge assumption to make that everyone who thinks about ending their relationship doesn’t still have strong feelings for the person they’re dating. Sometimes the love is there, but they’ve outgrown the other person, the relationship has come to a standstill, or someone else has caught their eye—and heart.

For these reasons (and more), that’s why it’s totally okay to tell someone that you still care about them, even if you’re planning to breakup with them at some point. In fact, if you do, it’s also a good idea to tell them why you care about them and what you appreciate about having them in your life.

Some people might call this “letting them down softly.” We choose to see it as making sure you see the relationship from a healthy perspective before calling it quits. If you do it with a little bit of tact, you might end things as friends (or at least friendly).

A healthy relationship isn’t one-sided; it’s always mutually inclusive. At least it should be.

Whether you’re unhappy, confused, or the relationship simply isn’t going as smoothly as you think it should go, that doesn’t automatically mean that you shouldn’t be in it anymore. Sometimes just mentioning to your partner that you’re not sure how you feel about the relationship is what can open up the kind of dialogue necessary to get everything back on track.

If your partner truly does care about you and wants the relationship to last, they will take this particular statement to heart. If they ignore you or they respond with a flippant, nonchalant attitude, that’s your cue that things are probably only going to go from bad to worse.

If you and yours have been together for more than just a few months, not only do you share strong feelings, but quite a bit of history too. Do you want to give all of that up just because you’re going through a bit of a “valley” right now?

All relationships have good times and some not-so-good ones. That doesn’t mean they should end. What it could mean is, sometimes, it can do both individuals a world of good to spend some time apart; not to see other people, but to get some space to assess the situation and see what’s next, and best, for both individuals.

If your relationship is truly worth fighting for, a little distance won’t make things worse; it can actually make things better. Especially if you use that time to get some good advice, do a little soul searching, and decide what you want for the future of your situation.

We’ll be the first to say that some people have super unrealistic expectations in their relationships. What falls into this category? Not wanting their significant other to have other relationships (and by that, we mean friendships), wanting to have all of their partner’s time, thinking that they are never supposed to argue, or that their partner should never make any mistakes. If this is what you look for in your relationship, all you’re doing is stressing your own self out and making your significant other miserable.

When we’re talking about wanting more in a relationship, we’re speaking along the lines of feeling loved, respected, and appreciated. We mean that your partner hears what makes you feel valued and special, and wanting to do those things for you and more.

If you voice these kinds of points and nothing changes, you are well within your rights to want to be go separate ways. We also fully support you telling the person you’re with that you’re seriously considering doing just that. This might help you realize your breakup was a blessing in disguise.

Sometimes, no matter what you do and how hard you try, things just aren’t going to work out. If you’re really honest with yourself, it usually isn’t always the other person’s fault either.

If you know there are mistakes you’ve made or things you could’ve done better on the list of things to say and ask before a breakup, what should go on the top of that list is, “I’m sorry.” You’re sorry for not being your best self in the relationship.

What if it’s not so much about mistakes being made, but the relationship has simply run its course? Sometimes “I’m sorry” simply means, “I’m sorry this is how things have ended up. I’m sorry it couldn’t have gone another way.”

Breakups and heartache aren't all that bad if its what's best for both parties (or at least you), but there’s nothing wrong with giving them a sensitive touch.

While it’s unrealistic to think that being in a healthy relationship means that you’ll be happy all of the time, it’s also unfortunate if you’re sad more than you’re happy while you’re still trying to make things work.

If, for the past few months, there have been more lows than highs in your relationship, and no matter what you try to do to make things better, nothing improves, it’s a fair question to ask your partner, “Are you happy?”

If they hesitate to respond or give you some answer about how there are more bad times than good times, at the very least, you opened the floor for an honest conversation. If that leads to breaking up? So be it. At least you both have the opportunity to find happiness—with someone else.

No matter how long you’ve been seeing someone, there are still new things about them that you can learn. That’s because as long as we’re living, we’re growing and changing. As that happens, oftentimes, our wants and needs change too.

Some couples make the grave mistake of assuming that what their partner needed in the beginning of the relationship is exactly what they need now. Because that may no longer be the case, their partner ends up feeling depleted, and sometimes even resentful.

There’s no way to know for sure if your significant other is getting what they need from you unless you ask. If they tell you that they aren’t, be open to making some adjustments. If you’re not willing to put in the work, this is another indication that breaking up is what you need to do.

Oh, if only love and compatibility were synonymous—but they’re not. If love was all that two people needed in order to make a relationship work, several more couples would be able to make things work—and last.

Sometimes we meet someone and there’s an instant chemistry. We like the way they make us feel, so we don’t put much thought into things like whether or not we share the same values or want the same things until we’re already emotionally attached and invested.

In fact, these things, oftentimes, don’t come up until we find ourselves constantly fighting with our significant other and we can’t figure out why.

Now do you see why on the list of things to say and ask before a breakup, "Do you still feel like we're compatible?" makes our list? If you don’t make compatibility a priority, a breakup is pretty much inevitable.

If you were to put 20 guys in a room and ask them how they feel about this particular question, probably 12 of them are going to HATE it. If anything puts a certain amount of pressure onto a relationship, it would be, “Where do you see this going?”

For the record, we don’t think this is something that you should overwhelm someone with during the beginning stages of a relationship. However, after about six months of consistent dating, it’s a fair question to ask; especially if you want to be in something serious and long-term.

If they look at you with a blank expression on their face, or they express they want to casually date when you want so much more, you already know where this is going.

Maybe you still like who you’re with, but you don’t want to be in anything exclusive. The expectation of talking to them every day and/or not being able to see someone else isn’t what you want to do. Maybe you’ve been feeling this way for a while now, but you haven’t said anything because you’re not sure how your partner will react. The only way to know is if you bring it up to them.

Caution: There are no guarantees that they’ll be down for still seeing you while you see other people, but you won’t know unless you ask this question (or something along these lines).

Either they will see it as the ultimate win/win situation, or it will be your cue to move on.

Hey, if it ultimately gets you to where you want to be, it’s still work asking. We’re confident about that.

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About the Creator

Lorna Vause

Grew up going back and forth between Boston and New York so I have the weirdest accent. Mother of two babies, one of them is furry and meows a lot though

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