So here's the deal. There's a guy in your life you care about but certain actions or things he's said have led you to believe he's not "The One." You know you should end it. But it's tough. You care about the guy. You don't want to hurt his feelings and you still have fun together…sometimes. Sound familiar?
If this is where you're at in your relationship, it might be time to consider greener pastures. If only you knew the best way to cut it off without the relationship coming back to haunt you or without a lot of drama. It might be nice if you could achieve the brass ring of post-breakup relationships: a friendship. Well, it's time to stop dreaming and make it happen. Some tips will help. We've written them down for you. Breakups are never easy and certainly not fun, but if you do it the right way, you can mitigate some of the pain and keep everyone's dignity intact. Even his.
Practice First: If you've been in a relationship with this guy for a while, chances are you have an idea of how he's likely to react. Or what arguments he may come up with when you initiate the conversation. Anticipate those and feel free to have as many faux conversations in the mirror with yourself before you sit down with him to do it for real. Pay attention to keeping a calm, even tone of voice, making eye contact and sounding sincere (the best way is to be sincere). You may be tempted to reassure him with a pat on the back or hand holding, if you think this will give him false hope, resist the temptation.
Regulate The Location: Should you do it at a Laker's game? No, too public. At home alone when things can go from bad to worse with no intervention? Perhaps not, too private. Pick a spot where you can speak quietly but where other people are around. Maybe a park, maybe a coffeeshop with a private corner. Even if you expect everything to go smoothly, you never know. Public space can prevent a blow up and keep things civil, which will help him cope later on. He can assure himself he didn't act a fool.
Be Brave About It: Needless to say you should always break up in person. It's the mature, respectful thing to do. You'd want the same from him. If you're thinking of doing it the e-way, think about how badly you want to break it off. Email can lead to a dramatic cycle. Is that fair to either of you? Do you want a new relationship or drama? He'll respect himself, you and the situation more if you handle it respectfully.
Avoid Platitudes: We all know the "It's not you, it's me" bit. Everyone hates it, but it stands the test of time because it's ultimately how we feel about someone we truly care for but don't want to stay with forever. It's okay to feel it, but don't say it. Or anything else cliché. Honesty is always the best policy, especially with men. Instead, be specific about those "different directions" you're going in. If he's off to med school and you want to backpack through Europe, it's important to say so.
Keep the Conversation Focused: If he doesn't expect it and is shocked, he may come up with a ton of reasons why you're wrong, why you should be together. If he's clever, he'll try to circle the conversation around to your better times, reminding you of what you'll be missing. You've got to go in with a firm but gentle hand. It's okay to repeat yourself — in fact, it might be the only way for him to get it.
Keep It Short, Sweet And Direct: "I don't think we should see each other any more romantically," may sound harsh. But it's better to be direct. So instead of expecting a deep talk about his inner demons and your inner child, expect to be straightforward and keep your own emotions under control. You can talk your mother or therapist blue in the face about your thought process. He probably doesn't want or need to hear it. He will ask for explanations, which can also be stated directly without a lot of extra deep insights.
Avoid Personal Insults: There's no need to get nasty or insulting. And he'll be extra hurt if you tell him you no longer find him attractive, so avoid that sentence. Focus on being direct and repeating the fact that you think it's time for the two of you to date other people. You'll make him feel better if you point out a few of his good qualities you've enjoyed and would hope to experience as a friend in the future. The future being the operative term here. You'll want some time to establish a clean break. If you lead him on, and he feels that way in the future, you'll just be undoing the good work you did during "the talk."
Let Him Save Face — Online: This is doubly true if you have a lot of mutual friends via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Don't insult him publicly. And don't try to say something about "someone" you're glad is no longer in your life, thinking he won't know it's him or hear about it. Pinning a sly quote about breaking up that makes you feel better, but will make him feel worse is just not classy. So, don't. Wait a respectful amount of time before you take down your status and definitely before you put up photos of your new fabulous single life or your new man. Give him an opportunity to tell his friends and family on his own time within the first couple of weeks.