Breaking Up With Someone You Love: How Do You Know & How to Handle it

By Krista


Last Updated: July 14, 2022

In relationships, rough patches happen. And sometimes, we wonder whether it makes sense to go our separate ways or stay together. 

Yet, maybe you’ve been wondering about the above for quite some time.

For you, right now, it makes sense to end things. However, this doesn’t mean it’s easy. Breaking up with someone you love is complicated. You care about them. You don’t want to hurt them. But you know things just aren’t working.

So, how do you go about this in the right way? What should you know? In this article, we’re going to help you navigate this difficult decision. 



How Do You Know When to Break Up With Someone You Love?

Ups and downs in a relationship are completely normal. No one can expect a fairytale-ending 100% of the time. And when two separate individuals commit to one another, you’re bound to find some differences that create conflict or disagreements.

But sometimes, love truly isn’t enough. 

Personalities clash in the wrong ways. Or perhaps there’s just been too much resentment that you find yourself and your partner unable to overcome. Put simply: It sucks. But you know deep down that you both could find better matches and be happier living separate lives. 


What Are the Signs That a Relationship is Over?

There are also a few tell-tale signs that a relationship is over before anyone has actually permanently pulled the plug.

How do you know when breaking up with someone you love is the right choice? Here are some signs: 

1. You’ve broken up and gotten back together many times.

There’s a reason you and your partner keep ending things. And despite reconciliation, a breakup is still on the table. There are only so many times a couple can play this yo-yo game of breaking up and then getting back together, especially if you’re no longer young adults or teens.

Think about why breakups continually happen with you two. It’s possible these are the reasons it’s not meant to be (but it’s hard to admit!).


2. Your needs aren’t being met.

This is very matter-of-fact. And unfortunately, needs vary from person to person. Furthermore, some people will be able to meet your needs and some won’t (and vice versa). This may, again, come down to a difference in personalities. 

If you aren’t sure whether your needs are getting met are not (or what you or your partner’s needs involve), you should uncover what each of your love languages are. This can help you each determine whether you’re willing to meet each others’ needs or not.


3. Trust is lost.

The foundations of a good relationship involve trust and communication.

If one of these is unravelling, you might be better off going your separate ways. At the same time, trust can be re-built, but this really varies from situation to situation and person to person.


4. Your core values don’t line up.

If you value family and your partner doesn’t, it’s going to create conflict.

If you value ambition and they don’t, again, it’s going to create conflict.

Your core values and future vision should match. If they don’t, you might be better off with someone who aligns with you better.


5. You’re experiencing physical or emotional abuse.

There should be zero tolerance for any kind of abuse—physical or emotional.

Watch for the signs of abuse and end things if things lean toward this toxic territory. This could be the difference between your mental health getting destroyed versus not.


6. You continually think about breaking up.

If you’re constantly thinking about how you’re not right for one another and it hasn’t really left your mind, it’s probably a clear indication that you shouldn’t be together and that you aren’t right for one another.

Related Article: 6 Sad Signs of An Unhealthy Friendship & 4 Ways to Tell a Good One



How Do I Break Up With Someone I Still Love?

From the above signs, maybe you’ve determined that breaking up with someone you love is still inevitable. It’s time to move on. So, how can you go about breaking up with someone you love in the best way possible?

1. Know your “why” and ensure this break up is truly what you want (and potentially need).

Issues have layers. Sometimes, peeling back these layers can prove that breaking up isn’t the best case scenario. In fact, maybe you or your partner is simply needing more support and need to communicate this better. 


2. Have an honest and open conversation.

Talk about what you both want out of life.

If it’s not the same, it’s a clear indicator that you shouldn’t stick it out. At the same time, this should be something you do early on in a relationship rather than a last-ditch effort. Yet, if you still love this person, it can help to determine what each others’ visions entail to ensure this is the right decision.

Related Article: 6 Helpful Ways To Handle Couple Conflict In Your Relationship


3. Stick with the decision you make.

If you decide to work on things, commit to that for a length of time.

If you decide to end things, commit to that. Don’t be wishy-washy. This can get confusing for them and you.


4. Break up in person (not via text or phone).

You have a relationship history with this person.

Respect-wise (and being able to move on-wise), have the break up discussion in person. Make sure they know you want to have a serious conversation and do it in a place where you and your partner feel comfortable.


5. Make sure to answer any questions they have.

They are going to be hurt.

But it doesn’t help to stonewall. Again, be open and honest. Let them know why and talk from your point of view, without accusations. 


6. Accept it will be a rough road ahead.

Breaking up isn’t easy.

You’re going to have moments where you miss them and where you feel lonely. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel those feelings. At the same time, lean on your support system. Friends and family are there for you.



Can You Love Someone But Still Want to Break Up?

Unfortunately, yes! Breaking up with someone you love is something that happens all the time. Not everyone is right for each other. And despite how much you care, sometimes the logistics and values just don’t add up. 

The best thing you can do after breaking up is create boundaries between you and your ex and stick with them, as well as take care of yourself. Give yourself time to grieve the relationship. Even when you’re the one doing the “breaking up” part, it’s still difficult.

Read Next: Relationship Breakup? Our 8 Best Tips for Overcoming the Pain

Photo by Ivan Samkov


4 comments on “Breaking Up With Someone You Love: How Do You Know & How to Handle it”

    1. Hi Edwin, what would you be interested to know? It could inform future articles! We have multiple other articles on break ups, dealing with toxic relationships and overcoming the pain of ending relationships with friends as well as partners. Just click on this link and hopefully you can find the info you're looking for!

  1. I had a twenty year on off relationship with a drinker. He was offered a job away and I agreed he take it. The distance helped a lot. And yes lots of release and kindness toward myself and others around me. Find my own feet again and accept the challenges. I have my loving family back and happy.

    1. Congrats Glenda, it sounds like you have been through a lot, but have come out the other side. We are happy to have you!

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