The Art of Breaking Up Gently but Firmly

Dear Sherry:

My boyfriend of two months is a terrific guy, but I'm just not in love and I know I won't fall in love. Unfortunately, he says he loves me and wants to get serious. What's the kindest way to break up with him?

Cindy

Question:
ABOUT THE EXPERT

Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear Cindy:

Do it gently and quickly. Say something like, "You're a wonderful guy and I really enjoy being with you. But, since I don't think we have what it takes for the long run, I care about you too deeply to lead you on."

Here are three don'ts:

  • Don't make him feel he did something wrong that turned you off.
  • Don't make him feel that there is something wrong with his physical or emotional makeup that renders him unlovable.
  • Don't give him false hope that you'll change your mind.

And a very important do:

  • Do treat him with respect and answer his questions as honestly -- but diplomatically -- as possible. That way he can get closure.

Breaking up is never fun for either party, but you've got the easier job. Anyone who says it's more painful to leave than to be left is either in denial or a blatant liar. He deserves your kindness and compassion.

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