How Do I Tell Him It’s Over? I Don’t Want To Be Mean

How do I tell him it’s over? What is the best way to let him down easy because you don’t want to be mean, hurt his feelings or just ghost.

how do I tell him its overHow Do I Break Up With Him?

Dear Dating Coach Ronnie,

I was reading your post on Does he like me? because I’m trying to learn what to do. My situation is a little different since this guy I’m “seeing” initiates dates and spending time with me. We usually see each other 1-2x per week. It’s a Sunday evening, a lunch break, or a couple hours before he goes to work (he works 3rd shift). I’m quite attached to him as he is affectionate and thoughtful towards me.

The problem is he did tell me a month ago, “He doesn’t want a commitment right now”. We have both only been divorced 9 months. He has 2 ex wives and 5 kids (2 are twin toddlers). He texts me daily but has only referred to me as his friend. In public, I can tell he’s very nervous about someone spotting him with me.

I know this won’t develop into anything more and I justify staying with him because I’m lonely. But I’m also quite sad that I feel a bit like a “filler” girlfriend.

My question is then, HOW do I tell him it’s over and we need to end this “situationship”? I don’t want to be mean and I don’t want to ghost. He truly has done so many nice things and has been there for me in many instances. Yet, in my heart, I know this won’t progress and I’m a long-term kind of girl.

I just can’t do “Friends with Benefits”. At 44, I feel like I’m wasting my time. Any ideas? How do I tell him it’s over and kindly end this without admitting I’m “emotionally invested” or being mean to him? I really need your help.

Thanks,
Moving on in Boulder

Endings Are Always Sad

Dear Moving,

First, I want to let you know I realize how hard this is. No one wants to hurt a nice guy. He treats you well and is not a bad person. But sadly, he’s not ready for something deeper and you are.

Second, kudos for being clear about what you want and recognizing the truth of the situation. He’s NOT going to change. Thankfully you are not stuck in HOPE that he will suddenly become the man you dream of.

Breaking things off in a mature way can be challenging. When a woman is angry, she doesn’t care so much about HIS feelings. She wants to express her pain and lash out. Maybe get back at the guy a little right? But in this instance, there is no anger and he hasn’t done anything wrong. You simply aren’t a good match.

Being smart enough to know the relationship will not go anywhere and you’re not on the same path is a blessing. Recognizing that you don’t want the same things from the relationship shows a good level of personal awareness.  So, while you’re disappointed and sad, you want to end this with respect. That’s admirable.

Just the Facts

What I have found over the years is that delivery can be more important than the actual words. The straight forward approach can work really help let a man down without being hurtful. What do I mean by being straight forward? State the facts carefully, without emotion.

When you start a conversation like this and you’re very emotional, you make it MORE EMOTIONAL FOR HIM TOO. Instead, open with, “I have something to tell you that is not easy for me to say.” That gives him the heads up something is coming that won’t be easy for him either. Saying this plainly and calmly helps set the stage.

How Do I Tell Him It’s Over?

Next, take a deep breath and be authentic as you tell him your truth. While you really like him and enjoy spending time together, you want a deeper relationship with commitment and partnership. And you know this is something he is not looking for.

Pause at this point to see if he wants to say anything. He might say any of a number of things, including telling you that’s not true, he does want a deeper relationship. Or his situation is just temporary. Remember, he likes you. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he can give at the level of relationship your heart desires.

After he stops talking, tell him you must remain true to your relationship needs so, you are going to move on to find a better situation. Tell him you wanted to explain what was happening because he’s a good man and you respect him. So you didn’t want to just stop or disappear, but talk about it.

Again, stop to see what he has to say. It might take a moment or two of silence before he says anything as he processes what he heard. Give him a chance to catch his breath and speak up.

Following this process doesn’t mean he won’t feel sad or have his hurt his feelings. He does like you which means he will be vulnerable. Yet, this drama-free, direct approach will help him understand quickly and hopefully side step an argument. When you avoid big emotional scenes, even difficult conversations can flow fairly smoothly.

Breaking Up Is Never Easy

This is not an easy thing to do. Staying calm versus all emotional and stating the facts will help you have a mature, even though difficult, conversation. This drama-free approach makes hearing the message easier and hopefully let him down easy.

So, in answer to your question, “How do I tell him it’s over?” Keep it simple and minimize emotion – that’s my best breakup advice.

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