Write a Break Up Email

Edited by Donna, Eng, Dougie

It seems that it might be more courteous to break up with someone in person, because it is somehow polite, and shows that you did, at one time, care, but it can be much more efficient and less dramatic if you simply send your ex-to-be a break up email.

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If you don't want to break up with someone face-to-face consider writing an email.


Step-by-step guide to writing a break-up email

  1. 1
    Set the intention that you are going to keep this email simple, short and courteous in tone.
    There will be no blaming, shaming, accusations, resentment or anything in this email that is going to make the person feel worse than they are going to once they get your message in their inbox.
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  2. 2
    Devise an email header that draws attention to it, because you want the person to open it.
    Be sure to use the person's first name in the header and your first name. An example would be "To Alice from Brian. Please read this important communication from me about our relationship." For a simpler approach try "To Alice from Brian. Relationship status."
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  3. 3
    Set the intention that this email will not be more than three paragraphs.
    The reason you want to do this is to limit any provocations that might bring the person back into your life demanding an explanation.
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  4. 4
    Make an outline for the first paragraph.
    This will state:  
    1. the declaration that you are splitting from this person,
    2. the reason why
    3. why your decision is no longer up for discussion
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  5. 5
    Make an outline for the second paragraph.
    This will state:  
    1. an appreciation of the good times you had together
    2. a mention of how long you have been together
    3. an apology if you have behave badly by breaking promises or cheating
    4. a regret that it has come to this
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  6. 6
    Make an outline for the third paragraph.
    This will state:  
    1. an apology for breaking up in an email
    2. a request for no further contact
    3. an expression of good will.
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  7. 7
    Make sure the date is at the top of the email so that there is no confusion as to when you have withdrawn from the relationship.
    When you deliver bad relationship news this way, you do not what any confusion about when you set a boundary with this person.
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  8. 8
    Write the email in full and then "sleep on It." When you write a break up email it usually means that you will never see the person again.
    It is best to wait a night and a day before sending it in case you change your mind about breaking up with the person
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  9. 9
    Edit, rewrite or make any changes to the email.
    After a day away from what you have written you may find you want to change it or use different wording.
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  10. 10
    Send the email and let it be.
    After you send the email there is a tendency to want to contact the person to see how they reacted to your message. Try and resist this as it is disrespectful of the person's privacy, sends a mixed message and leaves the door open for additional communication.
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  11. 11
    Be indifferent to any emails that come back as a response.
    You can read emails that come back as a response but do not answer them or you will not have ended the relationship. If repeated emails arrive you can block them.
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The less drama there is in the break up email, the faster your ex will be able to mend his or her broken heart.


  • Try to be sensitive about the other person's schedule and don't send it to them when they are at work, at their chemotherapy session or about to do some public speaking
  • Don't put anything in the email that you don't want others to read as many people get an email like this and then forward it to others to get their opinion about it
  • Keep your emotions out of it, no matter how you feel, as this invites further engagement in the future
  • Do not use pet names or baby talk that might be painful or remind your ex of your intimacy
  • No matter what your ex has done do not use abusive phrases or confrontational statements as this can set off a chain reaction of volatile email exchanges
  • Do not use bargaining tactics in the email, such as "if you promise to quit drinking, maybe we can get back together" as that weakens the strength of your position
  • Do not leave the door open for a reunion in any way, or your letter will not be taken seriously
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Relationships

Recent edits by: Eng, Donna

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