Write a Breakup Letter
Edited by Train Wreck, Eng, VisiHow
Breaking up with someone is never easy. Whether you're married, planning to marry, engaged, or dating it's always painful to end a relationship. Many times it's actually more painful for the person saying goodbye. Unfortunately responsible adult love sometimes requires you to take that first step and breakup. Obviously if you're married this means a divorce, but when you remove all of the complex interactions and issues married couples usually have, it's still just a breakup. In this sense all breakups are the same, and they all leave you a little brokenhearted.
In the tutorial below, we will discuss how to write a breakup letter. After reading through this article, if you have questions or comments, or you'd like to share your own story with us, then please do so in the space provided at the end of this tutorial.
Deciding what to write
What you write in a breakup letter is very important. The objective of any breakup is ending the relationship. This should be done with a focus on closure. Closure means not leaving any doors open to continue your relationship. It does not mean you can't be friends. It does not mean you can't still talk. It does however mean that your relationship is absolutely and irrevocably finished. To make sure you express this clearly in your own breakup letter, we're going to go over some important steps below.
- 1You need to be very clear in your intention of breaking up. It means you should not dance around the issue. Do both yourself and the person you're breaking up with a favor and from the beginning let him or her know that you are breaking up with him or her. There is no need to be unpleasant, unkind, or rude. Simply be honest and direct.Explain yourself.Advertisement
- 2When breaking up with someone, it is inconsiderate of you to not clearly state why. If you don't know why, then say that. If you're breaking up with him or her to see someone else, don't whitewash it. That doesn't mean you have to tell him or her you're seeing someone else, but obviously there is a reason you are seeing someone else. Those are the reasons you want to let the person know. Think about your first date like a job interview. You got the job. The problem is now the job is not working out. If you were once interested enough in someone to date him or her, then do him or her the courtesy of letting him or her know why it didn't work out. Hopefully, he or she will be to carry that into his or her next relationship and find someone that they are able to make happy.Give clear reasons.Advertisement
- 3It is unfair to you and to the person you are breaking up with to promise anything. You are breaking up with him or her. That means they are not going to be a part of your life anymore, and you are not going to be a part of their life. Promising that you will always remember him or her or promising that he or she will always have a special place in your heart is just unrealistic. Worse, it's hurtful. Who wants to hear that the person leaving him or her will always remember? Who wants to know that the relationship they invested so much in has ended, but they still have a special place in your heart? That's rubbish. Don't tell that to someone. If they choose to think that, or to believe that, then it's their business. The breakup letter, your breakup letter, should stick to the facts and let him or her know that it's over and why it is over.Do not promise things.
- 4You can be poetic but don't speak in riddles. Nothing is worse than someone breaking up with you and pretending to tell you why with a game or trick. Like we said earlier, if you don't know why you're breaking up with someone, and let him or her know you don't know why you're breaking up with him or her. Just tell him or her that you feel it's not the right relationship for you. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact staying with someone you don't want to be with is much more wrong than simply honestly telling him or her that it's over. So don't be cryptic. Don't write with double meanings and be direct. Implying things indirectly or being cryptic about him or her just leaves the door open. Close it and move on.Do not be cryptic.
- 5Under no circumstances should your letter close with an apology or any affectionate term. It's also not a good idea to be overly cordial. Don't write something like 'very respectfully', or 'yours truly'. You aren't very respectful, and he or she is not 'yours' anymore. The best thing you can write is simply 'goodbye'. Then, sign your name; and it's done. This is your closing a door, walking away from it, and then getting on a plane. Don't leave hope with the person that you will have a change of heart and come rushing back. End it, so that you can both move on and find the right person.Close your letter properly.
Sample Breakup Letter
If you'd like to see a sample breakup letter, read on for a real world example. This letter was given to a woman by her husband the day they signed their divorce papers. It's a bit poetic, but it mentions no names, and does not seek to fight. Rather, it is a last piece of closure. Closure for the man who wrote it, and closure for the woman receiving it. With permission from the author, we have reproduced the letter here and given his explanations of what each part means. Read on to understand how and why this particular letter was written.
- 1The intro is where you start your letter. Explain what you wanted or how you feel, and why you think you didn't get it. Being right or wrong isn't the issue. Rather, it's expressing yourself in the form most honest to you.Make an intro.
All I wanted was love.
I made that clear before we were married, but I wasn't aware you didn't really understand what love was. I didn't realize you couldn't show love until our first son was born and I saw your inability to genuinely hold him or kiss him. I still remember arguing so you'd show him love.
Unfortunately I was arrogant. I thought we could love you enough that you'd learn to love us back, but you never did. With the birth of our twins I watched you come closer to showing love, but you never really succeeded. You weren't ever able to give us real honest warm love.Advertisement
- 2Go into what went wrong. Even if you might not feel entirely responsible for what happened, take some real blame for it. Remember, it takes two people to have a relationship. Explain any issues but don't be too long. You are leaving, so there is no reason to write a book about it.Provide more detail and take ownership.
Maybe it's because you only knew the unpleasant and indifferent love you received from your father as a child. Perhaps it was your culture, where a man is expected to take what he wants from a woman -- even if she might not want it. I don't know, but I do know that what we had was not love, and that's what destroyed us.
I wasn't able to live in a loveless environment. I fought. I kicked. I screamed. It changed nothing. You grew increasingly distant, blaming something I had said or hadn't said or done, when the real problem was us. You didn't know how to love, and I didn't know how to teach you. I was left desperately wishing for anything to fill the void, and in the end it broke me.
- 3This can be material, mental, or even spiritual. The important thing is that it's authentic. If your last straw was something like leaving a light on, then say so. The point about this section is just to honestly explain that it's over, and give a little more color to why that is. Just make sure you don't leave any possibility for there being a second chance. Make it clear that things are over.End it with an example or whatever your 'last straw' was in the relationship.
It's over now.
The day before our divorce was signed I gave you nine tulips and seven roses. I chose exactly that number and type of flowers without any idea of their cost, but in a twist of symmetry, they cost 97 local dollars. One tulip of each color from each of our three boys, and seven roses from me. Three white tulips for innocence lost, three red for love, and three purple for rebirth -- either together or with another.
Of the roses, six were red and one white. One red rose for each bloody or passionate year of our marriage, and a white rose to rest above them all. The salvation of our marriage was a white rose of peace, which you refused, and so it became divorce. A funeral shroud to hide what had died between us, but now there will be no more flowers. When these die, so does what we had.
- 4This is the hardest part to write, because it's the end. Let the person know you are not going to miss him or her, even if you will. Let him or her know why you won't miss him or her, even if it means focusing on future reasons that haven't come to pass. When you are done, finish it. End it. Leave no room for that person to get back into your life. If there is a chance years later, then accept that when it happens, but right now you need to just walk away and make sure it has ended.Wish the person well and walk away forever.
I will not miss you.
My one consolation is that this divorce has opened your eyes more to love. You show a depth of care for our boys greater than any you've ever shown me. I truly hope you are able to nurture that, and in time watch it grow into real love. Love of yourself, love of them, and maybe even someone else one day.
There was a time I would have been sorry the person you eventually love won't be me, but that time has passed. I'm not sorry it won't be me, and I'm not sorry it's over. My sorrow is for three little boys who lost their family so their mother could find her freedom. Unfortunately, you are not yet at a place where you are able to understand or see such things.
May you find happiness. May it last.Advertisement
Do you have your own breakup letter? Want to share it with us, or share your story? Maybe you want help writing your own breakup letter? Let us know in the comments section below, or ask a question so one of our experts can get back to you and try to help.
See other tutorials on writing and letters: Sign Your Name, Create a Cool Signature, Address an Envelope for an Apology Letter, Fold a Letter, Write an Apology Letter to Your Husband, Write an Apology Letter to Your Boss or Company, Fold a Letter, Address an Envelope for an Apology Letter, Write a Letter of Apology, and Write a Letter of Pleading.
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