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How to Break Up With Someone

It's over. Here's advice for teens on how to break the news.
By
WebMD Feature

When you first started dating, you were so into your boyfriend/girlfriend. Now you're just not feeling it anymore. You want out.

How do you break up without making someone miserable -- or making them hate you forever?

Don't stress -- that's not good for you. But first, here's what NOT to do:

  • Don't tell your friends before you break up.
  • Don't post it on Facebook.
  • Don't text or email it.

Here's why.

Don't Text the Bad News

You may be tempted to text a breakup to avoid arguments and tears. But don't go there.

When it comes to breaking up, "text messages suck," says Annie Fox, MEd, author of The Teen Survival Guide to Dating and Relating. "It's cold and it's unnecessarily disrespectful."

But many teens do it. In a survey, 30% of 13-to-17-year-olds said they'd either broken up with, or been dumped by, someone via text message.

Changing your Facebook status from "In a relationship" to "Single" is also not the way to tell your boyfriend or girlfriend you're through.

If you post it, "everybody gets to comment, and you're bringing everybody into your world," says teen psychologist Jennifer Hartstein, PsyD.

Instead, think about how you'd want someone to break up with you, and try to do the same thing.

The Best Way to Break Up

Ask yourself why you want to end the relationship. "You really need to know why you're doing this," Fox says. "Because if someone is breaking up with you, the first question you always ask is, 'Why? Did I do something wrong?'"

If you've started to like someone else, that's OK. Or if you just don't feel the same way you used to, that's fine, too.

You can't blame yourself for falling out of love. But still, don't be mean. Make sure you treat the other person with respect.

If the person you're dating hasn't respected your feelings -- or worse, has been aggressive or violent -- you have more than enough reason for wanting out.

Do It in Person

Once you know why you want to end the relationship, "Be honest with yourself. And then be honest when you talk with them -- privately, face-to-face," Fox says.

Know that no matter how gently you handle the breakup, you're going to hurt the other person's feelings, Hartstein says. That's something you need to accept.

"When you say, 'I don't want to be with you anymore,' you know before you say it -- if you have a heart -- that you're going to be hurting someone. You also know that you'd never want to be on the receiving end of what you're about to dish out," Fox says.

Make It Stick

Even if you can't stand the sight of your ex crying, don't back down.

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