Breaking up

Breaking up is never easy, but you will almost certainly have to do it at some stage in your life. There are all sorts of reasons why people break up:

  • They stop feeling the same way about the other person.
  • They don’t feel happy in the relationship – the sadness outweighs the happiness.
  • They move to a new place or a new stage in their life.
  • They feel more strongly attracted to someone else than to the person they’re going out with.

Deciding to break up with someone

Your relationship should be a positive thing in your life. When the negative things outweigh the positives, you should think about breaking up. Unhappy relationships can take up time and energy that you should be using for other things.

Don’t worry that you won’t find someone else. You almost certainly will, in time; in the meantime, it is better to be in no relationship than in an unhappy relationship. Don’t feel guilty for breaking up. It happpens. But do behave as well as you can (see below).

You might find it helpful talking to your friends or family; but in the end, it is your decision, and only you know how you really feel.

Breaking up as well as you can

It won’t be easy telling someone that you don’t want to be with them any more. Try to:

  • speak to them in person rather than send a text or message
  • find a quiet place and time, away from other people
  • avoid breaking up just before they have to face a new challenge (eg a new job or school), especially if you think it’s going to come as a shock
  • explain your reasons, but don’t bring up everything about them that has ever annoyed or upset you. Respect their feelings.


  • post horrible things about your ex on Facebook, Snapchat or anywhere else
  • tell everyone you know about the break-up. Keep it as private and personal as you can
  • flaunt any new relationship.

When someone breaks up with you

This can be very very hard, especially if it’s the first time, if you were very closely involved, or if you weren’t expecting it at all. Try:

  • to be as dignified as you can
  • to find someone you trust to talk to – a family member or a good friend. Most people will have experienced something similar
  • not to feel that you have failed or are to blame
  • not to think about it all the time
  • to get involved in other positive things in your life – hobbies, friends, schoolwork
  • watching a film, reading a book or listening to music, especially our specially selected break-up tracks; these can all help you release your emotions and help you work out your feelings. Maybe you could even write a break-up song of your own…
  • writing your feelings down in a diary. Sometimes it can really help.

Make sure you look after yourself – both your body and your mind.

If you’re really struggling, and none of these things are helping:

  • talk to a GP or school counsellor or social worker to see if they can get you some practical counselling help.

You might be interested in our other pages on the ups and downs of romantic relationships:

Crushes, going out, love and sex
Break- up tracks