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How to break up with someone

Relationships don’t always last, and that’s okay. As we grow and change, it’s possible for our relationships and our feelings towards them to change too.

If you feel that a relationship isn’t right for you anymore, it's a good idea to honour your feelings and respectfully end it. You need to do what’s right for you, while also thinking about the other person and their feelings in the process.


Why you might want to break up

There can be many different reasons why you might decide to break up with the person you’re in a relationship with, all of which are valid:

  • You don’t feel the same about them anymore (i.e. you’re no longer happy with them, you’re no longer attracted to them, you consider them to be more of a friend, you no longer trust them)

  • You don’t feel cared for anymore, or you feel unsafe with them

  • You have started having feelings for someone else

  • You need space and time to focus on yourself

  • You’re moving away and don’t want to be involved in a long-distance relationship


How to break up in the best way possible

When breaking up with someone, it’s important to think about how you would want to be treated if you were the one being broken up with.

In the video below, rangatahi share their ideas about breaking up. What do you think? Send us some anonymous feedback on our Instagram or TikTok site.

Rangatahi share their ideas about breaking up
Check out these tips for a safe and respectful break up:

How do I break up with someone who is already going through a hard time?

When the person you are wanting to break up with is already going through a hard time (e.g. they are feeling low, depressed, suicidal, or are self-harming), it can be really hard to know what to do. You need to look after yourself and your feelings, but you will also be wanting to make sure that they will be okay.

Before you leave the relationship, try to get them support by encouraging them to talk to people they trust, or a support service such as Youthline, Lifeline or Need to Talk?. It’s important to know that it is not your responsibility to be their counsellor. You shouldn’t be made to feel as though you are their only support and that you have to stay in the relationship because of this.

Remember! If they don’t want to talk to anyone, then you need to tell an adult you trust. This may be difficult as it can feel like you’re going against the other person’s wishes or breaking their trust, but their safety has to come first.

What if they don’t accept the break up?

We can’t always know how someone is going to respond to a break up. Sometimes people will choose to engage in unhealthy behaviours when they are being, or have been, broken up. They may threaten to harm you or themselves if you leave the relationship, or may threaten to post personal photos or information about you online.

Remember! Making threats or blackmailing someone is emotional abuse, and is never okay.

If you are being threatened or blackmailed to stay in a relationship, it’s important to seek support so you are not having to deal with this alone. It’s a good idea to talk to an adult you trust, or contact the following support services:

Related topics
Having healthy convos
How to deal with a break up