You thought it was just another fight, but she says the five words that knock the wind out of you: I want to break up.
She gives you a moment to let it sink in, and then now the ball’s in your court. What can you say to make her change her mind or accept the breakup with grace?
When you don’t want to break up…
1. “Why?” When a woman wants to break it off with you, you definitely deserve an explanation. However, oftentimes, when someone wants to break up they would state the reason before saying the dreaded words “I want to break up.” In cases when she just outright says it, you have every right to know why she wants to break it off with you. And once she does state her reason for wanting to break things off, think over whether or not it’s a good enough reason to want to end your relationship.
2. “Let’s talk about this.” Talking over a breakup may not be the easiest thing to do, but it’s imperative that you do so if you don’t want your relationship to end. A little communication can usually patch up some relationship wounds, and this conversation might do exactly that. Because she has mustered up the courage to utter the breakup words, it’s very likely that she will be very candid about her reasons. And you can also be just as candid with how you feel. Perhaps all this honesty can do you both some good and help heal your relationship.
3. “I’m sorry about what I did.” She wouldn’t just break it off with you for no reason, right? So once she states why she wants to end it, apologize for whatever it is that you did. That’s usually the first step into gaining a piece of her trust again, if just for this instant. However, even if you believe you did nothing wrong, she still thinks you did, and that’s one of the reasons she wants to break it off with you. In this case, you should still apologize, if not for a recent wrongdoing then for all the times in the past that led her to want to break up with you.
4. “I love you.” Even if you feel like it won’t matter and even if it feels like it’s too late, tell her you love her. It might jolt her back into reality and help to convince her that whatever reason she has for wanting to end things with you, your love for each other is stronger than any challenge facing your relationship at the moment. Love may not conquer all, but it can help to remind her how much you love her and how much she’ll regret leaving a person who wholeheartedly loves her.
5. “I need you in my life.” If love isn’t strong enough, then perhaps need is. Tell her how much you need her in your life. Tell her how her presence makes everything better, even through all the fights you’ve been through and through all the challenges you have faced. What you say now can keep your relationship together and break it up completely, so don’t be afraid to spill everything in your heart.
6. “We can get through this.” Perhaps it’s just a challenge you need to face as a couple. Maybe she’s breaking up with you because of stress, lack of time for each other, or a simple misunderstanding. These things are just temporary challenges that don’t need a permanent end to your relationship. Convince her that you can work through this obstacle in your life.
7. “I can change.” If there’s something about you that she doesn’t like and you’re willing to change it for her, say so. There’s a possibility she believes that you will never change something that she can’t stand about you. But if you love her enough and you want to keep your relationship intact, tell her that you’re willing to change if it means she’ll stay. Keep in mind that when you say this, you actually have to mean it and not just say it for the sake of postponing a breakup.
When you want to break up…
8. “Okay. Let’s talk about the details now.” Breakups are often messy and involve a lot of emotions. However, if you can keep a clear head as she’s breaking up with you, tell her that you want to talk about the details of your breakup now. While you’re still talking and not blocking each other online yet, start splitting whatever assets you have – who keeps the dog, who gets to stay in the apartment, who gets to keep the limited edition Gandalf statue in the living room. It’s best to talk it over as soon as you can instead of waiting a while and losing the courage to bring it up.
9. “Thank you for everything.” No matter how hard your relationship has been, and no matter how much you have hurt each other, don’t forget to thank your now-ex girlfriend for the experience. She may now seem like the most horrible and heartless person in the world, but remember that there was a time when she made you happy. Thank her for that at least.
10. Silence. When you run out of words to say because she’s dumping you, don’t force out a litany (or worse, a barrage of curses). Instead, save your dignity and remain silent. If she prompts you to say something in your defense and you can’t come up with anything, just nod and say, “Okay.” Then take it as your cue to walk away. After all, if she’s adamant about breaking up with you, what else is there to say, right?
It’s true that there is no easy way to break up with someone without leaving at least one party (usually the one being dumped) feeling completely miserable. But when you’re suddenly faced with a breakup, at least prepare yourself for what you can say. Even if may not be much and even if it doesn’t change her mind, appearing dignified in the face of a breakup is better than nothing!