Breakup Texts, Emails, & Letters — Oh My!

By Billie •  Updated: 12/01/20 •  7 min read

‘Cause breaking up is hard to do.

First of all, breaking up with someone via text message is not a classy act. Learn from the mistakes of others and give someone a clear, direct, no-room-for-misunderstanding, in-person announcement that your former agreement with them is now ended. This is just the right thing to do.

The exception to the in-person breakup proclamation is if you are in a relationship with someone abusive. In that case, by all means, get the heck out. Also, if you haven’t yet defined the “relationship” or this is an entirely virtual affair, a text or e-mail may work.

If you are stuck somewhere and there is no possible way to be together for you to end things the respectable and respectful way, then do it over video so your body language and tone are clear. Just do not send a stinkin’ SMS message.

So for anyone beyond fifth grade, do not use breakup texts for anything beyond mild amusement.

Basic Template for Breaking Up With Someone

Here are some examples of what you might say, in the approximate order of delivery:

1. Tell your person that you want to talk about something important.

Make sure you have their attention before you dive in with the announcement that you want to be friends.

2. When they are looking at you, begin by mentioning something you like or value about the other person. Yes, the classic bad news sandwich.

For example: “We’ve been friends for a long time, and you’re important to me.” Or: “I really appreciate you and I’m glad we’ve gotten to know each other.”

3. Say what’s not working (this is your reason for the break-up).

For example: “But the distance is too much for me and it is stressful for us both.” Or: “But I’m not ready to have a serious relationship right now.” Or: “But you cheated on me, several times, and I can’t accept that behaviour.” Or: “But we argue more than we having fun, and that is not what I want for us.” Or: “But this just doesn’t feel right anymore.” Or: “I met someone else.”

4. Say you want to break up.

For example: “So, I want to break up.” Or: “So I want us to be friends, but not go out.” Or: “So I want to stay friendly, but I don’t want to be your partner anymore.”

5. Say you’re sorry if this stings or is unexpected, unless they have cheated on you or somehow broken your trust.

For example: “I know you may not want to hear this. I don’t want to hurt you.” Or: “I’m sorry if this isn’t the way you wanted things to be.” Or: “I’m sorry if this hurts you.” Or: “I know this is hard to hear.”

6. Say something kind or positive.

For example: “I know you’ll be OK.” Or: “I know we’ll always care about each other.” Or: “I’ll always remember the good times we had.” Or: “I’ll always be glad I got to know you.” Or: “I know there’s another girl/guy who will be happy to have a chance to go out with you.”

7. Listen to what the other person wants to say as their heart breaks.

They might be fine with it, might be in denial, or may react several ways in between. Be patient, and don’t be surprised if the other person acts upset or tries to convince you to change your mind.

8. Give the person space.

Use your judgment on this one, but if your ex is stable and the relationship ends on good terms, consider following up with a friendly message or light and short conversation that lets your ex know you care about how they are doing.

Breakup Letter Examples

Maybe you are stuck in a castle somewhere far away from your soon-to-be ex, and writing a letter is your only option for properly ending things. Let this example be your guide on which notes to hit and how to proceed with the delivery of bad (or good!) news.

Dear Konnor,

I am writing to tell you that I cannot continue our relationship. Please remember that we are two very different people and neither of us has tried to adapt to nor accept the other’s lifestyle needs. No matter how much we ignore this, we are not happy living together in this partnership which is in name only.

I hope you will understand me and respect my decision, and recognize that this is your decision, too. We have lost the love we once imagined we had. We have killed it by neglecting each other and forgetting simple kindnesses toward each other. I’m sorry.

We will always be friends and I wish every happiness for you.

Here’s a letter template for breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend you love, who is seemingly married to their work and has no time for you. Sometimes two people just are not on the same page:

Dear Shawn,

After giving so much thought about us and where we are headed, I have reached the decision to let go of the idea of us. I am writing to you because it seems the best way to do this now — I have asked you to find time so we can talk, but you have not made it a priority in your busy schedule. You are well aware that I am ready to settle down and make a commitment, and you have made comments suggesting to me that you are nowhere near ready nor interested in doing the same, at least not with me. Therefore, I think it is clear the next step is to end things amicably and go our separate ways.

You know I have tried to work this out and to change my heart, but I do not want to settle for a life and relationship that is less than what I want, nor would you deserve the resentment I would feel.

I know I have pushed you into doing something you do not want, and it is time to end these lies. Let us face where we are and let each other go.

I must say that I appreciate with all my heart the time we spent together and I thank you for all the time we shared. I wish you all the best.

Take care,


Hurt Breakup Letter for a Cheating Boyfriend or Girlfriend

Dear Sam,

I am writing this letter with a heavy heart. I never thought this day would come, the day that I would have to tell you that I cannot continue in this relationship any longer. I am sure you know the reason behind my decision.

This was the first serious relationship of my life, and I had hoped it would be my last. Naive, maybe. I never thought that you would ever break my heart.

I cannot forgive you for this, but I wish you well.

Yours truly,


Funny Breakup Letters

Social media is the worst. Here is a nice example of someone showcasing their creativity while delivering the news to their cheating boyfriend that the relationship has officially ended. Let us all hope to emulate such angry humour if we should find ourselves in this unenviable position.


I like to climb mountains, read Nietzsche, and explore the West Coast. I have a BA from York University (2003) in Toronto, Canada, and yet on this site I sometimes spell like an American (know your audience). Thank you. Thank you very much.

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