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I Want to Break Up With My Boyfriend, But I Don't Want to Hurt Him


Dear Athena,

I want to break up with my boyfriend. We've been going out for more than a year, and he's really great, but not in bed. I just think we can't make that part happen at all. It's never been all that good, but I liked him a lot so I tried to deal with it. But I'm so bored, and I think we should just end it. How do I dump him and still be nice about it? I don't want to hurt him, and I don't want him to be too mad at me. Help me, please.


How to End It Nicely

Dear How to End It Nicely,

I get it. Breaking up is hard to do. But you want it to end, so ... end it. It's not going to be easy or enjoyable, but it's gotta happen. And dragging it out will just make it harder. It's time to clock in, get the job done and get outta there.

A straightforward, simple approach is best for a drama-free breakup. Call him, invite him over to talk and explain how you feel. Be direct. Don't beat around the bush. Explain that your feelings or situation have changed and that you need to move on.

It's kind of you to care about how he will feel. And I appreciate that you want to be a standup person and let him down easy, but you can't worry too much about this. You're not happy, period. Staying with him just to be nice would cause more damage in the long run.

Very often the person being dumped will want to know what went wrong. And can you blame them? They thought things were peachy, and all of a sudden things are not. Your guy might be sad or angry, but he might also be confused and vulnerable. So tread lightly. You can be honest about your feelings without telling him you think he's crap in bed. No need to rub his face in it. A simple "I'm not feeling this relationship anymore" will suffice.

If he presses for more details, answer as honestly and carefully as you can and bring the conversation to a close. There's not much else to talk about, right?

There is a possibility that he's having similar thoughts and you're just beating him to the punch. That would be ideal, really. It's much better to leave the relationship amicably, with both parties ready to say goodbye.

But don't make any assumptions here, and don't over-apologize. It is what it is. I hope he's understanding and that you can both move on peacefully.

Good luck,