How to Stop Feeling Guilty About Breaking up With Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend

Updated on June 18, 2019
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I love writing about relationships, love, romance, and flirting. I hope you find the advice in my articles useful.

Don't let the feeling of guilt pin you down unnecessarily after a breakup.
Don't let the feeling of guilt pin you down unnecessarily after a breakup. | Source

Can't stop feeling guilty about breaking up with your boyfriend? Is breakup guilt eating you up after dumping your girlfriend? Are all your friends blaming you for breaking up with your guy? Are you assuming all the fault and responsibility of the end of your relationship?

Stop feeling depressed and stop feeling guilty about the decision you made to break up with your ex by removing the guilt from its roots. This article gives you a chance to introspect on your breakup and rise above the guilt.

Breakup Guilt

The first thing you need to do is find out why you're feeling guilty. There are a few different reasons you might feel guilty after breaking up with someone:

  • You feel bad about ending things because the other person didn't want to break up. Maybe he or she begged and pleaded with you not to leave, and now you're feeling guilty thinking about how upset they might be in the aftermath of the breakup.
  • Maybe you're regretting your decision to leave and thinking about how you didn't try hard enough to make things work.

No matter the reason for your guilt, it's hard to move past that uncomfortable feeling. This article will give you tips and pointers to get over your guilt and move on from your previous relationship.

10 Ways to Stop Feeling Guilty About Breaking up

  1. Make a firm decision about your breakup and your feelings for your ex.
  2. Get rid of breakup guilt by acknowledging that you were honest and direct when you ended the relationship.
  3. Remind yourself of the reasons you broke up with him or her.
  4. Think about your ex's flaws and bad habits.
  5. Think of the breakup as a favor to your ex.
  6. Be practical—the relationship just wasn't meant to be.
  7. Stop feeling guilty by realizing that your ex will move on.
  8. Be kind to yourself—relationships are a two-way street.
  9. Think of all the sacrifices you made before deciding to end the relationship.
  10. Think of your breakup guilt as a natural human reaction—because it is.

Don't allow yourself to be consumed by breakup guilt! Read on for some tips and tricks to overcome post-breakup feelings of guilt.
Don't allow yourself to be consumed by breakup guilt! Read on for some tips and tricks to overcome post-breakup feelings of guilt. | Source

1. Make a firm decision about your breakup and your feelings for your ex.

It is very easy to be lost in breakup guilt if you remain uncertain about your feelings for your ex. Be firm about your decision to break up; otherwise you will be sucked into the emotional turmoil of guilt and regret.

It’s easy to sit back and ruminate on the reasons you broke up—maybe you were too harsh, or you didn’t really think things through. This window of opportunity you have given yourself that leads to doubt and self-criticism will only further your feeling of guilt.

You will continue to feel guilty about dumping someone if you stop believing in yourself and start questioning your motivation for dumping them in the first place. To put this simply, you must trust yourself.

Tell yourself that whatever decision you have made is in the best interest of everyone involved. The temporary pain and guilt you feel in the aftermath of a breakup is nothing compared to how you’d feel if you allowed yourself to bounce back and forth between certainty and uncertainty about your decision to break up with the other person. Just trust that you did the right thing!

2. Get rid of breakup guilt by acknowledging that you were honest and direct when you ended the relationship.

Feel good about the tough stand you have taken in your relationship because it is definitely not easy to tell someone you don't love them anymore. There’s pain and discomfort on both ends of a breakup. Everyone sympathizes with someone who has just been dumped, but the person who has initiated the breakup deserves a lot of credit for being honest and direct.

It is not easy to break someone's heart, even if it is the right thing to do. Think about how much worse it would be if you just “sucked it up” and stuck around in a relationship that made you unhappy. That doesn’t make much sense, does it? Well, that’s what an astounding number of people end up doing when they know things aren’t working out.

Pat yourself on the back for being brave and mustering the courage to be honest about how you felt because not everyone has the strength to do what you did.

Did being with your ex make you feel constantly frustrated and alone? Don't let the guilt you're feeling make you forget about the reasons you left in the first place.
Did being with your ex make you feel constantly frustrated and alone? Don't let the guilt you're feeling make you forget about the reasons you left in the first place. | Source

3. Remind yourself of the reasons you broke up with him or her.

A breakup can be caused by the smallest of issues between partners that escalates into a big, life-changing problem. Think of the reasons that compelled you to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

  • Did you break up because neither of you were unable to stop feeling jealous over each other’s exes?

  • Were you forced to break up because neither of you could see a long-term future for your relationship?
  • Was your breakup the result of a lack of intimacy?

When you start to feel the pain and discomfort of being alone in your post-break-up state, remind yourself of the reasons you left the relationship in the first place. It’s easy to think things “weren’t so bad” or to tell yourself “maybe I was wrong,” but before you jump back into a relationship with the person you just dumped or let yourself feel guilty about the breakup, you should really think about why you left. Remind yourself of the core reasons that led to the split if you want to stop blaming yourself for your breakup.

4. Think about your ex's flaws and bad habits.

This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point—why did you dump your girlfriend or boyfriend? Was it because she was flirting with others, or was it because he couldn't stop looking at other women? Was it because she was too clingy, or was it because he was being abusive towards you?

Even if your relationship ended for other reasons or if it wasn’t really anybody’s fault in particular, thinking about your ex-partner’s flaws will help you get back on track emotionally (if you have to think about them at all, that is).

Re-examine all your ex's flaws and bad habits so that you don't blame yourself for taking the relationship to a breaking point.

Was constant fighting one of the reasons you decided to end the relationship? Think about the good reasons you had for ending things before you allow yourself to be eaten alive by guilt.
Was constant fighting one of the reasons you decided to end the relationship? Think about the good reasons you had for ending things before you allow yourself to be eaten alive by guilt. | Source

5. Think of the breakup as a favor to your ex.

You could have run away from the responsibility of breaking up fair and square by seeing someone else behind your partner's back. You could have continued lying to your boyfriend or girlfriend about your feelings. You could have manipulated your partner by still being in the relationship just for materialistic benefits. You could have pretended to love him or her just so that you could continue physical intimacy with your ex. But you did not do any of this, and you decided to tell it like it is.

However angry, hurt, or betrayed your ex feels about the end of your relationship, you should certainly be able to find comfort in the fact that you were honest and did the mature and responsible thing by ending the relationship before either one of you could feel any more pain.

However nasty it may have seemed, you did the right thing by breaking up with your partner if you had lost all hope in the relationship. You may seem like the bad person temporarily, but deep down inside, you should remind yourself that you did your ex a favor by bringing a quick end to your relationship. Your breakup could have felt similar to that of a painful and agonizing death if you had prolonged the inevitable.

6. Be practical—the relationship just wasn't meant to be.

You may have jumped into a relationship just because you were too smitten about falling in love with your crush. But time may have revealed that his or her company was the total opposite of what you were expecting.

Maybe your goals for the future weren’t aligned, or you were incompatible for some other reason. You did your best and tried to make it work, but some relationships just aren’t meant to be, no matter how badly one or both of you wants it to work.

Stop feeling guilty about breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend by looking at your relationship as one that just wasn't meant to be. You can try your best to alter the path of a bad relationship, but all your efforts will be futile if the relationship has no future at all.

Seeing that your ex has moved on can help you get over your feelings of guilt.
Seeing that your ex has moved on can help you get over your feelings of guilt. | Source

7. Stop feeling guilty by realizing that your ex will move on.

You might not be on speaking terms with your ex, and you certainly shouldn’t further your feelings of guilt by seeking him or her out on social media or in person to see how they’re doing after the breakup. However, if you do happen to see that they have moved on, this could help you to stop feeling so guilty about the end of your relationship.

Has your ex-boyfriend moved on by hooking up with a pretty girl? Has your ex-girlfriend moved on by going to parties with different guys while you are sulking in your room, unable to stop missing her?

Instead of feeling more depressed, use this as motivation to stop feeling guilty about breaking up. Look at how your ex has moved on and see it as a sign that he or she is now happier than before.

8. Be kind to yourself—relationships are a two-way street.

Stop judging yourself and assuming that you were at fault for all the problems in your relationship that eventually resulted in a breakup. Every relationship is a two-way street, and both partners are expected to put in the effort to make a relationship work.

You were not the only one who was expected to make sacrifices to appease your partner. You have your own likes, dislikes, preferences, and needs that your ex was supposed to fulfill. Obviously, something went wrong in your relationship—something that couldn't be fixed. It was just as much your ex's responsibility to do whatever it took to fix the problems as it was yours, so stop blaming yourself.

You did the right thing ending a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere or one in which you weren’t satisfied. Don’t blame yourself for your unhappiness—you tried your best, and it just didn’t work out. Maybe your ex tried their best, too, or maybe they didn’t. Either way, don’t beat yourself up because the necessity for putting in effort to make things work goes both ways.

In the end, you decide the path you take. Ultimately, you need to forgive yourself to get over your post-breakup feelings of guilt.
In the end, you decide the path you take. Ultimately, you need to forgive yourself to get over your post-breakup feelings of guilt. | Source

9. Think of all the sacrifices you made before deciding to end the relationship.

You can overcome breakup guilt instantly if you start thinking of all the unrequited sacrifices you made in your relationship. For example, you may have stopped talking to a girl on the phone simply because your girlfriend got jealous of your long conversations with her. Or you may have fought with your parents just so that you could hang out and meet your boyfriend in the middle of the night (against their wishes).

Think of all the sacrifices you made that went unnoticed and unappreciated by your ex. Use these examples to convince yourself that you made the right decision. After all, if your ex was too blind to see the sacrifices you made just to keep him or her happy, you deserve much better.

10. Think of your breakup guilt as a natural human reaction—because it is.

Feeling guilty about hurting someone's feelings or breaking someone's heart is a natural human reaction. This sense of guilt may be unavoidable even if you are completely right in doing so. Don't get frustrated and don't put yourself down by succumbing to the guilt and re-entering the relationship you just ended.

Understand and acknowledge your feeling of guilt as a natural human reaction. Rise above this feeling by being aware that this guilt is impossible to avoid, and you must actively move on by learning from your past mistakes, taking responsibility for your actions, and learning to forgive yourself.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 princesswithapen

Comments

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    • profile image

      Elizabeth 

      3 weeks ago

      I left my boyfriend of 4 years on and off 2 nights ago.. it killed me seeing him beg for me to stay but i had my reasons. I never cheated but he did.. multiple times. I did what was best for us and i never had built up the courage until now. Thank you for this article i felt so guilty because he looked so sad but now i'm realizing i did something others couldn't have the heart to do. If he really loved me he wouldn't have hurt me..

    • profile image

      Sugar bear 

      5 weeks ago

      This really helped.. I’m glad I found this article

    • profile image

      Shubham Kabra 

      5 months ago

      I broke up with her in the last month and i want her back.The reason of break up is the my frustration but she is saying that it is not working from her side then what should i do to get her back.For Sily things i always said her i will not alive without her and i going for the suicide attempt and i don't want to that but it happened by mistake due to the mind problem.what should i do to get her back

    • profile image

      Kim 

      19 months ago

      Yeah I dumped a guy last night. I didn't like him at all, I was trying to make a distance when he gave me a reason and I argued with him and told him I don't want to see him any more. Now I feel guilty cause I didn't explained to him and I tried to end it with a bad fight. Oh my god I hurted him so bad.

    • profile image

      Denis 

      21 months ago

      This is sooo good

      "the person who has initiated the breakup deserves a lot of credit for being honest and direct"

      Thanks very much for lighten me up with this

    • Miss Liberty31 profile image

      LaTrice 

      24 months ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I don't regret breaking up with my ex-boyfriend, because the relationship was one sided. No matter how much I tried to address the issues that were going on between the both of us, he didn't put in the effort to change. I wasted my time staying with someone who used me as a piece of meat. According to his standards, the only time we can only spend with each other was based on his convenience. He placed his career and family as a priority, while I was placed as a second option. It doesn't feel good to be on the back burner.

      I knew something wrong in the relationship. I cringed every phone call and text message, especially when he's asking to borrow money from me. I was having a difficult time ignoring the red flags. I didn't want to remove the rose colored glasses from my face, and deal with reality. I didn't want to accept that I was being used for convenience. The relationship was more "friends with benefits" than it was exclusive, since we hardly did anything outside of the bedroom. I wanted more, but he was unable to give me what I needed.

      I decided to end the relationship. My mind was made up. I thought about calling it quits for so long, but wasn't sure how to address it. I sent my ex-boyfriend two text messages, asking him to talk. He didn't reply back and I gave him one week to respond. He never did. Since my patience was running thin, I called and left a message on his voicemail, telling him that it was over. I haven't seen and heard from my ex-boyfriend for one month and determined to keep my distance.

      I'm going to stop settling for less, because I deserve more. I don't feel guilty for walking away from a person who's selfish.

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      I recently broke up with my boyfriend. I couldn't bring myself to tell him that I simply didn't like him in that way anymore, so I told him that the breakup was forced by my parents who had found a bad quiz score. I feel really guilty, not just about lying, but about breaking his heart. This was my first boyfriend, and my first breakup and I don't know how to handle it. How do I get myself in a better mood for times to come? How can I stop feeling weird whenever I'm around him? Should I tell him the real reason after he moved on? I'm extremely confused on what i should do to prevent myself from having a mental breakdown. My ex has already shut the rest of the world out, and tonight is the night of our first dance of the year. Should I give him the weekend to cool off? I really don't want to loose him as a friend, how do I make sure we can continue to be friends, even if we aren't as close?

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      I feel so guilty because he was into all this dirty stuff but we are to young and I believe in the good lords word about staying pure until marriage but he also a good guy and I just wasn't ready to date,and my freinds keep saying we should get back together but I only have one freind who doesn't judge me,take thus as a lesson if you feel what your partner us doing or saying what isn't right or against your better judgement than it isn't the best way to live and you will find that one freind who is always there for you no matter who you are

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      Trying not to feel guilty for my break up or sorry for him but it's so hard because I hate hurting people specially people I love.. it sucks to love someone but not be in love w them anymore.. but everyone goes threw something & they eventually move on I'm just at the beginning point were I feel nothing but sad for him.. I wanna b there for him but he'll think I'm trying to get back together & that wouldn't b fair to him nor me. BREAK UPS SUCK!

    • profile image

      Will Broadhead 

      2 years ago

      All you're doing is trying to justify how much you hurt them.

    • profile image

      Marco 

      2 years ago

      I feel like dying for what I did...even after 3 years the bad sense of guilt and remorse I have does not leave me :((

      I just hope that in another universe things went differently

      Forgive me my Angel

      :(

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      3 years ago

      Most people never feel guilty about dumping anyone!

      The only exception is when their ex continues to beg them to get back together and has bent over backwards to win them back.

      It's not so much as feeling guilt but rather "feeling sorry" for him or her.

      Feeling "guilty" usually means you believe you were in the wrong.

      Odds are if you haven't {successfully moved on} and started dating others you'll be more receptive to going back to what was "comfortable".

      People breakup and makeup at (their) comfort level.

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