How to Respond Maturely When Someone Breaks Up With You

Updated on December 27, 2017
Ben716 profile image

This is my purpose in life: to better myself through knowledge and help others do the same. I hope you enjoy my writing.


Your (now ex) boyfriend just told you that it's over. Your relationship is ending. You're reeling. You feel hurt, angry, and confused. Maybe you saw it coming or maybe it's out of the blue. No matter what your situation is, it's definitely true that it sucks.

Soon you'll be alone and have some time to think things through, but right now, all you need to know is how to get through the next ten minutes.

How to Act When Someone Breaks Up With You

  1. Tell yourself you'll be OK.

    No matter what you feel like right now (and no matter what you actually believe), tell yourself that you're OK, that you're going to live through this, and that this isn't the end of the world. You can do it like a mantra in your head: "I'm OK, I'm OK, I'm OK, I'm OK." It's OK to lie to yourself right now.

  2. Breathe.

    Make sure you keep breathing. Focus on the air coming in and out of your nose. You could even count your breaths — keep them deep and even. This will help you stay calm.

  3. Respect their decision.

    Don't beg or plead for them to take you back or to change their mind. The more you beg, the worse you look, and the less likely you'll be able to salvage any kind of friendship.

  4. Don't say too much.

    In the heat of the moment, you're likely to say something that you will later regret. Keep your words to a minimum.

  5. Don't try to force them to stay with you.

    First of all, it won't work. Second of all, you can't make someone do something they don't want to do. Trying to get them to stay in the relationship, or even just to stay with you physically in the same room will only make you look desperate and it will make them want to leave even more.

  6. Keep physical boundaries.

    Don't try to get sexy with them (bad idea!) and don't let them get sexy with you. Kissing isn't going to make them change their mind, even if it might distract you both from what's happening for a little bit.

  7. Don't interrupt them.

    Let them say everything they want to say. After they're finished talking, ask them if there's anything else they'd like to mention. This shows that you are mature enough to let them have the floor.

  8. If you want to, respond carefully.

    If you need to, take a few moments to gather your thoughts to respond to what they've said. Remember that you cannot change their mind about the breakup, so in your response, simply try to give your point of view without blaming or insulting them. Keep it as positive and as short as possible. Another option is to say that you'd like to give your point of view but that you're feeling too overwhelmed to do it right now. Ask them if they'd be okay with having a conversation in a couple of days.

  9. Keep your cool.

    Don't get angry or defensive. If you feel like you're getting too emotional to where you can't think straight or you just want to scream at them, ask if you can continue the conversation later. Think about being the kind of person that they'll regret leaving — some crying is normal, but if you're yelling or screaming at them, or insulting them, it's unlikely that will make you look very good.
  10. Be grateful (if possible.)

    Right now, you're probably really hurt and angry so it may be hard to try to dig out a silver lining. If you can, though, try to thank them for the good times that you had together.

  11. Say goodbye.

    Hug them and say farewell. Then, once they leave and you get home, you can collapse on your bed and start bawling.

  12. Forgive.

    Eventually, find forgiveness for them in your heart. It's hard and it may even seem impossible right now, but holding a grudge against them will only hurt you in the end and keep you from having positive dating experiences.

14 Things to Say When Someone Breaks Up With You

  1. This makes me really sad, but I respect your decision.
  2. I'm grateful for everything that we had together and I wish you all the best.
  3. I know we had problems and I thought we were working on them. I still think we could have a good future together, but I understand you don't see things the same way.
  4. I'd be lying if I said I was totally okay with this. I think you're awesome. I want you to have a happy life. I hope I can still be a part of it somehow, even if we aren't together.
  5. The truth is that I am sad now, but I'm going to be okay. I'm going to miss you.
  6. I'm just trying to keep it together right now. I didn't see this coming and — if I'm being honest — it really hurts. But I can't make you do anything you don't want to do. I really care about you and if being with me doesn't make you happy, then I agree that we shouldn't be together.
  7. We experienced so much together, and I'm grateful for what we had. I still care about you a lot and it will make me sad to see you go.
  8. You're going to have to give me some time to think about this. Do you think we could talk in a couple of days?
  9. This hurts so much. I'm not telling you that to make you feel bad. I'm just trying to be honest. I wish this weren't happening, but I accept that you have a different vision of the future.
  10. I wish I were a part of your future, but I can't make you change your mind. I think it will be best if we don't talk to each other for a while, so before that happens, I just want to tell you one last time that I do love you and I want only the best things for your life.
  11. I don't completely understand why, but I understand that you don't want to be together anymore, and that makes me really sad. I know I'm going to be okay but it hurts a lot right now.
  12. I still care about you and I'm going to miss you.
  13. I don't hate you, but right now I do feel hurt and angry. I hope you understand that I need some time alone. I hope that we can still be friends later on, but right now I don't know.
  14. I didn't think that this would be happening. I wanted to stay together. But you don't feel the same way. I wish you all the best. Goodbye.

Breakups Suck, but You're Going to Be OK

Breakups hurt. Sometimes it's very difficult to know why your ex decided to end things. You may feel embarrassed, like you've lost your dignity. Or you might feel messed up, like your world is turned upside down. You might even be so confused that you feel useless. Now that your romantic relationship is over, what else is there?

People react differently during breakups. Generally the ones who get hit the hardest are those who are on the receiving end — especially when they didn't see it coming (and especially if it was a long-term relationship). That's not to say that people aren’t affected when they're the one that ends the relationship either. Especially if the relationship was very serious, usually the ones who break it off feel pretty bad about it too.

They definitely suck. But no matter what — you have a choice in how you respond to a breakup. Remember that you want to keep as much of your dignity as possible so you can hold your head high the next time you see your ex. You might be crumbling inside, but they don't have to know that.

It doesn't matter if you've gone through lots of breakups or if this is your first one — it's a good idea to be careful in your response. You'll only embarrass yourself if you act dramatically.

Also, if you have a meltdown during the breakup — no matter which side you are on — it'll take longer to heal, and there is almost no chance your ex will consider getting back together with you (if that is something that you want to do).

Here's some more detail on how you can best respond if someone is breaking up with you.


1. Pretend Like You're OK

Psychological studies have shown that acting like you're OK — doing things like smiling or staying calm — can actually help you feel better. Even though in the moment you may feel like you want to disappear, do your best to put on a brave face. At the very least, it will help you keep your dignity in front of the person who's dumping you.

2. Stay Calm. Breathe.

When we are in anxiety-producing situations, our body has the tendency to tense up. This may cause you to hold your breath, which makes you feel even more tense and emotional, and so on. Even though it may seem like you're going to lose control if you breathe, let it happen.

Focus on the feeling of breath coming in and out of your nose (a useful mindfulness technique), and taking deep breaths and counting them. This will help keep your feelings from spiraling out of control.

3. Respect Your Ex’s Decision

Accept and respect your ex's decision. Respecting the decision means you’ve heard what they've had to say and are not in denial about what is happening.

It is true that it hurts. You might cry and you will, in fact, feel hurt. What matters, however, is how you react. At first, you just need to listen and make sure your ex knows they have been heard.

4. Don't Talk Too Much

If you talk a lot, you might say things that you will regret later. Say only what you have to say, not everything that you want to say. You don't need to tell them everything that's on your mind or give them a piece of it.

You don't need to tell them how much you're hurting or if they're breaking your heart— they are no longer the person you tell everything. Don’t let them know how hurt you are. Let them see with their own eyes how strong you are by not allowing yourself to act irrationally or blab on about how much you're going to miss them.


5. Don’t Try to Force Them to Stay

Remember that you can't force things. Don’t try to force someone to stay in the relationship when they don't want to. You should respect the decision that has already been made, regardless of whether or not you think it's justified.

You can't force someone to love you when they no longer do. If they do agree to start dating again, do you think they'll love you the same? Or do you think you will always be in doubt, thinking they are just in the relationship because you begged them to be.

6. Don't Try to Get Physical With Them (Kissing Won't Change Their Mind)

Getting physical with your ex might seem like a good idea in the moment, especially because you'll probably be feeling pretty emotional and those feelings might demand an outlet. But . . . don't do it! It's unlikely that being physical with your ex will seem like a good idea in hindsight.

7. Don't Interrupt or Argue With Them

Let your ex say everything they need to say. Listen to them and try not to interrupt, even if you're feeling angry or if you feel like what they're saying is wrong. Listening patiently will leave a good last impression (which is what you want to leave them with). You'll also be able to be proud of yourself for keeping it together and letting them have their say.


8. Give Your Point of View Thoughtfully, Without Blaming or Insulting Them

If you launch into an attack on them after they've finished talking, you'll just come off looking bad. If you choose to respond to what they say to you (which is something that you don't necessarily need to do), do so thoughtfully.

Be honest and talk about how you feel and what you think — avoid statements that blame your ex or insult them. Try talking about your relationship from a 3rd-person's point of view. This may help you put things into perspective, both for yourself and for them.

9. Don’t Plead

Even if you feel like their decision to end things was unjustified, you shouldn't beg for another chance as if your life depends it. The best you can do is tell them why you disagree as reasonably as possible.

In the end, if they don't change their mind, you need to accept that the relationship is over. Don’t plead. It makes you seem needy and desperate.

You will not die if they leave you. Your world will not come to an end even if you love them very very much.

People break up and move on with their lives every day — even people who have much more at stake. It may not seem like it now, but you're going to be fine. Besides, there are plenty of guys out there for you to meet.


10. Be Grateful

Yes you heard correctly. Thank your ex for the time that you've had— even if the relationship is over for good and there is no hope of getting back together. Thank them for the good things that they offered and for the things that you learned with them.

This may feel impossible to do right away, and that's understandable. At some point, though, it will be best for you to figure out the things that you liked about your relationship. Remember that there was a reason you two were together in the first place. It didn't just happen randomly. Find and appreciate the good times.

Also, telling them that you're grateful for what you had makes you look really good. It shows that you have more in life to live for than the relationship, and that you're going to carry the good things forward with you as you move on.

11. Forgive Them

This might seem impossible at first and it might not happen right away. At some point, though, you'll need to forgive them. Holding onto a grudge — no matter how much you were wronged — only does you harm in the end.

Perhaps you've heard the comparison of how holding a grudge is like a person holding onto a hot coal in order to throw it at someone else. In the end, only the person holding onto the coal gets burned. Even though it may take time, you need to let your anger go. It will only harm you and will do nothing to them.

Why You Should Try to Keep Your Cool

When you respond positively to a breakup — as much as it hurts — it shows several things:

  1. You show that you're not in denial about what's happening. It will show your ex that you are also capable of moving on and that you don't need them to survive.
  2. Reacting well shows that you are able to handle yourself even if you are hurting. This shows maturity. Though there's nothing wrong with feeling sad (and in fact, you should take time to feel through the emotions of a breakup), behaving with dignity with your ex will help you feel stronger, and may even help you get over the breakup faster. It also makes you look good in front of them. The last thing you want is to come off looking pathetic.
  3. Even though you feel hurt, the breakup will end on a good note and you'll earn your ex's respect.
  4. You might surprise your ex. They'll wonder why you didn't react negatively, which is something many people expect. When you don't beg and plead for them back, you'll show them that you still have a life to live without them and that you're going to be fine.
  5. You will not regret your actions or feel ashamed because of what you did and you'll feel good about yourself.

Things to Remember During a Breakup

  1. Give yourself some time to think things through and time to sort out your thoughts regarding what happened. Maybe it was for your own good.
  2. Not all relationships are meant to survive forever. There are many people out there that will be a good fit for you.
  3. Things don't always go to plan. Hurt is inevitable. Sometimes there is nothing more that you could have done. Maybe you did everything you could have. Either way — the relationship is over now. Try not to spend too much time rehashing the past.
  4. If you live in denial or stay angry, you'll only make it harder for yourself to recover. You'll be letting your ex live on in your life when neither of you deserve that. Let them go.
  5. You probably know this already, but it doesn't hurt to repeat: do not contact your ex for at least two weeks. This gives you and your ex-boyfriend both some time to think and recover.


How to Respond If They Broke Up With You Over Text

  1. Re-read the text message.

    Let's be honest — you're probably going to do that a bunch anyways. It's OK to read (and re-read, and re-read, and re-read). But whatever you do, don't respond just yet.

  2. Stay put.

    Don't respond to the text yet and stay off social media!!! Do not vent there. The chance you'll say something that you regret later is pretty high. Instead . . .

  3. Journal.

    Write down all of your feelings and what you'd want to say to your ex if you could tell them anything in a journal or a paper letter and do not send it to them. This is just for you to vent. Honestly it will help.

  4. Wait to respond.

    Wait 24 hours until you're feeling a little more level-headed. If you're still so mad you just want to text them "I HOPE YOU DIE," wait a little longer.

  5. Reach out.

    Contact friend or family member ASAP and tell them what happened. Texting or calling is good, but it's even better if you hang out with them in person.

  6. Respond carefully.

    When you're ready, and you choose to respond (which you do not have to), you can text them back. Here are some options for what you could say:

    "This makes me sad to hear. I wish we could have had this conversation in person. I am grateful for the times that we've shared and I wish you all the best."

    "I don't agree with the way you've decided to end things but I'm not going to try to change your mind. Goodbye."

    "This was really shocking for me to see. I know that breaking up is hard but I wish we could have done this in person. I think we could have had a good future, but I respect that you don't see things the same way. I wish you all the best."

    "Really sad about this — hope you have a good life."

  7. Be nice.

    Even if you're faking it, it is important that you are polite to them because it shows them that, unlike them, you are not a loser. You are a mature adult who can have hard conversations.

  8. Forgive them.

    Then, start the slow process of forgiving them and moving on with your life. You have so much to give. You're an awesome girl and your ex doesn't deserve any more of your time.

How to Move On After a Breakup

  1. Feel the feelings.

    Let yourself be sad, angry, hurt, shocked, heartbroken. Don't try to suppress the emotions. They need to be felt and appreciated. They are real, and what you had was real. Listen to sad breakup songs, watch sad breakup movies (avoid romances!!), and watch raindrops on window panes.

  2. Write it out.

    Journaling is a great tool for you to better understand how you feel. Make a commitment to journal every day even if you don't feel like it and even if you just end up writing their name over and over again. Another helpful tool is writing letters to them (that you don't end up sending). It's a way to trick your mind into getting closure.

  3. Remember the good times.

    Even though you might be hurting right now — and even if it's better that you're broken up — don't forget that there were good things about your relationship. Don't let yourself become bitter. It will only hurt you in the end.

  4. Let them go.

    Ceremonies can be powerful tools to help recover from heartbreak. You could do something like write their name on a piece of paper and then say all of the things that you loved about them, and all the things that you hated about them. Then, you could (carefully!) burn the paper, symbolizing releasing them from your life. Or you could make up your own ceremony.

  5. Give yourself space.

    Hide their pictures and mementos (or give them to a friend for safekeeping — sometimes they're nice to have later on and you'll regret destroying them). Unfriend, unfollow, and block them from social media. Do it. You do not need to know what's happening in their lives. Do not call them, text them, email them, "bump" into them, or otherwise try to contact them for as long as you need to (many people say 30 days). You don't have to just ghost either — you could tell them that you need some space from them for a while and that you'll reach out when you're ready (if you want to).

  6. Instead, reach out to friends and family.

    Hang out with your pals and with the people that love you. They want to support you and help you through this, especially right at the beginning. Let yourself lean on their shoulders.

  7. Take care of yourself.

    You've probably heard this a million times, but that's because it's true. Get enough sleep (8 hours every night!), eat good food (avoid chips, ice cream, candy — anything high carb or high fat), don't try to use alcohol or drugs to make yourself feel better (being sad and hungover is horrible), exercise (there are so many great workout videos on YouTube — try something gentle like yoga), and go outside! (walking is great). Even if you want to curl up and die, your body still needs you to take care of it. You might not feel like it, but just go through the motions at first and trust that eventually you will feel better. You could also try meditating — start with just one minute and try to work your way up to 10 minutes, adding one minute every day. This will help you learn how to sit with your emotions and tune into what your body is feeling.

  8. Make new memories.

    Invite your friends to do something new together. Go on a trip. Read a new book. Go to a concert. Try a new hobby or get back into an old one. Making new memories will help you get started on a new life without your ex. Also, try volunteering or doing something nice for a friend or family member — a great way to forget about how miserable you are is by helping others.

  9. Forgive your ex.

    In time, find a place in your heart to forgive your ex. Remember that, like you, they are just human and just trying to do the best they can. Whether or not you think they were in the right for breaking up with you, what has happened has happened, and the only thing you can do is appreciate what you had together and move forward into the future.

  10. Forgive yourself.

    Maybe you're mad at yourself for not seeing the breakup coming, for not trying hard enough, for hurting them, or for making the same relationship mistakes that you've made before. No matter what — you need to forgive yourself too. Take what you can from this past relationship and learn from it. Know that you are also imperfect and just trying to do your best. You should know that you deserve wonderful relationships full of love, and that you are capable of achieving them.

You Will Get Through This

As hard as breakups are and as much as they suck, you are going to make it through.

Good luck and stay strong.

Have Your Say:

Do you think it matters a lot how you react during a breakup?

See results

© 2016 Alianess Benny Njuguna


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      jim 13 days ago

      am going through a breakup at the age of 50 and it has shattered me. To love someone who doesn't love you back is gut wrenching.... I do know that i will be ok.

    • profile image

      Alex 2 weeks ago

      Even if he says sorry nothings gonna change..........

    • Ben716 profile image

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 2 weeks ago from Kenya

      You are welcome Max

    • profile image

      max 2 weeks ago

      thank you for this

    • Ben716 profile image

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 3 weeks ago from Kenya

      Thank you Alison Monroe for your comment

    • alison monroe profile image

      Alison Monroe 7 weeks ago

      This is actually amazingly good advice.

    • Ben716 profile image

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 8 months ago from Kenya

      I agree with you dashingscorpio. It is not good to be platonic friends due to the reasons you gave plus it will hinder the healing processing and eventual recovery.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 14 months ago

      Great advice!

      It takes two people to make a relationship work.

      It only takes (one person) to end a relationship.

      There is no reason to pursue someone who doesn't want you.


      The person breaking up with you offers to be friends because they don't want to feel like the "bad guy".

      The person being dumped hopes that by being friends there may be a chance they can get back together.

      Odds are if they do hookup it will be nothing more than a "booty call" or "friends with benefits" scenario in the eyes of the person who ended the relationship. Your ex is the last person who can help you get over them!

      You're better off going "cold turkey" and not dealing with your ex at all for at least a year or more depending on how long the relationship lasted.

      In order for your (ex) to be "the one" they would have had to see (you) as being "the one"! At the very least a "soul-mate" is someone who actually wants to be with you! (And vice versa).

      "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

      - Oscar Wilde

      If someone dumps you they clearly don't think you're all that "special",

      Thankfully we live on a planet with over 7 Billion other people!

      Odds are in everyone's favor that there are hundreds, thousands, or possibly millions of people who would love and appreciate us.

      Your future lies ahead of you and not behind you.

      Every ending is a new beginning!