Breaking up is hard to do – in any language. If you still care about the other person and don’t want to hurt them more than you have to, you need to get the right balance between being honest with them and seeming too blunt or cruel. If the other person is certain that they don’t want the relationship to end, you need to find a way to stay firm and not let them talk you into changing your mind.
This is all very tricky. Being sensitive in a second language just makes it harder!
Here are some tips to help you have that difficult conversation.
If no one has done anything wrong…
Sometimes it’s difficult to explain exactly why you don’t want to be in a relationship. It’s not that the other person has done something to upset you. Neither of you have cheated on each other or hurt each other in any way.
Perhaps your personalities, interests or priorities are very different, one of your is more serious about the relationship, or you want to live or work in different places.
For whatever reason, you simply don’t feel that this is the right relationship or partner for you.
In this situation, you probably want to be gentle with the other person’s feelings. For example, you might say:
“I’m really sorry, but I don’t think this is working out.”
You could then follow this with something like:
“I think we’re too different.”
“I don’t think we’re right for each other”
“I feel like we want different things from the relationship.”
“I think we would be better as friends.”
If you think that the other person has done something wrong…
Sometimes you are breaking up with someone for a very specific reason. Perhaps they said or did something that really upset you, or made you angry, and now you don’t want to be in a relationship with them. In these situations you want it to be absolutely clear that you do not want to see them again – and you probably aren’t as worried about hurting their feelings!
For example, you might say:
If they try to argue with you, you can then follow this up with something like:
“I never want to see you again.”
“I can’t forgive you for what you did / said.”
“You really hurt me and I don’t want to be with someone like that”.
If you want to be in a relationship with someone else:
Ooh, this is a tough one, because the other person will probably be very angry or upset with you! It’s much better to be honest, though, even if it’s very hard to do.
Say something simple and straightforward, like:
“I’m so sorry, but I’ve met someone else.”
It’s probably better not to try and defend your actions, because that will just make them more angry or upset. Depending on what they say back to you, you can then follow this up with something like:
“I don’t know what I can say. I’m just sorry for hurting you.”
“I know you’re going to hate me for this. All I can say is sorry.”
… Don’t expect to be forgiven!
While it’s easier to have a conversation like this by text or other messages, don’t. The other person will be more angry or upset. It’s more respectful to have the conversation in person (or, at the very least, over the phone!). If the other person argues with you and tries to change your mind, say something like, “I’m sorry, but I’ve made my decision,” or “I can’t change the way I feel.”
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