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15 of the Worst Things You Can Say During a Breakup

worst things to say during a breakup

Breakups are always messy, but are you making it worse by saying something terrible? Here are the 15 worst things that are best avoided during a breakup.

Breakups make people bitter, oftentimes making the process a mess of feelings accompanied by a desperate need to retaliate. But there is something most people seem to forget: not everything was terrible, right?

It’s easy to be cruel at the end, and filled with bitterness. It’s human instinct to be tougher than you actually are at such a vulnerable moment. It’s usually during these times that words are said that can’t be taken back. Even if you somehow get back together at some point down the line, there are haunting words that can never be erased.

As terrible as it sounds, sometimes it’s easier to live with the end of the relationship if you make your ex feel bad. Does that mean it is acceptable? Absolutely not! But it is a fact: if you inflict pain on the person that caused you pain, it gives you something else to focus on—something other than your own feelings. It’s a cop-out, but one that many people use.

15 things you should never say at the end of a relationship

As much as you may feel like saying it, the following phrases are some of the worst to say in the midst of a breakup.

#1 “I don’t love you anymore.” This is terrible whether you’ve been dating for months, or years, simply because it’s like saying that after X amount of time with them, you no longer care. They’re not enough for you to love. [Read: How to know if you’re truly not in love anymore]

#2 “I don’t care about this relationship, and I haven’t for a long time.” Well, why not say that sooner, when you could have possibly worked through the issues? This is an insult, because it means you stopped caring about the relationship, and didn’t bother communicating. In a relationship, both parties have a right to know immediately when this happens, not weeks or months later.

#3 Pointing out all their flaws and annoyances. “Your breath stinks, your feet scratch me at night, and you’re way too short.” That’s nice of you to say! Pointing out someone’s flaws is a great way of making them feel beneath you, even if they actually aren’t. Don’t do it.

#4 Telling them you don’t think they’re attractive enough after having sex. Makes you wonder what on earth your lover was thinking while having sex for the last time. Did they think of someone else, or did they enjoy it because they knew it was the last time? You essentially get used, then dumped because you’re ugly.

#5 “I don’t trust you.” Obviously, one of you messed up one too many times, and everything burst at the seam. But there’s something about saying these four little words that really rubs some salt in the wound. It’s both, pointing out the obvious, and making it clear that the person isn’t trustworthy or reliable at all. [Read: 12 subtle signs it’s time you need to end your relationship]

#6 Suggesting you can remain friends with benefits. Oh, so the official status is too much, but the sex is just fine? Just a few downgrades, until you find someone better. Once you do, they can rest assured you’ll lose their number.

#7 “We make better friends.” This is the equivalent of saying “The sex isn’t good enough, you’re not attractive enough, but we have fun together when we’re not trying to be physical.” Being better friends means you get along, know how to have fun and laugh together, but you’re better off keeping it strictly platonic. Hearing that during a breakup is like a slap in the face.

#8 “Can you help me move my things out?” If you’re dumb enough to ask this after you’ve broken up with them, then, quite frankly, they’re better off. Don’t ask for help leaving—just leave. No one should ever have to help their partner move out, because that’s going to hurt even more—the process of undoing everything.

#9 Not saying anything at all. The only thing that’s worse than yelling, screaming profanities, and demeaning the other person, is falling off the face of the earth. Never texting, calling, or talking to them in general. Breakups should honor what you had together at some point, or at least be cordial, but this is pretty mean on all accounts. This is like saying, “You didn’t mean enough to me to say anything about wanting to go separate ways.” [Read: What is ghosting and how does it affect you?]

#10 “You’re just not…my long-term goal. I’d like to see who else is out there.” This translates to, “You were good for a while, but I never intended this to be a long-term thing, because I have higher standards.” Not only does this suggest you think you’re better than them, you are also suggesting they’re mediocre compared to the other fish in the sea.

#11 “My ex wants to get back together.” Saying this means only one thing: rebound. This simple phrase is tantamount to, “Congratulations, you’ve been used and discarded after serving your purpose.” Saying this during a breakup means you didn’t love your significant other; you simply needed someone for the time being, to feel less lonely and hurt. If you never stopped thinking about your ex *or never stopped talking* you had no business being in a relationship. Avoid this phrase at all costs—even if it is the case. [Read: 13 secret signs your guy isn’t over his ex yet]

#12 “You’re not worth the effort.” This means one of you put the other through so much pain, anguish, trouble, etc. that the relationship died off. This is what happens when you continue making the same lousy mistakes, and never learn how to kick your bad habits. But saying it in the middle of a split? Cold-hearted.

#13 “There’s someone else.” What’s one thing worse than leaving someone for their flaws? That’s right, leaving someone because you found someone else’s flaws bearable. This means the person leaving was looking around for someone else, or randomly met someone without intending to. Either way, the new person was “superior,” so your relationship is done. [Read: Love triangles and the confusing complications it brings]

#14 Saying anything about their weight, or penis size. If this is the reason for the breakup, for shame. Vanity screams immaturity, and surely the one being dumped is better off. If this is just what’s said after the fact, but not the sole reason, then you don’t really mean it—you’re just hurt. Whatever the case, though, this is a low blow, and chances are you aren’t in high school anymore.

#15 “We’ve grown apart.” Sherlock, you’ve solved the crime! Here, you point out the obvious *because it always is obvious*, and leave because you think you’re headed in a better direction. Although this is a legitimate reason to break up, it is one that both of you already know; it doesn’t need to be said.

Now that we’ve gone over what you shouldn’t say, it’s important to remember that it’s always better to simply be respectful. Regardless of why or how it ended, you two shared time together, made memories, and felt something. Chances are, you still do. Keeping these things in mind, and breaking up in a clear, concise, yet respectful way will make things go smoother.

Breakups are terrible, inevitable events that everyone has to go through at least once—though, for most, probably a lot more than that. They should honor what you both shared, once upon a time, but they rarely do, because it’s easier to be angry.

[Read: How to break up with someone in a way that won’t hurt them]

Listed above are just some examples of the worst things you could ever say—leave these out of the conversation for greater healing and peace in the aftermath of a break up.

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Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer is a writer, director, consultant and author, with a passion for all things literary. While she works on a variety of projects at a time, her one true ...
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4 thoughts on “15 of the Worst Things You Can Say During a Breakup”

  1. Charity says:

    Who likes to go through a breakup…not me. There are a lot of things to be said but listed above are some of the worst and sadly a few that I have said. In moments where I was uncomfortable or fishing for words to get through it I have said things like being better as friends and growing apart. I don’t think any of those things made things any better. Some of the things on the list are mean and hopefully things would never get to the point that I would want to tie my break up to penis size, ex’s, or how unattractive I see them. I know there are those who do not think twice about what they say and how much they hurt someone when it is over but I would hope to leave some remnant of respect there.

  2. Incontrovertible says:

    I actually disagree with most of this articles’s contents. First and foremost, when comes a time to call it quits, honesty and maturity help our comprehension, even if the message is not what we might wish to hear. And anyway, I would rather have woman fall out of love with me (and say so) than change me, the cat or the furniture because they no longer fit with her latest dye color.

    #1 Don’t love anymore: not a sign of rejection but often a realization that the reality did not fit the fantasy. Really means “never was in lvoe with you: I was in love with the person I imagined you were”
    #2: Don’t care, haven’t for a long time. Emotions and a change of heart are not instantaneous. Nor is the comprehension that the change is taking place. No harm, no foul.

    #3: Flaws, annoying bits. There are imaginary flaws, or simply rationalization of things that cannot be expressed. If the flaws are REAL, how is the person ever to evolve if nobody ever tells them the facts of life.

    #4: lacking in attractiveness. Does before or after sex make a difference? It can’t be called a breakup if it is a one-night stand, so if you’ve been having a 2-person orgy for a few weeks or months, the comment should be taken in stride as meaning something unavowed or unrecognized.

    #5: trust. Call a spade a spade. If trust is gone, or damaged, it is because the “on the way out” person damaged trust, or you did. Sometimes due to trust issues (that calls for a specialist).

    #6: friends w benefits. Take it or leave it! But immediately seek out a new partner. Best outcome: YOU be the one to call it quits on benefits.

    #7: Friends. Benefits are actually better. You will nto remain friends with this person. No sense in pretending. Sayonara, hasta luego, adios.

    #8: moving out. Answer is negative. Get a mover. You yourself should not have to pay for it either. In my hometown, a good one was $75/hr, and most moves take les than 2 hours.

    #9: nothing at all. Agreed. Absolute worse case scenario. Also says something about that person: you never should have been anywhere near them in the 1st place. Good riddance.

    #10: not matching long-term goal. Bet you 10:1 the person has no CLUE what their LT goal really is. Just a cop out. If true, though, it is also fine. Take a long hard look at that person. The comment is NOT necessarily a put down. Maybe s/he feels inferior, uncomfortable, not up to snuff. Or maybe YOU have issues and must reassess yoru own life, goals, and the like. If you can see the other’s point, time to reload, jolt out of a stupor, and accomplish things. It can be a legitimate wave-up call.

    #11: getting back with ex. Truth is truth. The funny part is that there was a reason why the ex got dumped, or dumped her. Good information. And never, ever get back with an ex.

    #12: not worth the effort. Some people need constant attention, are needy, or emotionally dependent. Wake-up call? Perhaps. Are YOU on the RIGHT road? Doing things? Trying what you believe in? If yes, you’re not the problem. Otherwise, think of your ex as a diversion from the proper path. Out!

    #13: someone else. Wish them well. Also remember that perhaps the same will happen to them.

    #14: weight, penis size, similar. Not worth the time. The person who says those things.
    #15: grown apart. Legal argument. Yes, it is obvious. But it can be said.

    As a rule, when a relationship reaches the breakup convo, let it go! If it had been salvageable, the convo never would have taken place. Communication would have reoriented and fixed things. Or not. When it’s time to move on, just do!

  3. Donna says:

    Man, a lot of these are rough and yet, I have heard a lot of them! I do think that the best thing you can do during a break up is remain mature about it. If you have been together for quite some time, it does hurt a lot. It is important to try to keep your wits about you. If you start taking stabs at each other, nothing will ever get solved. You will just create more problems. If you have things that belong to you at his house, get a friend to help you at a later time. Never ask your ex. Tell them that you will get your things when it is convenient for both of you. Never make a scene either. That clearly won’t solve anything and it most certainly won’t let him see a good side of you.

  4. Beth says:

    I don’t think saying there’s someone else is really a bad thing in the end. Love happens and if it happens to end up somewhere else, then that’s just the reality of the situation. Sure, it’ll hurt, but giving someone the ultimate closure is worth it in the end. I hate being on the receiving end of a breakup where I’m left wondering about all of these sorts of things, so hearing what’s actually going on definitely helps me move on a little more quickly.

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