So I’ve been going out with this guy for a few months now. He’s super sweet and lovely and I care about him a lot, but I’m just not that into the relationship anymore! I feel like I’ve moved on and have been inadvertently treating him like a friend. Like I said though, I really do like him as a person… I just don’t think I like him in THAT way anymore. How can I be honest with him without hurting him too much? Is there any way we can still be friends afterwards? Please help me!
Before I get into the whole advice-giving thing, I just want to say that I think it’s great that you want to stay friends with this guy even though you aren’t interested in dating him anymore. Breaking up with someone is always difficult, but you sound like you have a pretty healthy attitude about the whole thing, which is always good. While it’s not always possible to maintain a friendship after you dump someone, it’s definitely worth a shot.
There really isn’t a perfect way to go about breaking up with someone – you can be as nice as possible, but breakups can still be messy and emotional. It’s not going to be fun, but I think you just need to be honest and upfront with this guy. Don’t take the easy way out and break up with him over a text message or phone call. Give him the courtesy of doing it face-to-face, which will show him that you respect him.
Explain to him exactly what you just told me. Let him know that while you think he’s a really great person, you just don’t feel the same way as you did before. Yes, this will probably hurt him, but in my opinion, being honest is always better than making up excuses. And, let’s be honest, this is a breakup – no matter what you say, he’s probably going to get hurt. Tell him that you care about him a lot and you would really love to continue being friends with him if he’s up for it.
I can’t promise you that this will make this dude want to stay friends with you. If he’s really hurt and upset, he may need some distance from you in order to move on and it’s important that you respect that. He might even get angry and do or say some things that hurt you. In that case, just ignore him and give him his space. You can’t control how he acts after the breakup – the important thing is that you let him know how you feel and what you want.
If you guys end up staying friends, that’s great! Take things slowly, especially if you think he might still have feelings for you. But remember to be firm about your decision. You have no reason to feel guilty for breaking up with him (sometimes our feelings just change!) and you shouldn’t end up feeling like you owe him something. And if you don’t end up being friends? That’s his loss. At least you tried!
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at firstname.lastname@example.org