12 Breakup Lines and What They Really Mean

Is there ever really a “nice” way to break up with someone? We come up with all sorts of euphemisms—the classic, “It’s not you, it’s me” and “Maybe we’re better off as friends.” We’ve also been on the receiving end too. “I’m just not ready for a commitment,” or “I think I’m gay.” Yes, they’ll say anything.

Here are some of the most common break-up lines and how, despite all the excuses and sincere attempts to soften the blow, really all boil down to just one thing: “I’m just not into you.”

1. “I hope we can still be friends.”

To be fair, a lot of people do end up being really great friends with their exes. But this isn’t something you really can expect ten seconds after crushing somebody’s heart. “Oh, I just rejected you and basically implied that I’d rather date somebody else, but hey, wanna go out for pizza?”

Friendships happen naturally. You can’t dump somebody and then demand that you can continue your relationship on your terms. 

2. “I’m just not ready for a relationship right now.”

Gee, why didn’t you say that before? Or you were so swept by emotions (or lust) that you conveniently forgot that you don’t want a girlfriend? People aren’t impulse purchases at Sears, where you bring home a sweater and then decide to bring it back and ask for a refund because it doesn’t match the other clothes you have.

3. “We met each other at a wrong time…if I were ready to settle down, it would be with someone like you.”

Basically, a souped up version of # 2. And no, it doesn’t make us feel better. Basically, you’re dumping us and then dangling the hope that somewhere down the road, when you’ve resolved that emotional baggage, you’ll show up at our doorstep on bended knee. Please, just cut ties and cut it clean. 

4. “I just need to focus on…”

Ah, take your pick. “Career. School. My mother.” We suppose this breakup line closely resembles “I’m just not ready for a relationship” but tries to give a supposedly logical reason. What it really means, though, is that “I’m a man with priorities—and you’re not one of them!”

5. “You can do so much better than me!”

Ah, this is an interesting breakup line. “I love you so much that I don’t want to be with you” or “You’re such a great person that I’ll dump you so I can find someone…that isn’t as great.” Seriously. Stop being so condescending.

We don’t need a pat on the back or a pathetic excuse for a compliment. You actually think that you can do better than us, which is why you’re putting yourself back on the dating market. Don’t try to switch things around just to make yourself feel less guilty for axing the relationship. 

6. “I need to spend more time with other people.”

Well, you can actually spend more time with other people without actually breaking up. That’s what bowling with the guys and Sunday family dinners are for. What you’re really saying is, “I need to spend time far away from you. Forever.” 

7. “I’ve got a fear of commitment.”

It’s probably true, but duhrrrrr—that’s what commitment’s about. It’s a choice, right, so you can actually choose to face the fear, especially since you’ve supposedly gotten this self-aware. But the real issue is that you don’t want a commitment with us, and this self-help line conveniently ends the relationship while making you look like a mature, emotionally connected male. Oh, won’t Dr. Phil be so proud of you! 

8. “I just need space.”

What, and we don’t give you space? This line is actually insulting, since it makes us wonder if we’ve been smothering and cloying, and somehow driven you away because we didn’t respect your, uh, space. 

9. “Let’s try seeing other people and figure out things as we go along.”

Roughly translated: “Let’s still have sex and play stupid emotional games with each other while I see if I can bag a hotter chick.”

10. “We’ve lost that spark.”

In other words, “I’m no longer attracted to you, and the sex isn’t that great anymore.” 

11. “We’re just in two different places right now.”

Ah, the couple that’s still in love but have drifted apart. But what it really means, when you think about it, is “You’re boring me” or “You’re holding me back.” Why else would you assume the relationship isn’t in synch with the rest of your life? “I’m going places, baby, and you’re baggage!” 

12. “I’ll always love you.”

Yeah, yeah—you love us but you don’t want to be with us. That’s helpful.