She’s not the one, but she’s still somebody. When you’re making the final break up, there are some important things to keep in mind to preserve your sanity and hers too. Being a gentleman is hard when you’re about to take the role of the heartbreaker, but you also need to accept that your feelings are there for a reason. Once you’ve decided that the relationship isn’t working for you, accept your feelings and move forward with your life. Follow these tips and you should be able to minimize the pain of separating from your girlfriend for both of you.

Be Firm, not Malicious

There is a huge difference from being assertive and being hurtful. When it comes to breaking up with a girl, you need to be certain about the decision in advance. After you’ve reached this point, it is of great importance to be firm with her. Since you’re the one cutting ties, it’s highly likely she won’t agree with you but it’s possible she’ll be on the same page too. Whether you’re faced with a heated argument or a messy emotional breakdown, maintain your cool. You do not need to be insulting, condescending, or sink to her level if she’s doing that to you. You can’t take back your words once they’ve left your mouth, so restraint is the best tactic.

Don’t Make Excuses for Yourself or for Her

If the relationship isn’t working, it’s not working. There’s no reason to beat around the bush with your feelings. When you’re explaining yourself, don’t lower yourself with excuses for the decision you’ve made. It’s completely respectable to state your position and leave it at that. Don’t tell her she deserves better than you, don’t say that it’s your fault for not feeling it anymore. Relationships are give and take, so it’s been a two-way street all along. But now, you’re taking the high road alone. Whether or not she accepts your explanation, it does not have to be convincing if you really feel that the relationship is not working. If you pander to her feelings and try to be the nice guy, the less confident you will seem and your convictions will seem even shakier. Accept that your words will never convey the entire truth.

Make a Clean Break, Don’t Look Back

Breaking up is a hard thing to do and it introduces a lot of doubt into your perspective. If you still have feelings for her, you should have tried to work it out before you get to the point of breaking up. Once you know it’s time to separate, don’t look back. You cannot take back the words you say, so don’t expect that the relationship can be the same after some time off. This is also important for moving on with your lives. The cleaner the break is, the sooner you will be able to find a new partner and the same goes for her. You don’t need to feel guilty; you’re looking out for number one just like she should be. And if you’ve been respectful throughout the break-up, you’ll have no reason to regret your actions.