Dear Carolyn: I’m 16 and in my first relationship. We’ve been dating just over a month. At first I really liked him, but the more I’m getting to know him, I kind of want out. He’s a good guy, just not the guy for me. My family is like in love with him so I haven’t really talked to them.
The thing is, I don’t know how to break up with someone. He’s graduating this year and keeps talking about our future when he goes to college, and I don’t want to crush him. I haven’t really given any warning signs, so as far as he knows I’m perfectly happy. So if I break up with him now, he would be confused and hurt!
This may seem a bit melodramatic, since it is my first relationship, but I don’t know what to do.
Young and Clueless
The most important element of a good breakup? Honesty throughout the relationship, from Go.
Your boyfriend stands to be blindsided because “as far as he knows I’m perfectly happy.” It is so important not to feign contentment when your doubts are piling up.
So when a boyfriend waxes poetic and you’re still in prose — or vice versa — don’t just look at the floor. Say where you are, and why; if you don’t know why, then admit you don’t know.
It shows respect, and keeps expectations grounded in fact. And, if it leads to a breakup, then you needn’t agonize about what to say or when; it’ll just be the next step in a running, honest exchange that behooves you both. It’s late with your boyfriend, but start anyway: “I haven’t been fair to you. When you’ve talked about next year, I haven’t admitted that I’m not ready for that.” Responsibility taken, truth told, conversation started.