While it's usually a good idea to breakup with someone either in person or via phone call, there are plenty of situations where it’s a-OK to send a text instead. More often than not it’ll be in fairly casual situations, like after a second date or once a hookup has run its course.
In these cases, telling the other person you no longer want to meet up shows a level of kindness and respect, says marriage and family therapist Alex Ly, AMFT. It also helps to provide clarity so that they aren’t left wondering what happened.
When a newer relationship isn’t going well, or you don’t feel a spark, it can be tempting to abruptly cut off communication and fade away without explanation. You know, a classic ghosting. And while it is OK to ghost someone if they made you feel unsafe, almost everyone else deserves a quick message to spare them anguish and confusion — and free you up to move on.
A text message breakup might also come in handy in situations where it would be unpleasant or impossible to see the person you’ve been dating. Maybe you’re breaking up with a long-distance partner who’s started to lose touch, calling things off with a toxic long-term hookup, or assuring that rude person you got drinks with that you never want to see them again. Here, 23 romantic scenarios where a text breakup might apply, plus the perfect way to word each one.
1. When You Didn’t Feel A Spark On A First Date
Send this: "Thanks for meeting up for drinks last night! I don’t think there’s a romantic spark, but I wish you the best of luck out there.”
If you don’t want to see someone again due to lack of attraction or “spark,” send a text like this one. There’s no need to sugarcoat or say you “had a great time” on the date when you didn’t. You also don’t need to offer an explanation, especially since listing out all the reasons why would be too painful, says therapist Cassandra Lange, LCSW, MEd. Simply thank them for meeting up, be honest about the future, and leave it at that.
2. When You’ve Been Texting Nonstop For A Few Days
Send this: "Thanks so much for messaging back and forth! I know it's tough to get to know someone via chat, but it doesn't seem like we're a good match at this time. I'm not interested in meeting up, but hope that you find someone soon who is!"
While it’s usually fine to stop messaging someone you’ve never met, if you’ve gotten into deep conversation it might be nice to officially call things off with a quick text. That way they won’t waste any time checking their phone.
3. When It’s Clear They Really Liked You
Send this: "You seem like a great person and I enjoyed meeting you, but I don’t think that we are a match in a romantic way. I know you are someone else’s soulmate, and I know they are out there looking for you as well. Thank you for your time, and I wish you all the best on your path."
A kindly-worded text like this one is perfect when the other person was really sweet or if they put a lot of effort into planning dates, says licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Alisa Ruby Bash, PsyD, LMFT. It matches their positive energy, assures them the “breakup” wasn’t their fault, and ends things in a thoughtful way.
4. When You've Been Hooking Up
Send this: "It's been so fun hooking up the past few weeks, but I don't see this is going anywhere relationship-wise. I'm looking for something more than a hookup and I'm sure there is someone else out there, for both of us, who will be a better fit.”
Hooking up can be fun and casual, but it can also start to feel intimate and relationship-y the longer it goes on. If you decide to put a stop to it, send a text like this one so the other person knows not to text at 1 a.m. And if they have developed a connection, they’ll know it’s time to move on.
5. When They Were Rude To The Server
Send this: "I just wanted to let you know that I did not feel comfortable with some of your behavior at the restaurant last night. I don’t think that we are a match. I don’t want to keep communicating.”
Even though you’d probably be happy to never speak to a rude person again, it may help to send a text like this one to give things a clean, definitive ending. This is especially true if they don’t seem to realize they did something wrong. In any case, Bash suggests taking the high road by remaining civil, being honest, and letting them know you're done.
6. When You’ve Been On Three Dates
Send this: "Thanks for giving me a chance to get to know you better. I think we are looking for different things at this time. I'm not interested in another date but I wish you all the best."
Some folks might consider a third date early-relationship territory, which is why it’s important to let them know you don’t want to hang out again. Bash recommends taking 10 seconds to let the other person know where your head’s at, so they don’t hold out hope.
7. When It’s Officially Been Five Dates
Send this: “This has been so fun but I’ve realized that I’m not quite ready for a relationship just yet. Dating these past few weeks has made me realize that I’m not quite recovered from my last relationship, and I don’t want to be unfair to you. I need to take this time to myself. I hope you can understand.”
Clearly you liked something about this person if you got five dates deep, so what made you change your mind? Send an honest text like this one to explain why you’ve had a change of heart. Just make sure you keep it all about you.
8. When They’re Coming On Too Strong
Send this: "Thanks for your interest in getting to know me, but I don't want to meet up or continue to talk. It’s done."
If someone is coming on too strong — texting you incessantly, asking for photos, demanding another date, etc. — you need to be straightforward, says therapist Ashera DeRosa, LMFT. Put a stop to it with this text. And if need be, block their number.
9. When You Realize You’re Too Busy To Date
Send this: "While I've really enjoyed going on dates with you, my schedule is so full right now and I won't have time to meet up again. Maybe our paths will cross again in the future when the timing is better. Until then, I wish you well."
Be honest if you have a lot going on by sending a text similar to this one. Who knows? You may be able to make a relationship work at some point in the future.
10. When It's They're Still Hung Up On Their Ex
Send this: "After getting to know you a bit more, it's obvious to me that you're not quite ready to date. It may not be my place to say this but I've been in your shoes and know how important it is to take time to fully recover from a breakup before trying to date again. I hope you can get to a good place soon and find someone who makes you just as happy."
You don't want to get serious with someone who is a) trying to get over their ex, b) prove a point to their ex, or c) pretend you're their ex. If it's clear this person’s head is stuck in the past, protect yourself by getting out ASAP. As Bash says, it's often OK to send some light advice in this situation by providing a few helpful hints as to why you weren't interested. After that, put your phone down and move onto someone new.
11. When You Get Left On Read
Send this: "I'm trying to do my part to rid the world of ghosts so I wanted to reach out and say that though I'm really happy we met, I don't see us moving forward together. It felt right to be open about it — both for closure and to have any likely run-in be as pleasant as possible :)”
Matchmaker Danielle Selber recommends a text like this one. You can send it instead of ghosting them or send if you strongly suspect they’re already ghosting you.
12. When It’s Clear You're Drifting Apart
Send this: "It seems like our paths are going in different directions and I need to put all my focus on my own path. Pursuing a relationship isn't going to work out."
Similarly, if you've been on a few dates and can tells things are fizzling out, therapist Jennie Marie Battistin, M.A., LMFT suggests sending this text to officially cut ties. Call things off the moment you realize the other person isn’t into it, and you’ll spare yourself a lot of heartache down the road.
13. When Your Views Don’t Align
Send this: “It’s clear to me now that our views are incompatible. This isn’t going to work.”
“It might already be clear to them that this isn’t going to work, so they may not be very surprised to receive the text,” Lange says. But if you had a stressful date and it’s obvious you’ll never get along, hit send and be done with it.
14. When They Ask To Be Exclusive But You Aren’t Ready/Interested
Send this: “It has been fun getting to know you, but it seems like you and I are not on the same page about how to move forward. I’m still interested in seeing who is out there for me, and you seem to be settling in on us being a couple. It is always awkward to navigate this kind of imbalance, and I wish you the best. I hope you will respect my wishes to end our relationship at this point.”
Relationship coach Dr. Terrie Lewine recommends sending a text like this one when the other person is way more into the relationship than you are, or if they start talking about a future that you don’t see for yourself. It’s better to call things off early than lead them on.
15. When You Realize They’re Talking To Other People
Send this: “After talking about being exclusive I was surprised to hear that you’re still on apps and going on dates. It’s clear we aren’t looking for the same thing, and I don’t want to get hurt.”
According to Lewine, you may want to share what made you incompatible. In this case, it’s the fact you’re looking for something exclusive while they still want to see who’s out there.
16. When You Just Want To Be Friends
Send this: "I wanted to let you know that my feelings for you are much stronger as a friend than as a romantic partner. Would you like to continue our relationship as friends going forward? I'd love to keep you in my life."
If you're serious about pursuing a friendship instead of a relationship with someone you’ve been dating, this is a good way to get the conversation going. Give them time and space to respond. Most importantly, respect their decision if they don’t want to stay in contact.
17. When Your Long-Distance Relationship Is Fading
Send this: "I've realized the distance between us is too great and there is no immediate remedy. I am not built for a long-distance relationship. I’m sorry, I need to break this off and move on."
Sometimes a text like this one is the best way to end a long-distance relationship, Battistin says, especially if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
18. When An Ex Texts You
Send this: “I don’t want to continue talking into the future. Please respect my decision to end our relationship.”
How you respond really depends on how you feel about your ex. If you want to remind them that you aren’t interested in getting back together or maintaining a connection, say this.
19. When Things Get Complicated
Send this: "While I know this may not feel like the best mode to receive this information, I felt that it was best for me to get my thoughts out clearly via text and give you time to digest."
If things have gotten confusing between you, a clear, concise text message may help end your relationship. “Explain how long you've been feeling this way,” says licensed clinical social worker Jennifer Teplin, LCSW. "From there, be sure to clarify how you want to move forward.”
20. When They Won't Take A Hint
Send this: “I’ve told you quite a few times and I’ll say it again via text: I’m not interested in continuing this relationship. Please respect that so we can both move on.”
As psychiatrist Dr. Mimi Winsberg says, “If you tried telling them in person but they persist in persisting, a clear text message can serve to reinforce your lack of interest.”
21. When You’ve Been Arguing A Lot
Send this: “Our situation has not been pleasant and I am no longer interesting in pursuing any kind of relationship with you. If you reach out, I will not respond. I am crystal clear about ending this with you now. I wish you a better relationship with someone else.”
Send this text if things have gotten bad and you don’t feel comfortable — or have the energy — to break up IRL. “In this case, brevity and clarity are key” Lewine says.
22. When They Cheated On You
Send this: "I really wish it wasn't ending this way, but I've lost all trust after learning that you cheated. Our relationship is over."
Battistin says this text works in situations where a partner has lied, cheated, or emotionally manipulated you. Of course, it can be tricky to call things off with a single text, especially if you've been together a while or share an apartment. You’ll need to meet up or make a few phone calls before truly parting ways. But in some cases, you won't owe someone who cheated or lied much more than this.
23. When They're Controlling
Send this: "I’m writing to let you know that I am no longer comfortable or willing to remain in this relationship. Please respect my boundaries and preferences and understand that this is best for us to grow on our own and move on.”
According to Teplin, sometimes a text like this one is the safest way to end a relationship, especially when removing yourself from a toxic situation. She also recommends having a friend or family member nearby if you feel unsafe or need moral support. Texts like this one are hard to send, but they’re the first step in a better direction.
Alex Ly, AMFT, marriage and family therapist
Cassandra Lange, LCSW, MEd, therapist
Dr. Alisa Ruby Bash, Psy.D., LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist
Ashera DeRosa, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist
Jennie Marie Battistin, M.A., LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist
Dr. Terrie Lewine, relationship coach
Jennifer Teplin, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker
Danielle Selber, matchmaker
Dr. Mimi Winsberg, psychiatrist
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