Unfortunately, not every romantic relationship lives up to our early hopes and dreams. You can be with a truly wonderful man, but that does not mean that he is right for you. If you find yourself in that situation, you may decide it is time for you to end the relationship. Breaking off a romantic relationship is rarely easy. Breaking the news in person is generally preferred, but that is not always possible. Sometimes the physical distance that separates you does not allow you to tell him in person. Sometimes it is hard to get out the words that you want to say. In either case, you may decide to write a letter to allow yourself time to gather your thoughts and clearly express them.

A break up letter from a woman to a man is commonly known as a Dear John letter. It is often an attempt to break off the romantic relationship in a compassionate way. A Dear John letter generally does not blame him for the failure of the relationship, states that he is a good person and wishes him well in the future.

Tips on writing a compassionate Dear John letter:

  1. Send a hand written letter. It is okay to organize your thoughts on a computer, but write out the final draft of your break up letter.
  2. Consider carefully what you write. A break up letter may be read again and again.
  3. Avoid writing anything negative or harsh. You do not want to have any regrets when the emotions of the moment have faded.
  4. Be clear that the romantic relationship is over. Give him the gift of a clean break.
  5. Mention how you have been struggling with the decision and that writing this letter to him is very hard for you to do.
  6. Say you are not right for each other. This leads to the conclusion that the failure of the romantic relationship is not anyone’s fault and that the relationship can not be repaired.
  7. Do not list his romantic shortcomings. He probably does not need to be reminded of them and it may lead him to believe, if he changes his behavior, the relationship will be restored.
  8. Consider listing your own romantic short comings. This can reinforce that the two of you are not right for each other.
  9. Be positive about him and his future. This reassures him that you still think that he is a good man and that he can find a wonderful woman who will fully appreciate him.
  10. Do not suggest being friends. While this always sounds nice, it rarely happens. It may help you in your transition from a romantic couple, but it is often a burden to him.
  11. Wish him well. This reinforces that you still care about him and think highly of him.
  12. Just sign it with your first name. Do not sign the letter “Love, ...”. This only causes confusion.
  13. After you finish the break up letter, set it aside for a few days.  Before you send the letter, read it again to make sure it clearly reflects your feelings.

When it isn't possible to break off a romantic relationship in person, a well written break up letter is sometimes the best way to compassionately end the relationship.

For tips on getting through a relationship break up, read Surviving A Break up.

Related page: How To Write A Goodbye Letter