1. Move to an unlivable apartment or home.
If you’re already cohabiting, things are obviously pretty serious, which makes having that breakup convo even more daunting. One effective way to get the breakup gears in motion without actually saying anything is to downsize to a barely livable situation that makes you both borderline miserable. All you have to do is claim that you really want to save money (“For your future together!” if you’re THAT evil) before relocating to a place that’s extremely small and/or run down and/or remotely located from everything and everyone you know and love. Trust me that within three months you’ll want to rip each other’s heads off so your partner is bound to run away—leaving you, smiling wide, in the dusty hellhole you insisted on moving to behind.
2. Casually mention that you never want to get married.
As an adult, the act of dating becomes a sort of tryout for marriage. Once you make it past the six month mark, you better believe the idea of tying the knot crosses your significant other’s mind roughly fifty million times per millisecond. That notion freak you out? Not to worry! There’s a simple way out of most early stage long-term relationships: Simply claim that you never ever want to get hitched. You can cite your parents’ ugly divorce or your general aversion towards all things conventional as your reasoning. Whatever anti-nuptial assertion you make, trust that it will send your partner packing in no time.
3. Tell your partner that you never want kids.
Another way to repel a mate is to randomly profess your total lack of desire to have children. Even if your partner isn’t really the childrearing type, they’ll quietly begin to wonder WHY you don’t want to procreate with them. What’s wrong with me, they’ll think. Why is this person I’m seeing so adamant about not merging our DNA? Why am I not more desirable to them??? This strategy works especially well during your 20s, when even those who’re hesitant about spawning a mini-me haven’t yet decided with 100 percent certainty that they don’t want kids. Most young people like to at least indulge the baby-making fantasy with the person they’re dating, so if you claim that you definitely don’t want any progeny, you should successfully deter them from pursuing you further.
4. Take it a step further and say you’re infertile.
An even more cowardly way to drive someone away is to allege that having kids isn’t even an option for you. If you go this route, don’t worry about one day having children and being called out for your fertility. You can always say that your doctor made a mistake or something! Generally speaking, taking kids off the table is a great way to throw a wrench into the hopes and dreams of the person you’re seeing, who is surely considering the family building path and will be disappointed to learn that you’re physically incapable of taking that step with them. Of course, adoption, surrogacy, and sperm donation are always options, but I’d bet your significant other isn’t quite ready to forgo the idea of having babies the good ol’ fashioned way.
5. Tell them you’re not really into monogamy.
Sure, polyamory is big in some circles. But aspiring to be monogamous is still the dominant trend amongst heterosexuals these days. Most people in serious relationships simply aren’t open-minded enough to field the idea of servicing multiple lovers regularly, so if you claim that monogamy really isn’t your thing, you’re almost guaranteed to scare them away without too many hard feelings. After all, it’s not your fault! You were raised on a diet of sexting and hardcore pornography! How can you be expected to stomach the idea of committing to a single human for the rest of your entire life???
6. Suggest that you’re no longer feeling all that sexual (around them).
On the other side of the spectrum, you can just stop having sex with your significant other. You don’t even have to say anything. Just avoid physical contact. Nix the morning snuggles, impromptu back rubs, random, passionate make out sessions, and tender caressing. Your partner will notice your icy cold behavior and intuit that there must be something wrong—with them. When they approach you about it, simply state that you’re not really feeling all that sexy. The implication, of course, is that you’re not feeling sexy WITH THEM, which is a super troubling reality. Either they’ll do their best to spice things up in the bedroom, or suggest parting ways. Kind of a win-win if you’re itching to cut the relationship cord once and for all.
7. Start tagging your exes in stuff.
Think your partner isn’t stalking you online, even when things are hunky dory? Think again! They’re keenly aware of your online interactions and overall web presence. So if you want to make them question the foundation of your bond, start tagging your exes in hilarious memes and/or photos of baby animals hugging each other. If you’re really eager to drive your significant other away, tag an ex in a relationship related post and add a schmoopy hashtag like #goals or #rememberus. That should be enough to make your current partner castration-fantasy irate, which will lead to a shouting match, and, ultimately, your freedom.
8. Get caught having an emotional affair.
If you want to gently back out of your current relationship without being branded an unfaithful asshole, have an emotional affair and let your partner catch you in the act. You can do this with an ex, a colleague, or the one that got anyway from high school. Just start flirting with your chosen target via text or social media regularly. You don’t even have to sext to cross the proverbial line! Then either “accidentally” sync your phone with the ipad you and your significant other share, or leave your phone out in the open for them to pick up one day. Your quasi-infidelity will be enough to make your boyfriend or girlfriend hate you without being too much for them to want to murder you right then and there. Et voila! Relationship over, just like you wanted.
9. Get caught having an actual affair.
If you’re shameless enough, you can always engage in an actual affair and be sloppy about it. Just start having sex with that hot friend or coworker you’ve been pining for. Do it on your lunch break or right before you meet up with your boyfriend or girlfriend for dinner. Let them smell it on you. Let them notice the you’re more disheveled than you should be when you walk through the door at night. Let them accuse you of cheating—and then, ever so begrudgingly, admit that they’re right. Hopefully they’ll storm out the door fuming without punching you in the throat first.
10. Just say no.
No one likes to hear “no.” Especially not your significant other. So the next time they ask if you want to go out for a date night or attend their best friend’s birthday party or accompany you to their very important work thingy because they desperately need your support, just say no. Make yourself totally unavailable to meet their needs. Eventually, they’ll deem you an asshole worth dumping. Yay!