Nothing prepares you for a breakup, especially when you don’t see it coming.
However, things happen, and it gets to a point where a breakup is non-negotiable.
Then comes the most challenging part: informing your soon-to-be-ex that you have decided to quit the relationship.
It becomes even more challenging if your partner suffers from low self-esteem.
You want to end things without bad blood but are unsure how to approach the breakup without affecting your vulnerable lover.
The bottom line is that the breakup has to take place because the last thing you want is to stay in an unfulfilling relationship out of pity, which is unfair to you both.
If anything, you may develop resentment towards the man the more you prolong a breakup out of feeling sorry, ruining the chances of a peaceful breakup if he discovers that you stopped caring about him moons ago and you were just putting on a show.
So, can you avoid a messy breakup if your partner has low self-esteem?
If possible, how do you go about it, and what should you expect?
You will find answers to all these questions in this post, but first, look at what it means to have a partner with low self-esteem issues and how it affects relationships.
Understanding Low Self-esteem in Relationships
If your partner has low self-esteem, it simply means he doesn’t believe he has value or that he matters.
Such a person mainly relies on other people’s approval to feel valued, and because of that, they become emotionally unstable with the tiniest criticism.
Low self-esteem can stem from many contributing factors, such as growing up in a dysfunctional background or being raised by emotionally unavailable parents, being unable to meet societal expectations, physical appearance insecurities, unaddressed past bullying experiences, etc.
Now you can imagine breaking up with someone who thinks lowly of themselves to the extent of believing you are doing them a favor by loving them and not because they deserve to be loved.
It is difficult to sustain a relationship where one party suffers from low self-esteem because it breaks your bond in several ways.
For example, you may never know when you hurt your partner’s feelings.
After all, they are afraid to speak up because they cannot boldly hold open conversations.
A man who cannot resolve conflicts in a relationship can watch you helplessly get harassed or disrespected when out together because he has never been bold enough to confront hurtful situations.
While it is not his fault that he has low self-esteem, he isn’t your burden or responsibility.
If anything, you can be his savior by advising him to find psychological help to build his confidence.
What to Do
Now moving on to the bigger picture: navigating a smooth breakup involving a man with low self-esteem.
After ascertaining that breaking up is inevitable, you want it to be smooth, leaving no room for emotional baggage.
Truthfully, you should brace yourself for a difficult conversation and remember that if you are overwhelmed, you can always count on a professional relationship’s expert guidance on executing the breakup.
So, what should you expect and should you do in the whole breakup issue?
1. The Timing and Location Matters
As much as you would like to finish the breakup as soon as possible and move on, showing up at his place of work during lunch break or at his college just before he sits for an important exam isn’t the ideal timing.
You can anticipate an emotional wreck for a guy with low self-esteem, and you don’t want him to go through that in an environment that can’t accommodate the emotional processing.
How about paying him a visit in his crib during the weekend when he is less occupied?
Doing so will help you avoid attracting public attention and allow you to leave once he knows your intentions.
More importantly, avoid the temptation of breaking up with him over the phone.
Have the decency to meet him physically because it is the only respectful way to break up.
Remember that you are dealing with an emotionally vulnerable person, and breaking up with them via the phone won’t offer him the closure needed.
2. Get Ready for a Response
People respond to breakups differently, but someone with self-esteem may become overwhelmed by emotions, especially if they feel they did everything right to keep you by their side.
Sadness, anger, and emptiness may creep in, followed by him trying to beg and convince you to rethink your decision.
The thought of not having you in his life horrifies him because you give him a sort of identity.
If you are not careful, he may manipulate you by giving excuses such as “I will do anything you want to make you stay, just name it.”
At this point, he doesn’t care that you no longer have feelings for him and is ready to stay in a loveless relationship because he is not bold enough to recognize his worth.
Give him room to process the breakup, hand in a handkerchief so that he can wipe his tears, but let your message stand.
Make him understand that the situation is irreparable.
3. Do Not Put all the Blame on Him
His behavior or actions may be why you want to cut relationship ties but don’t make it obvious.
Most people in relationships blame the other partner for everything they didn’t do right during a breakup, ensuing a back-and-forth blame game as the other party tries to defend themselves.
The thing is, you can choose a peaceful breakup by not making your partner feel the need to defend themselves against your accusations.
It will help them feel somehow relieved that it is not entirely their fault that the relationship has ended.
Opt for collective sentiments like “I have noticed we have drifted apart over the last few months because we no longer share the same goals” or “I figured out that I entered into a relationship before I could work on myself, and it’s unfair that you are not enjoying my full version.”
4. Show Compassion and Reassure Him
Emotional support is critical to a breakup but can send mixed signals if poorly implemented.
You need to balance being empathetic and remaining firm in your decision.
A man with low self-esteem already feels inadequate, and a breakup can magnify the feeling because he will interpret it as rejection.
Let him know you equally feel sad that the relationship couldn’t go further, but the breakup was for a good cause.
Encourage them to hope for another fulfilling relationship, but before then, take good care of their mental health and prioritize their well-being.
Tell him you will not stop caring about him and that his happiness would mean the world to you.
5. Suggest Professional or Friendly Help
After doing all you can to achieve an amicable breakup, it is no longer your responsibility to nurse your ex’s emotional being.
Advise him on speaking to a friend or a relationship coach for healing and help to come to terms with the relationship’s ending.
A counseling session would help him understand his shortcomings and how he contributed to the breakup, helping him be a better partner for the next relationship.
If you were unsure how to break up with a man with low self-esteem, I’m hopeful that this post has provided you with the green light you needed.
Nothing should hold you back from a breakup if you know it no longer serves your best interests.
You should not feel obligated to keep his self-esteem issues at the expense of your happiness, but you can help him navigate a path to building his confidence.