While relationships can be as unique as our fingerprints, when they come to an end it often turns into a cliché-fest riddled with phrases like “I just don’t see a future together” and, of course, the classic “It’s not you, it’s me”. While these lines are sometimes a summary of the truth, a lot of the time they’re used as a cop out for cowards to skirt around what they really mean. We’ve compiled a list of the most common break-up one-liners and their translations.

Break-up one-liner 1: “It’s not you, it’s me”

Translation: “It’s you, but I’m afraid to say why you irritate me”

If one member of the dating party has noticed something about the other that has seriously put them off, it’s usually much easier to throw a cliché out there. Saying “it’s not you, it’s me” is much more appealing than saying “you’re so irritating that sometimes I smile politely and think how much I’d love to slam the door in your face” or “the way you chew your food reminds me of a cow and it’s pretty disgusting.” In scenarios like the above, you’d probably rather be spared the embarrassment, right?

Break-up one-liner 2: “I’m going travelling”

Translation: “Not sure how to approach the tricky subject of breaking up so I’ll pretend I’m jetting off somewhere nice instead”

This is pretty much always a lie; an excuse to break up with someone without tackling the reason head-on. If in the future you see photos of your soon-to-be ex giving a thumbs up to the camera while aboard a camel in the Sahara desert, or pictures of them looking a little frightened while bungee jumping in Mexico, you can take back your doubts and forgive them. Until then, we can only believe this is a common break-up one-liner.

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Break-up one-liner 3: “I don’t want a girlfriend/boyfriend”

Translation: “I don’t want to be with you”

This classic one-liner is usually followed by “if I were ready for commitment, you would definitely be the one.” Gee, thanks for thinking of us. This is one of the worst break-up lines because not only are we being dumped, this person is also dangling the hope that somewhere down the line they will want to be with us. In reality, this probably isn’t going to happen so it’s best to forget about them.

Break-up one-liner 4: “I think we need to take a break”

Translation: “I want to shop around but I’d like you to still be there if it doesn’t work out”

If you ever hear this break-up line, run a mile and don’t look back. Taking a “break” is usually an excuse for the ‘dumper’ to play the field in the hope that the ‘dumpee’ will still be there waiting if it doesn’t work out. Don’t fall for it.

Break-up one-liner 5: “There’s too much going on in my life right now”

Translation: “I don’t like you enough to make time for you”

“I just need to concentrate on…” Fill the blank. Career, travelling, family – we’ve heard the full repertoire in our time. The funny thing is, when we were dating, this person seemed to have plenty of time, but as they got to know us they suddenly became super busy. Thanks a bunch!

10 common break-up one-liners

Break-up one-liner 6: “I need a little space”

Translation: “I need some space from you. Forever”

This one-liner gives the dumper time to formulate an escape plan, so by the time the dumpee gets back in touch after a little while, the dumper has changed their phone number and address. Problem solved.

Break-up one-liner 7: “I’ll call you”

Translation: “I may/probably won’t call you”

This is said by a member of the dating party when they’re trying to avoid the “so, where shall we go on our next date?” line. Maybe your phone will ring again after the date but if it doesn’t, don’t be surprised.

Break-up one-liner 8: “You’re far too good for me”

Translation: “I’m too good for you”

This is an interesting common break-up one-liner. It’s like saying “I love you so much and you’re so amazing that I just can’t be with you anymore.” It doesn’t make sense. So you’re going to dump us to be with someone less amazing? This common break-up one-liner usually means that the other person feels they’re too good for this relationship so they’re putting themselves back on the dating market. Ouch.

Break-up one-liner 9: “I love you, but I’m not in love with you”

Translation: “Any attraction I felt towards you is long gone”

When a couple have been together for a long time, it’s common to start feeling a little bored of the relationship and start questioning if there is really any passion left. Those who come out with this one-liner usually care for their partner, but don’t feel passionate about them in a loving way.

Break-up one-liner 10: “I’ll always love you”

Translation: “I don’t love you anymore”

You’ll always love me but you don’t love me now; you don’t love me enough to see a future in our relationship and we’ll probably never see each other again once we’ve parted ways. That’s really helpful. Thanks for being so honest.