How to Write a Break Up Scene


Part One

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  1. Try showing the reader how much pain one, or both of them, are going through. Explain the empty feeling in his/her heart…. give details on how they feel.
  2. »A.It’s only going to be emotional and heart-breaking if the reader has established an emotional connection to the characters. The reader must sympathize with the protagonist.

I.      Firstly, how long have the two been together and what is their relationship status?
II.     Think about the motivations behind the break up. Bad treatment? Incompatibility? Boredom? Is it simply that they drifted apart, or did one of them have an affair or is suspected of having an affair?  Give one or two sentences stating how the two love birds’ relationship has been on the rocks… or if it has been just fine.
III.   It all depends on your heroine/hero’s state of mind and personality. You need to determine the way they would react. He/she might break down, or they might be pretty calm. Will they argue? Walk away and start flirting with someone else immediately (making partner jealous, but she can’t show it)? Will he just be really hurt and his/her hurt hurts their partner?

Example 1:  

Had it already been two years since Jordan and I been together? I remembered the first time I saw her; I’d knew she’d be my girl, I just knew it. And, today, being it is our anniversary, I plan on telling her how much I love her by giving a promising ring. Jordan is clearly aware of my intense feelings; however, she doesn’t know that one day I dream of marrying her. Yes, that is how serious I am about our relationship.

You see, everything in our world has been perfect. Many of our high school friends have broken up or argue all the time — well, Jordan and I are different. We barely argue, we have so much in common and, quite frankly, nothing else can make my life better. Although… if we ever broke up for whatever reason, I don’t know what I’d do. Would I cry? As I guy I would hope not, except she has such an impact on me I might end up crying me heart out. Whatever I do, one thing is for sure: I would never trust anyone again.


    »B.Who’s breaking up with whom? Is the break mutual, or one sided? (See next letter for more help)

I.      Sometimes both partners secretly resent each other throughout the entire relationship.
II.      If He/She’s Being Dumped: make the character think in their head a lot. “How could he/she?” “What did I do wrong?” If He/She’s The One Breaking Up: make him/her stutter, describe how nervous and guilty they feel. Give a lot of detail how he/she constantly is running hands through their hair or how her palms are starting to sweat.
Example 2:  

Dinner time came. Earlier we watch a movie, walked around the park, and now we’re eating at her favorite restaurant. I couldn’t help but notice her face the entire time. She looked irritated. Maybe it was that time of month? Lady problems, possibly?

“Listen,” Jordan said, her face serious. She avoided eye contact with me while she spoke. “I need to tell you something.”

I stopped her to say, “First, let me tell you how much you mean to me. I, I brought you a promise ring. One day, I want to make you my wife, Jordan Ranna.”

Jordan shook her head. “That’s just it,” – her dark chocolate eyes finally met mine- “I don’t think we should see each other anymore. I’m bored, Ernest. So very bored.” She tilted her hear as if trying to predict what I would say next. Although, I didn’t say anything; I remained silent.

How could she? I thought to myself. After two whole years… two whole, perfect years she wants to end of relationship? What gives?

    »C.Five common ways to break up:

I.       One-Sided Breakup. “It’s not you, it’s me. Honestly.” One person doesn’t love the other anymore, and tries to ease the other into it, trying to sugarcoat the best they can that “I’m ******** dumping your ***.”
II.       Mutual Breakup: Violent. Usually arguments are not always physical. One person does something the other dislikes, the other starts picking apart the other’s habits, etc. May involve cheating, but almost always includes words such as “b***h” or “a*****e.” Remember, keep in mind your intended audience.
III.     #2 Mutual Breakup: Civil. This may begin with “It’s not you, it’s me,” but the other agrees and would actually LIKE to see other people, and them to be “just friends.” This usually ends up with one of the two breaking down later on, but… for the time being, it’s pretty quiet and could be awkward.
IV.      One sided violent breakup: where they end up screaming abuse at each other
V.       Mutual, civil unexpected breakup: they just plan to talk out what’s wrong in the relationship, and end up realizing that it just isn’t working at all, so they end it without really meaning to.
Example 3:  

Before I could even form sentences again, (all of this due to the shock I’ve experienced) what Jordan said next literally had my mouth hanging wide open:

 “But don’t get me wrong. It’s not you, it’s me. I am a changed person. My views and values are changing and I don’t think we’re compatible anymore.”

I rolled my eyes. “Do you mean to say you’re dumping me because I suck?”

“No… no, not at all, Ernest. You know I don’t mean it like that. Please don’t put words into my mouth.”


Part Two

  1. In a lot of relationships, there are certain boundaries that you do not cross (saying certain things, hitting your partner, etc.) Once you cross them, the relationship is DONE, both parties know it, nothing else need be said.
  2. »A.Concentrate on the emotions, the thoughts, and the body language. All dialogue in these situations is cheesy; it’s the context that makes or breaks the scene.

I.      Treat it like real life. Think about human nature and about your characters. Let’s say one of the characters has been rehearsing this for days, you could show that in how they might keep repeating this one phrase over and over, or they could keep starting to say one thing but get interrupted.
II.       Allow the dialogue to trail off, take random jumps to new sentences and phrases. If it starts sounding corny, speak the lines out loud, and let your mouth find the right words.
Example 4:  

“I must be dreaming,” I said, holding a hand to my forehead.

“Look,” Jordan tried to reassure me, “it’s not you, Ernest. Really, it’s me. I think I need to find myself, you know. I need to discover who Jordan Ranna really is in the world before it’s too late. I need to…”

I held up my hand for her to stop speaking. “I’m done here,” I said. “This is ridiculous and humiliating.”

“Is it something I said? Ernest, why don’t you believe me when I said it’s not you, it’s me. I’m being serious.”

“That’s it!” I shouted, standing from my chair and throwing my handkerchief down. The people next to us were staring. I didn’t mind, there were always witnesses to my misery.

scene 4 - restaurant fight sample


Part Three

  1. How does the relationship end after the break up?
  2. »A. It depends on your characters and how you want their interaction to change by their breaking up.

I.    If you want them to hate each other’s guts afterwards, then one or both of them need to say or do something nasty, and their conversation has to take a really downward turn to lead to that.
II.   If you want them to be friends afterwards (or at least civil), then you need both parties to accept the breakup.
Example 5:  

“Listen,” Jordan spoke again, this time tears appeared in her eyes. “Please, believe me.”

“Don’t give me that fake bull. I can’t believe you are going to dump me on our anniversary! Seriously, it’s as if I don’t even know who you are anymore.”

“Don’t say that,” Jordan whined as full blown tears fell from her eyes.

“You’re right. I shouldn’t say that.” I crossed my arms, wondering why she tried to earn my sympathy with her fake act. “Maybe I should say that I never really knew you. You were always a facade I had hidden in my mind. Many people warned me about you but I turned the other cheek because I thought I was in love. Well, I know now I made a mistake. Good riddance, Jordan. I’m sure I can do so much better.”

With that final statement, I stormed out the restaurant, leaving behind the promise ring. Not once did I look back. When I got to my car, I cried like I never cried before. I knew I said all of those things out of anger but I had to say them to make myself feel better. I mean, after the effort I put into our relationship, this was how she ended it? On our anniversary? At dinner, a time for romance and happiness? Why, Jordan? Why?

    »B.What do the characters need to do/ feel once the scene is over?

I.       Do they need one last hug or just walk away? Do they fall to the ground crying their heart out? Do they contact a friend for comfort?
II.      Show how the character is feeling relieved or lonely, depending on whether or not they wanted to break up. Demonstrate how their future will forever be changed. Do they feel like they have lost everything? Remember, put yourself in your character’s shoes to have a more realistic plot.
Example 6: 

I drove in my car that night, far, far away from my hometown. I didn’t want to see or hear anyone I knew. I already am aware of the “I told you so” and the “See, I could tell she wasn’t that into you” coming from my friends and family. Tonight, I rather night hear any of it. Driving down to the beach several miles away, I slept in my vehicle, thinking to myself whether or not I should walk into the ocean and never return. Misery had set in deep for me, especially with the realization I wouldn’t be able to kiss Jordan goodnight or see her innocent face smiling at me in a loving way again.

Thinking this over, not a minute later I stepped out of my car and walked slowly to the ocean. When I made it a few feet from my fate, my cell phone rang. It was my friend John. I thought for a moment if I should answer it. He could easily change my mind about what I planned on doing and I didn’t want that. I prepared to throw my phone in the ocean when I another call from John. By now, the water was to my mid-waist. Only three more steps and I’d be gone from this miserable earth and the people who lived in it.

“Fine,” I said to myself, “I guess he deserves one last conversation with me. After all, he is my best friend.” I answered the phone in a weary tone. 

“Hey man, where are you? Jordan told me about how you left the restaurant after she dumped you. Is everything okay? Don’t tell me you’re doing something stupid?”

I smiled after hearing his tough, yet soothing voice. “Maybe I am,” I said in anger, “but why would it matter to you. You were the one that said she wasn’t that in to me anyways. Aren’t you happy I am no longer with her?”

There was a long pause on the phone. “Hello?”

John finally spoke again after some time. “Man,” his voice sounded cold, “Jordan has cancer. She is going to a medical facility this March for chemo.”

“What?” I couldn’t believe a word he said. “You’re lying!”

“I’m not, man. I wish I was but I’m not. She didn’t want you to worry because she knows how you are. Jordan loves you too much, Ernest. WAY to much that she wanted you to move on.”

“Why? I don’t understand. Move on?” I scratched my head.

I heard John swallow hard before saying, “Doctors say she only has a year to live. And if the chemo doesn’t work, then, well, it might be only a few short months.”

John continued to speak but I tuned him out. My mind filled with some much information; I wasn’t thinking straight anymore.

Right then I completely lost it. Was I about to take my life when the person I loved was trying to hold on to hers? Did I almost kill myself for selfish reasons when really I needed to live unselfishly for the one person I cared for the most? How could I be so stupid? What would have happened if John didn’t call and I went through with it? Jordan would have found out and her sickness probably would have gotten worse. And to think I…. me… to think I said all those nasty things to her. How I left her in the restaurant all alone on our anniversary. I needed to go back! I had to return to my love. Racing back to my car, I tried to call Jordan but she understandably didn’t answer.

During my drive back I thought about what I wanted to tell her. I highly doubt she was still at the restaurant, but that wasn’t why I returned there. I came back for the promise ring. As of now, it will be called a wedding ring. I vow to marry Jordan Ranna and stay with her as long as she shall live. Through sickness and in health. No matter what.



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8 thoughts on “How to Write a Break Up Scene

  1. dang, this helped a l0t. i really want t0 thank y0u for making this website because writing is c00l and i really enjoy it.

    thanks again!

  2. Wow. This is amazing. You must be a very good writer. How you made a story out of the examples Is just fascinating.
    Thank you, however, for the tips. I really needed them.

  3. I was struggling to write a wedding scene,this website helped me a lot.Thank you so much.You explain well and easy to understand.

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