Breaking up is hard.

There’s really no gentle or nice way to end a relationship.

The worst breakups are the ones where nobody is at fault – it simply didn’t work out. Regardless, breakups are almost never mutual. It’s always going to be harder on the person trying to hold the relationship together. The dumped party will feel hurt, betrayed, shocked and abandoned. Naturally, the partner ending the relationship isn’t immune from pain, either. It can be hard on both sides.

When you start dating someone, it’s impossible to foresee how the relationship will end. Breaking up is the farthest thing from your mind. You have fun being with each other. The dates are epic. The sex is amazing. What could go wrong?

People change. They drop their masks and show their true selves, fall out of love. Things happen. That’s why couples break up. But the question remains, what’s the best way to break up with a woman?

Some guys will go completely ghost on a woman, avoiding contact altogether, believing (incorrectly) this is the softest and least painful way to terminate a relationship. Other men, however, prefer to place all the blame on their partner and make them feel guilty about stuff they said or did, to let them know they they’ve been wronged. But in relationships, as with life, there aren’t good or bad guys, winners or losers – everyone carries part of the blame. And everyone feels a piece of the hurt.

Though the internet is filled with information on how survive a hurtful breakup, you won’t find nearly as much advice on how to end a relationship as delicately as possible. If you care at all about your reputation, you do not want to be known as the guy who’s bad at breaking up with women. Hurting others unnecessarily, leaving a trail of broken hearts along the way, can bring negativity to your life in ways you can’t even imagine.

Years from now, when you’re older, wouldn’t it’d be better to look back on your breakups with dignity instead of remorse?

At DateAdvisor, we want to help. Here are five tips that’ll help you end a relationship with as little pain and as much respect – and clarity – as possible.

Don’t invent silly excuses to see her again. Don’t drunk text her in the middle of the night. Don’t have breakup sex. End it once and for all.

The face-to-face breakup

Being physically present should be the number one rule for a clean and respectful breakup. Unless you want her to resent you and carry a grudge, don’t even consider breaking up over the phone, or worse, through text messages. Be there in person, show her the relationship was important to you.

Make a clear case

In your mind, you know why you want to break up. When you sit down to have “the talk,” present a clear and solid case for the breakup without resorting to defending yourself or your reasons. Avoid ambiguity. Listen patiently to everything she has to say, but whatever you do, don’t budge!

Don’t feel bad for yourself

Feeling bad about having to break up with a woman is not only pointless, it’s also a complete waste of time and energy. If you’re convinced it must end, do something about it. To pity yourself is to blame yourself, and that attitude helps neither you nor her.

Make a clean break

After you break up, cut off all forms of contact for at least a couple of months. Don’t invent silly excuses to see her again. Don’t drunk text her in the middle of the night. Don’t have breakup sex. End it once and for all. Show her your decision is permanent.

Be kind yet firm

When going into a breakup, focus on being kind and compassionate, yet resolute in your decision. Let her know the reasons (surely there’s more than one) why you’re ending the relationship without putting the blame on anyone in particular. But, above all else, let her know it’s not a fixable problem.