"It's not you, it's me." Is That Really a Thing?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Mainly because somebody close to me is going through a terrible break-up and it is bringing up old feelings that I have had about past break-ups of my own.

When the person doing the breaking up says “It’s not you, it’s me” or implies that they are messed up and don’t deserve you, have issues they need to sort out, etc. does it ring true to your experience? My take on it is that it is an excuse to get out without having to be honest. If a person has issues but loves the person they are with, it stands to reason, in my mind, that they would feel fortunate to have that person love them even with their issues or flaws. What do others think?

Generally, I feel that if someone is telling you they do not want to be in a relationship with you, just take their word for it and don’t second guess things.

Do people actually say this? I kinda thought it was like a joke. Most break-ups I hear are along the lines of “It’s just not working out.”

My ex broke up with me, in part, because he didn’t think he was stable enough to have a relationship (this was after 5 years of dating). I absolutely agree that it was true but I don’t think that was really the reason he broke up with me. It was just a convenient excuse.

I don’t think most people realistically break up with people because they want to protect the other person.

I’m a Mom of boys so, I’ve heard this from the male side breaking up with a girlfriend. There is a definition you may have overlooked and was true for my son. In his case, the girl had qualities that he didn’t like but, he didn’t want to hurt her further by listing them out. They weren’t offensive but, showed they were incompatible. One example was not sharing the same sense of humor.

PokeyJoe, that’s what I mean. Did your son use the “It’s not you it’s me” line? But his real reason was that he found some of her qualities unattractive?

I think it can be an honest answer. Sometimes people are just not ready, or they don’t feel they are ready, for a committed relationship with anyone. They may think the other person is great, but because they aren’t happy in the relationship, they may feel it’s their own inability to connect that is the problem.

I think that sometimes people think they aren’t ready when actually it’s that they haven’t found a match that they see themselves with forever, so they blame themselves because the person is “perfect” on paper.
What sometimes happens though, is the person who breaks up because she wasn’t ready meets someone soon after breaking up, and “bam!” …they have no problem connecting or committing. There is something about this new person that just clicks. It’s chemistry.

Sometimes a person may really want something to work, but it just doesn’t feel right and they don’t know why.

The person that is going through this is tempted to “give him more time”. I want to advise her NOT to offer that as, in my opinion, it is over. I don’t want him to string her along.

I would agree, ERTR. When it’s right, they both know it.

To borrow another line, “He’s just not that into you.” If he wanted to, he’d make an effort to make it work. He isn’t and he’s not. Best to not waste the time and energy and move on.

I’ve always interpreted “it’s not you, it’s me” as meaning that there isn’t anything particularly wrong with the person being broken up with, just that the person breaking up just isn’t “feeling it” for whatever reason. They may or may not even be able to articulate why, not that it really matters in the long run.

I think this was also a running gag on Seinfeld, was it not?

Yes: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U8TnhNxKNlU

@EPTR - you’re right that “It’s not you it’s me” is probably not the honest reason.

But then again, no one owes anyone else an honest reason for wanting out of a relationship.

And it’s probably not worth figuring out the honest reason either. That’s valuable mental bandwidth that could be spent on moving forward.

I think it means “it’s not me, it’s you…” and the person just doesn’t want to get into it, or just isn’t that into “you”.

I suspect it means they don’t want you to think there’s something wrong with you or that you did anything wrong, they just don’t have deep enough feelings for you to continue dating. I think they’re trying to get out of the relationship without giving a reason that could be debated, or are trying to avoid being unnecessarily hurtful, and/or are trying to avoid a protracted argument by taking the blame. How do you argue with someone who says, “You’re wonderful. I’m the horrible one.”? You convince him/her that they’re terrific and still get dumped.

Anytime you want to break up with someone, keep it short and sweet. And if you’re on the receiving end, don’t spend a lot of time analyzing it. Do your best to just move on.

I think it means: “There is nothing that I can articulate that is wrong with you and on paper we are a match. But, for whatever reason, I haven’t fallen for you. Or, worse, I haven’t been able to force myself to fall for you. It is not you, it is me.” That makes perfect sense to me, actually.

Also, I think it is the type of thing that someone says when they are being pressed into providing an explanation for something that cannot be explained.

Another, less kind, way of saying the same thing is, “The heart wants what it wants.” Or, even more starkly, “I don’t know why, but I’m just not in love with you [anymore].”

Take your pick.

Your friend deserves better than, “I am not sure if you are it, I want to see if I could do better.” Almost every person I know is selfish when it comes to love. When they meet the love of their life, there is no way they would give up that person because “I am too messed up and I think you deserve better,” they would do everything they could to hang on to that person with their dear life.

Anyone interested in exploring via film:
(500) days of summer

I guess that for my son’s previous breakup, he may use a line similar to this when he talked to her in their breakup talk. However, he likely felt worse about her but he chose not to say it to her explicitly. I think he did not want to hurt her feelings. (But I heard she then quickly posted a picture of a new potential boyfriend she had met during the break. A silly revenge?)

In his very first breakup early in college (kind of the continuation of his late high school “puppy love”), I heard the girl gave “hints” by intentional ignoring him (pretending she was busy even though she’s not) when he came back to the high school to see her. He said her intention was clear to him when he all of a sudden remembered she once told him she also gave “hints” to her previous boyfriend when she wanted to break up. So he “got it” and did not go to see her again from that day, as her wish. (A funny thing happened a year later: She arranged two of her ex-boyfriends (S and likely the one after him) to meet her at the same time. But her current boyfriend was not there though. I heard these two ex-boyfriends actually enjoyed talking to each other - they all came from the same high school. Go figure.)

Hopefully, the third one will work out. Knock! Knock! This relationship has lasted a full year and he has seen everyone of her immediate family members, including her nephew and niece. Not sure whether her parents will “approve” this relationship though. (However, I have a gut feeling that her parents may not want their relationship to proceed “too fast”.)

I don’t know, sometimes it’s honest and sometimes not. But I’m the type that either way I’m ready to move on. I’ve told my daughter to make sure she is not setting trap for the guys she like. Because if they really like you they find a way. If not, it’s a sign to move on. Don’t waste your time. There is not one guy. There are tons of guys out there.

I was once told by a guy that I “deserved better.” It was a kind way for him to break up with me.