Breaking up is never easy for anyone, but it’s harder for the person ending it than most seem to think. Unless the relationship has become truly toxic, breaking up with the sugar baby in your life never feels good. Yes, you know it’s time to move on and feel ready to do that, but this is still someone you saw a future with once and likely still care for.

Naturally, you don’t want to hurt her feelings. But you don’t want to let her down so easily that things aren’t final enough, either. Here are a few tips for striking a good balance between firm and compassionate if you’re trying to figure out how to approach a breakup of your own.

1.      Don’t spring it on her out of the blue

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a breakup, you never saw coming, then you no doubt know how hurtful it can be. After all, there’s nothing like going about your daily life, thinking you’re in love, only to find out the other person doesn’t feel that way at all.

Consider whether your sugar baby shares your frustrations with the relationship and might be thinking similarly. If you don’t think she is, resist any urges you might have to just break things off cold at your earliest convenience. Remember, this is someone you care about and likely loved at one point, so act accordingly.

2.      Sit her down for a talk

For most people, committed relationships start with an honest talk about each person’s feelings and what they’re looking for in a partner, especially with sugar relationships and other situations based on honesty. Doesn’t it make sense that those same relationships should end similarly?

If you’ve been contemplating a breakup for a while now, take advantage of the next opportunity to initiate a serious talk about your relationship. Maybe it’s the next time you’re talking things out after a fight or after it simply comes up in conversation. Be honest and compassionate but firm.

Let her know you’ve been thinking about some things and you’re wondering if maybe the two of you aren’t better off as friends. Then ask her what she thinks to get a dialogue going. With any luck, she’s been having similar thoughts, and your breakup can be at least semi-mutual.

3.      Be prepared to stand firm

You likely have some idea going in whether your sugar baby is experiencing her own frustrations with the relationship and might be ready to break up herself on some level. But you never really know for sure, so it pays to know what you’ll do if she feels blindsided or otherwise doesn’t take it well.

Be clear about why you want to end things, but try to be diplomatic, as well. For example, you may well be ending the relationship because you’re just not attracted to your sugar baby anymore. However, she’d likely take it better if you explained that you’ll always treasure what you’ve shared but that you know it’s time for you to move on.

4.      End things in a way that feels natural

If you’ve read much relationship advice, then you’ve probably heard it said that you should always break up with someone in person without exception. And for the most part, that’s probably true, especially if you had a relationship where you spent all or most of your time hanging out in person.

But it’s also worth considering whether that’s the way that feels most natural for your unique connection. For example, were you in a long-distance relationship that found you communicating most often through instant messages or over the phone? If so, one of those methods makes perfect sense for initiating a breakup conversation with your sugar baby.

Straight-up ghosting is the only real breakup method to avoid at all costs, as it’s both immature and hurtful. But beyond that, just use your best judgment to determine the best course of action.

5.      Stick to your guns

You’ve finally done it. You found the right moment to talk to your sugar baby about wanting to end your connection. Even if it was a challenge, you managed to get your point across in no uncertain terms, and now you’re no longer in a relationship. This is the point at which it’s time to stick to your guns.

If things ended well, resist the urge to jump into a friendship right away. Give each other some space to adjust to the new status quo. And always keep in mind that you wanted to break up for a reason if you find yourself feeling lonely and wondering whether you did the right thing.

At the end of the day, staying in love shouldn’t be hard or feel like a struggle. Sometimes breaking up with your sugar baby truly is what’s best for everyone involved.