Love Better

We Asked ChatGPT How to Break-Up with Someone

And then we asked a psychologist what it got right. 

We’ve all had our adventures with AI – from psychotic DALL-E generated images (think Yoda working as a waiter, or Mario fighting in World War 1), realistic copycat portraits in the style of famous paintings, and most recently, the instantaneous ramblings of ChatGPT. 

ChatGPT, the AI-powered writing generator created by Microsoft that went live earlier this year, uses information from all over the internet to answer to its human masters. It can answer questions, tell jokes, write creatively and collate research.


It’s terrifying. 

Can ChatGPT replace artists? Can ChatGPT write a symphony? Is ChatGPT ethical? All logical questions in the face of a complete artificial intelligence takeover. But we had some extra questions, too, like whether or not ChatGPT could provide reasonable, expert-approved advice when it comes to break-ups. So we asked it.

Oh, and then we asked registered psychologist Heath Hutton to review the AI generated advice and tell us what it got right. 

Here’s how it went down. 

VICE: How do you break up with someone?

ChatGPT: Reflect on your decision: Before initiating a breakup, take the time to reflect on your feelings and make sure you're certain about your decision.

Psychologist approved? Yes. 

Hutton adds that “before making the final decision to break-up, I would also suggest that it could be helpful seeking advice from an external person, such as a counsellor or couples therapist, to process any issues and see if these could be resolved. However this path should only be taken if you are open to the possibility of the relationship continuing.” 

ChatGPT: Choose the right time and place: Find an appropriate time and place to have a private conversation with your partner. Avoid public or crowded spaces where either of you might feel uncomfortable or pressured.

Psychologist approved? Almost, although the advice doesn’t consider unsafe relationships where a public space may actually be the best choice. 


“Your safety is a very important consideration and people can react differently to break-ups. It could be necessary to let someone close to you know where you are going. what you are doing, and what time you expect to be home, and what they should do if you are uncontactable”, Hutton told VICE.

ChatGPT: Be honest and direct: When you speak with your partner, be honest about your feelings and reasons for wanting to end the relationship. Clearly communicate that you have made up your mind and that you no longer wish to continue the relationship.

Psychologist approved? Yes. 

ChatGPT: Be respectful and empathetic: While it's important to be honest, it's equally important to be considerate of your partner's feelings. Show empathy and try to understand how they might feel. Avoid blame or criticism, and focus on expressing your own feelings rather than attacking them.

Psychologist approved? Yes. 

As Hutton suggests: “If you focus on your feelings rather than the other person's actions, then there will be less room for conflict and you are focusing on your experience rather than attributing blame for the breakdown of the relationship. If you focus on their behaviours then you are inviting dialogue about this and disagreement is likely.” 

ChatGPT: Listen actively: Give your partner an opportunity to express their feelings and thoughts about the break-up. Be attentive and listen, without interrupting. This can help them process their emotions and give you both closure.

Psychologist approved? Yes.


ChatGPT: Set boundaries: Discuss how you both would like to handle the break-up. Establish clear boundaries and expectations for communication and interaction moving forward. It's important to be clear about whether you want to remain friends or have no contact at all.

Psychologist approved? Yes.  

Hutton also adds that it’s “important to consider how you will navigate shared friendships, hobbies, or other times or places where you will see each other.” 

ChatGPT: Give each other space: After the break-up, it's essential to give yourselves time and space to heal and move on. Avoid contacting each other immediately, as this can prolong the healing process or create confusion.

Psychologist approved? Yes.  

Hutton told VICE, “you could agree on a follow-up meeting, if you felt safe and comfortable to do so. This could enable full closure and a chance for your ex-partner to clarify anything or express anything they would like to. This could increase the likelihood of this being a positive and healthy break-up and mean that it is less likely that there will be further conflict or unresolved issues that could affect you later on” 

“It is important to keep this in balance with the clear boundaries you have set above. It is also important that this meeting doesn't turn into a re-litigation or long discussion about the reasons for the break-up - you are not responsible to provide anything further but it can be compassionate and helpful to provide a brief explanation to any unresolved questions your ex-partner may have.” 


ChatGPT: Remember, breaking up with someone is never easy, but being honest, respectful, and compassionate can help make the process a little smoother for both parties involved."

So what’s the overall take on ChatGPT’s break-up advice? 

While the advice is pretty solid across the board, Hutton does note that it has a few blind spots and isn’t to be followed word-for-word without considering the nuances of your situation.  

“It's important to generally consider if there are any shared finances, employment, assets such as houses or cars, or more importantly children,” he said. 

“If any of these things are involved it would be important to get professional advice before discussing breaking-up with a partner. 

It lacks a full consideration of safety, which is an important consideration, especially if there has been any history of volatility, or angry or violent reactions to things in the past. This would be especially important if there has been a history of abuse or violence. It could be necessary to seek professional support, or support from someone you trust to enable a safe break-up.” 

So can ChatGPT be trusted? For the most part, yes. The wise words of the AI are gathered from hundreds of thousands of articles that have been written by real, informed people. But every situation is different and no break-up advice will be as good as the advice that comes from professionals, friends and family who know you well, understand the ins and outs of your situation and are able to be honest, fair and supportive. 


So maybe keep AI as your go-to for generating images of LeBron playing a tiny piano, and stick to real life advice when it comes to romance. 

Own the Feels is brought to you by #LoveBetter, a campaign funded by the Ministry for Social Development.

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Rachel Barker is a writer / producer at VICE NZ in Aotearoa. You can find her @rachellydiab on IG and Letterboxd and see her film criticism on Youtube