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50 Ways to Leave Your Lover: How to Say Goodbye When It is Over

Updated on April 3, 2015

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

Paul Simon wrote 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover in 1975 on his album Still Crazy After All These Years. In an interview published in Rock Lives: Profiles and Interviews, Paul called it a “nonsense song.”

Paul Simon's song, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, can inspire all of us in the art of saying "It's over."
Paul Simon's song, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, can inspire all of us in the art of saying "It's over." | Source

Yet, the understated tune, the rhythmic beat, and the emotional lyrics turned it into a hit. The lyrics spoke to us because we have all experienced the pain of a romantic break-up.

The song begins, “’The problem is all inside your head,’ she said to me.” The “she” in this song is a mistress who is getting tired of the excuses her lover gives about why he can’t leave his wife. She’s saying that it is not that hard to do--just make a clean break.

Another interpretation is that a woman is telling her husband to get out, but he doesn’t want to leave. She’s pushing him out the door saying, ”Go, Go Go! Just go!”

Paul wrote this song shortly after his divorce from his first wife, Peggy Walker. Was he writing from experience?

Although the song promises us fifty ways to leave your lover, it only gives five ways. They are:

1. Slip out the back, Jack

2. Make a new plan, Stan

3. Don’t be coy, Roy

4. Hop on the bus, Gus

5. Drop off the key, Lee

I will now pick up where Paul Simon left off and give the other 45 ways to leave your lover.

Let Paul Simon's song be your background music as you read on.

Rhyming Names

Here are a few more that continue with the name-rhyming theme that Paul Simon uses.

6. You gotta go, Joe

7. There’s the door, Lenore

8. Take the train, Wayne

9. Take a ride, Clyde

10. Get on a plane, Elaine

11. Take a hike, Mike

12. We’re through, Drew

13. I want you gone, John

14. Time to scram, Sam

15. Go to Hell, Belle

Nice but Sarcastic

We could say something nice, but with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

16. It’s been nice knowing you.

17. It’s been fun.

18. Have a nice life.

Nice and Easy

We could try to be nice about it. But be warned, this will likely get you involved in a long messy discussion.

19. It’s not you, it’s me.

20. We need to take a break.

21. It's just not working out..

22. We’re just not right for each other.

Often people will say "it's not you, it's me" when they want to get out of a relationship.
Often people will say "it's not you, it's me" when they want to get out of a relationship. | Source

Loud and Clear

Sometimes you just need to say it loud and clear.

23. I’m outta here. (You’re outta here.)

24. I’m packing it in. (Pack it in.)

25. I’m done. (You’re done.)

26. I’m cashing out. (Time to cash out.)

27. I’m hitting the road.(Hit the road)

28. Get out of town.


Sometimes you may have to get a bit nasty. You gotta do what you gotta do. I’m not judging.

29. Take a long walk off a short pier.

30. Jump in the lake.

31. Go fly a kite.

32. You’re dead to me.

33. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

34. We had a few laughs, but now it’s over

With Vulgarity

A little bit of vulgarity can help assure your soon-to-be ex knows that you really mean it.

35. Don’t let the door hit you, where the good Lord split you.

36. Get the f@#& out of my life.

With Slang

There is a certain jauntiness to using a slang expression as an exit line.

37. 23 skiddoo

38. Skedaddle

39. I’m splitting

40. It’s splitsville

41. See you later, alligator.

42. I’m going, going, gone.

How many hearts have been broken just because these words were spoken.
How many hearts have been broken just because these words were spoken. | Source


Something Victorian sounds more like a Valentine than a brush-off, but it gets the job done.

43. Fare thee well.


Sometimes an allusion can take the sting out of a good-bye.

44. Bye Bye Blackbird. A song published in 1926 by the American composer Ray Henderson and lyricist Mort Dixon.

45. Years from now, when you speak of this, and you will, be kind. The final line from a 1953 play by Robert Anderson. It was later made into a movie. The wife of a college instructor helps a young student by becoming his lover when the other boys accuse him of being a homosexual.

46. Cry me a river. A bluesy ballad written by Arthur Hamilton, first published in 1953 and made famous in a 1955 Julie London recording. In the song, a woman rebuffs a former lover who hurt her by rejecting her. She tells him “cry me a river because I cried a river over you.”

47. Get thee to a nunnery. In Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, the protagonist, Hamlet, tells Orhelia to go to a nunnery when he tires of her attentions. In Shakespeare's time, a brothel was sometimes referred to as a nunnery. Was there a double entendre here?

86 the loser

48. You're 86'd.

Establishments that serve adult beverages, commonly known as bars or taverns, will sometimes tell a patron who has had too much to drink or who is not behaving well, that he is 86’d. It means that he is being told to leave. Where did that term come from?

There are about a dozen different explanations for the term. The one I like best is that 86 is rhyming slang for “nix,” a word which means to refuse, to forbid, or to say “no” to.

However, many will swear that it goes back to the days of Prohibition. In New York City, there was a speakeasy called Chumley’s located at 86 Bedford Street. The main entrance was not on Bedford Street, but through a courtyard. When the police planned a raid, the cops who were on the take from the bar would phone and warn the bartender of the upcoming raid. The bartender would then shout out “86 everybody,” and everyone would leave through the door on Bedford Street because the police would be entering through the courtyard door.

One of the best exit lines ever: "We'll always have Paris."
One of the best exit lines ever: "We'll always have Paris." | Source

The best exit lines ever

49. We’ll always have Paris.

This is from the movie Casablanca. It’s a sentimental and loving parting.

Rick (played by Humphrey Bogart) is trying to persuade Ilsa (played by Ingrid Bergman) that she must leave Casablanca without him. It is during World War II, and he wants her to board a plane with Victor, her husband..

Rick says,“Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

“Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that.”

50. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

The second one is from the1939 movie “Gone with the Wind.” It’s an angry and brutal parting.

It takes place in Atlanta, Georgia, during the Civil War. Scarlett O’Hara (played by Vivian Leigh) has been manipulating Rhett Butler (played by Clark Gable) over the ten years of their tumultuous relationship. He’s finally decided to leave her. As he walks toward the door, Scarlett throws herself at him and begs him to stay. “Where shall I go? “What shall I do? He turns on his heels and utters his famous parting line.

I tried to make you laugh; here is the real scoop.

It's Over!: How To End A Relationship And Feel Good About Yourself
It's Over!: How To End A Relationship And Feel Good About Yourself

Sensible, practical, and compelling device about how to end a relationship and get on with your life.


Bonus: Say it in a foreign language.

Things just don’t sound as bad when you say it in a foreign language. You need to be careful with this because sometimes you may think you are saying goodbye, but you are really only saying “until we meet again.” Also, sometimes the word for “goodbye” is the same as the word for "hello." Just be sure your tone of voice leaves no doubt that you mean “goodbye.”

How to Say Goodbye in 12 Different Languages

Adios / Hasta la vista
Adieu / Au revoir
Ciao / Arrivederci
Tschuss / Auf Wiedersehen
Poka / Do svidaniya
Zai jian
As-salaamu 'alaykum

One thing you should never say.

One thing you should never say is “I want to see other people.” Really? Unless the person saying this is bi-sexual or bi-curious, the person probably has a specific gender in mind. “People” is a cop-out. Just come out and say it-- you want to replace your lover.

Take this poll just for fun?

Have you ever used any of the above ways to leave a lover?

See results

© 2015 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments. Do you have any ways to leave your lover to add?

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    • word55 profile image


      3 years ago from Chicago

      It's all good Catherine. Just wanted to share a true point of view.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Rakim Cheeks: Relationships are hard. Remember, the 50 ways to leave your lover is just a joke, not a recommendation. I think I sometimes tried to hard to keep a relationship going; other times, I did not try hard enough. Thanks for your comment.

    • Rakim Cheeks profile image

      Rakim Cheeks 

      3 years ago

      You're right. Catherine! To be candid with you, most people aren't willing to perserve through their relationships. Therefore, it leaves them to break up, and go their separate ways

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      word55: My 50 ways to leave your lover was written as a joke, not serious advice. I hope you got a chuckle. Thanks for your comment.

    • word55 profile image


      3 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Catherine, you had me bobbing and weaving to the music of P Simon again. You went very deep with this one. You may have never heard of my way, before, but I'll get right to the point. Since God allowed me into the relationship then I also look for Him to allow me out of it. In other words, it is always His call. I must admit that I have learned better from every relationship I've been in. It was good while it lasted but when I feel it's time to end it, I pray to the Lord to provide a mutual way out. That way, it's possible to rekindle, what was once, fire. Otherwise, we can be friends and it is easier to move on.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      travmaj: Thanks for your comment. Yes, I was making light of a subject that can be very painful. Nowadays, people break it off with a text message or maybe an email. In the HBO series "Sex in the City" a guy broke up with Carrie using a post-it note. How quaint that seems now in the age of texts.

    • travmaj profile image


      3 years ago from australia

      A serious subject I guess but these were fun, and made me smile.

      I agree, I'm long out of this dating world. Can't help feeling sad for younger people - I mean there is no possible way of making it hurt less. No point saying 'hey, forget him/her, plenty more fish in the sea. You'll find someone better.' No, just bite the tongue and watch it happen. Oh, what complex creature we are. I still like Clark Gable - Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Great list Catherine.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Rakim Cheeks: Since I'm very unlikely to have to deal with a breakup, I can just have fun with this. Paul Simon promised us 50 ways to leave your lover, and I finally, 40 years later, delivered on his promise.

    • Rakim Cheeks profile image

      Rakim Cheeks 

      3 years ago

      I agree. I'm glad to be out of the dating world myself. It's not stressful, and I can do what I want to do.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Ramkin Cheeks: When I wanted to break up with someone, I'd start to behave badly, and then he would break up with me and I wouldn't have to be the bad guy. I'm glad to be out of the dating world.

    • Rakim Cheeks profile image

      Rakim Cheeks 

      3 years ago

      Personally, I always hated breaking up with the person that I truly loved. However, 43 relates to me the most because I was trapped with allusions myself

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      That's a good one, FlourishAnyway. Since my title limits me to 50, I may have to make some changes at some point. I'm getting some suggestions, like yours, that are too good to leave out. Thanks for your comment.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      "I don't see this going anywhere." I always hated the break up talks. So awkward.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      billybuc: Oh, it happens to the best of us. But, as I know from reading your hubs, the right woman did say yes. Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you found it clever.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very clever and quite funny, Catherine. I do believe I've used a few of these, but usually they were used against me. :)

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I had to limit myself to 50, so I couldn't do everything. I didn't think of the one you mentioned. It is a good one.

      Thanks for the heads up on the typo. I couldn't sleep so I got up around 5 am. It took over 8 hours to do this. (The pictures take 2-3 hours.) By the time I get to the final task, proofing, I'm bleary eyed. And I totally can't proof anyway.

      I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was meant to be fun, not serious.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      3 years ago from SW England

      This is a great list of ideas. I've had situations I've had to say something but it's been long-winded; never as easy as any of these!

      Another one I've heard of often is, 'You'll find someone better than me' or 'I'm not good enough for you.' This is probably true!

      You have such a range of writing in your hubs, all well-written and exceptionally readable.

      I've enjoyed catching up with your work this evening.


      PS: I think you'll find a little typo in number 25.


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