8

Which possibilities are there to say to break up in context of human relations?

Maybe there are alternatives to разводиться which have a slightly different emphasis. I'm just asking, because разводиться sounds a bit "active", but I might be mistaken.

6

"Разводиться-развестись" is "to get divorced"

I would translate "to break up" as "расходиться-разойтись":

Че́рез пять лет отноше́ний они́ разошли́сь. After five years of relations they broke up.

There is a colloquial synonym of "расходиться-разойтись" which is "разбегаться-разбежаться":

Ну что́, вы уже разбежа́лись и́ли ещё вме́сте? So, have you already broken up or are you still together?

  • Is there a phrase which has the relationship as subject, like in the relationship went to pieces? – user3538 Jul 8 '14 at 7:12
  • 1
    You may say, for instance, "отношения полностью разрушились". – RussianTeacher Jul 8 '14 at 7:20
  • 1
    You may use "отношения развалились", though it is a bit graphic :) I mean, not the most delicate metaphor, more of a harsh truth. – Shady_arc Jul 8 '14 at 7:21
10

I would consider расстаться a more commonly used translation in context of dating couples (as opposed to married people):

- Мы расстались. 
  • I second this -- this is the word my Russian friend used to refer to his break-up (Мы давно расстались) – Chill2Macht Sep 1 '16 at 4:32
6

When talking about couples breaking up, it's common to use verb расстаться:

Я расстался со своей бывшей прошлым летом.
I broke up with my ex last summer.

Yet, the context is important here, as the same verb may be used to describe a short-term temporary separation:

Мы вышли из дома вместе и расстались на автобусной остановке [до вечера].
We came out of the house together and parted ways at the bus stop [until evening].

1

If you are looking for a more passive sounding phrase, you can just say «перестали встречаться». Although it probably would not be as useful in cases where people actually got married and then broke up «расстались» would be an alternative (as is already pointed out in Hardex's answer).

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