“I had dated Isaac for three years, we were living together, and he had sacrificed so much just to be with me and was very much a part of my family. We were deeply in love but he had one problem. Isaac was very violent. Any tiny mistake would spark a very huge fight. As we went on, I realized that I didn’t want to marry him because of that. So I decided that the earlier I ended our relationship, the better.
It was a few weeks before Christmas and I confided in my mother, who insisted that I had to wait until after Christmas to break up with Isaac as he was joining us on our family Christmas holiday. And she thought it would be just too mean.
I did what my mother suggested but Isaac wasn’t stupid and he realized that something was wrong during the holiday. He kept asking what it was, but I didn’t want to upset my family or him and ruin Christmas so I pretended it was all ok.
As soon as we were back home, I told him it was over and, yes, he was upset. But what hurt him most was knowing that I had felt that way for years but still carried on as if nothing was wrong. It was so awful and I decided never again to let convenience or the feelings of family or friends dictate the timing of my relationships,” confessed Anita.
Even in the best relationships, there will come a time when you need to recognize the differences between you, resolve conflict and face up to the fact that your partner isn’t perfect after all. So, what happens when you realize that you don’t love (or even like) this person anymore? What if you can no longer see yourself in a long-term relationship with them? In these cases, the time may well have come to end the relationship.
Ending a relationship is never easy but if you’re in an abusive relationship, you need to take immediate action to preserve your own well-being and find the road to your recovery. It helps to try to do it as soon as possible after you’ve made the decision, because delaying the inevitable can make things worse.
If you have to end a relationship, do it kindly. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would like to be told. Texting is a definite no-no, as is splitting up via email or just changing your status on Facebook. Do it face to face (where possible). If you can’t physically be in the same place, at least do it on the phone so that you can have a two-way conversation.
When it comes to explaining why you want to break up, be clear (and gentle) about your reasons. Clichéd lines like, “it isn’t you – it’s me,” aren’t helpful. Give them an opportunity to ask questions and fully take on board what you are saying. You may have been deciding this for weeks but they may not have seen this conversation coming, so it could take them a little while to get their head around it. You may need to give them time to think about it and then chat again a couple of days later, when they have thought of all the things they want to ask. These are difficult conversations to have but the clearer you can be the easier the break-up will be for both of you.
The worst thing you can do is to give false hope that you may get back together again one day if that is not true. The truth can hurt but lies can hurt even more. I have heard too many stories of people who have told their boyfriend or girlfriend that they just don’t want to get married at the moment or aren’t ready for a big commitment, and then four months down the line they are engaged to someone else.
To sum it up, our advice for splitting up well would simply be: be kind, be clear and be firm. Ending a relationship is never going to be a pleasant experience but if you can keep those three things in mind it will hopefully lessen the pain for you and for the other person.