The end of a relationship can be messy if not handled with extra care. No matter how bad the situation is, there is always that irrational belief that if we hold on a little bit longer, things will change. It is true that things can change if both parties put in the work, but sometimes some relationships have hit their expiry dates and nothing can put them back together. It is possible to end a relationship without causing each other too much damage. Some exes have even gone on to become lifelong friends. Here is how to break up the right way.

Do not delay the inevitable

Even in the best relationships, there comes a time when you need to recognize the differences between you, resolve conflict and face up to the fact that your partner is not perfect after all. So, what happens when you realize that you do not 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 right thing to do is end the relationship immediately. Taking immediate action will preserve your own well-being and set you both on your recovery journeys. Delaying the inevitable can make things worse. Your partner will feel gaslit when they discover that you had been planning the breakup for long while lying to them about what you felt. Do it now, the sooner the better.

Be kind

Even if you had disagreements remember this is still the person who brought you so much joy. They are the same people you loved and cared for, so the intention is not to hurt them but to start different lives. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would like to be told. Texting is a definite no-no, as is sending an email or just changing your status on Facebook. Do it face to face (where possible).  If you cannot physically be in the same place, at least do it on the phone so that you can have a two-way conversation.

Be clear

When it comes to explaining why you want to break up, be clear (and gentle) about your reasons. Clichéd lines such as, “it isn’t you – it’s me,” are downright offensive.  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 few 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.

Be decisive

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 partners that they are not ready for marriage for a big commitment, only to marry someone else only four months down the line. Keeping people in the dark is selfish; you are either with them or you are not, it cannot be both.  

To sum it up, when ending a relationship simply be kind, clear and 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.


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