How to end a relationship for good

Helpful Tips for Knowing When and How to End a Relationship

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  • How should I end a relationship?

Getting over a breakup isn’t easy — and neither is ending a long term relationship. Here are some tips on how to break up and make things easier on you and ex.

What's the best way to break up with someone?

Relationships end for a lot of reasons. Maybe you’re not happy with your partner, or maybe you just don’t want to be in a relationship right now. Whatever the reason, breaking up can be tough. These tips may help:

  • Prepare. Think about what you're going to say in advance. You may even want to practice on a friend or in front of a mirror, or write out your thoughts.

  • Pick the right spot. Talk to your partner somewhere that’s comfortable for both of you. If you’re worried about safety, somewhere public might be the best choice.

  • Say it in person. If you feel safe, talk to your partner face to face. E-mailing, texting, or talking on the phone may sound easier, but it’s usually not the best option. And don’t ask a friend to deliver the news for you.

  • Be respectful. If your partner asks you why you’re breaking up with them, be honest — it could help them have better relationships in the future. But don’t insult them or try to hurt them.

  • Make a clean break. If you really want to be friends, that’s fine. But if you’re just saying “let’s be friends” to let your partner down easier … don’t. It can lead to more hurt feelings. Even if you plan to stay friends, give your partner some space. It may help to take a break from seeing or talking to each other for awhile.  

  • Stick with your decision. If you feel like you’re doing the right thing, don’t let your partner try to convince you to stay together. It’s normal for someone to cry or get upset during a breakup, and that can be really hard to deal with. But feeling bad or guilty isn’t a reason to stay in a relationship.

How can I get over a breakup?

No matter how old you are or how many relationships you’ve been in, getting over a breakup can be really hard. Let yourself be sad, angry, and hurt. Cry, listen to sad music, go for a run, write in your journal — whatever helps you get your feelings out.

Friends or family can be a great support system, and talking it out may make you feel a lot better. If nothing seems to help and you’re feeling depressed, you may want to see a counselor — you can get a referral to one from your local Planned Parenthood health center.  

A few more tips:

Don’t feel like you have to stay friends. It may seem like a way to keep your ex in your life, but it can be really hard to scale a relationship back to a friendship — especially at first. Same goes for being “friends with benefits.”

Making a clean break may be hard to do, but it can help you focus on moving forward. Resist the urge to post bad things about your ex on Facebook or other social media — it can lead to a lot of embarrassment and regret. Finally, try not to feel bad about yourself. Your relationship didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you — or that you’ll never find love again.

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How to Break Up With Someone You Love

Ending a relationship with someone is never easy, as no one wants to tell a person they have loved (and maybe still do) something that will inevitably hurt them. This is especially difficult when you still deeply care about your partner. It's never easy to say goodbye to someone you love—and sometimes deciding how to break up can be more difficult than dealing with these uncertain feelings to begin with.

When you know the end is inevitable, putting off the conversation will only make things harder for both people. So, instead of worrying about the things that could go wrong, we asked relationship experts Sameera Sullivan and Dr. Paulette Sherman to share their advice for moving on (and being fair to the people we care about in the process).

Meet the Expert

  • Sameera Sullivan is a matchmaker and CEO of Lasting Connections.
  • Dr. Paulette Sherman is a psychologist and specialist in romantic relationships. She is a dating coach and author of Dating From the Inside Out.

Ahead, our experts share advice on how to break up with a partner you still love.

Signs It’s Time to Break Up

Considering a break up with someone you care about can be a difficult and painful process. While they may be the perfect partner on paper, it's important to come to terms with the fact that they might not be the perfect partner for you. And just because there aren't any major red flags or indiscretions to push your hand, that doesn't mean that two supportive individuals in a healthy relationship can't outgrow one another. Ultimately, if you're looking outwardly for signs to call it quits or not, chances are you won't find the answers you're looking for. Only reaching inward and being truthful with yourself can help guide you through this crossroad.

If you're still struggling with hearing your intuition, there are some questions you can ask yourself. Do you find that you keep fighting over the same things without any growth or resolution? Are you finding it difficult to be your authentic self around your partner? Are you being pulled in different directions in life (career paths, desires to have children, life stages, lifestyle expectations, etc.) and unwilling to compromise? What is still keeping you in this relationship? If your answers seem to point to all the wrong reasons to be with someone (expectations of others, ego, habit, fears of being alone, etc.), then you may want to rethink your position.

Dos and Don’ts of Breaking Up With Someone You Love

If you've decided to end a long-term relationship, it can feel overwhelming. But there a few things you can do (and not do) to ensure the breakup is kind, honest, and respectful.

Do Put Yourself in Their Position

If you're struggling to decide when or where to break up, put yourself in your partner's position: By thinking about how you'll have the talk ahead of time, you can avoid additional pain and plan for uncomfortable situations.

"What would you want or expect?" Sullivan asks. "Be honest! If the answer is an in-person meeting and a candid explanation, do that. If you've only been dating a few weeks, a phone call might be appropriate."

There's no doubt that these conversations can be difficult, but Sullivan points out that avoiding the breakup is just as damaging. Considering how the other person feels—and how they deal with emotional situations—can help you find the best way to approach the topic without making it harder for them.

"Would you want someone to date you that fully intended on breaking up with you? No. So respect the other person," Sullivan says. "You're not only leading them on and wasting their time; you're doing the same to yourself. People do this for years, and wake up single [and] full of regret after they finally find the 'right time.' If a breakup is inevitable, now is the only right time."

Don't Assign Blame

While your desire to end the relationship might be rooted in your partner's poor behavior, the breakup will only be made worse by assigning the blame. Sherman recommends using "I" statements to prevent the other person from feeling attacked.

"You don't need to go into your every reason for the breakup, but if asked, you can choose a general one to explain your decision," Sherman says. "While some daters may find it helpful to know why the other person chose to break up with them (to have closure or possibly learn from it), others may not want specific details. You can take their lead about this."

Shifting the way you phrase issues in the relationship also makes it harder for your partner to refute. "Communicate what wasn't working from your perspective," Sullivan says. "Use statements that start with 'I'—I felt (blank), I couldn't reconcile (blank), I need to (blank). No one can argue with what you're stating to be true for yourself."

Do Put Thought Into the Location

Choosing a location can be difficult, but it's helpful to break up in a place where you both feel you're on mutual ground. You'll also want to consider whether your partner feels secure to react honestly—a public place with plenty of strangers around won't give them the opportunity to express their feelings comfortably.

"Anticipate the conversation. Will it be heated? Sad? Emotional? Will they react aggressively? Wherever you decide to do it, make sure there's some element of privacy," says Sullivan. "Less privacy is better if you want to keep their reaction under control or if the physical connection is so strong that there's a risk you won't follow through with the conversation."

Sherman points out that breaking up with someone in their home might seem like a good idea, but it can make the conversation harder: "The downside is [that] it might take longer, be more uncomfortable, and could take a more dramatic turn where the other person yells—or doesn't want you to leave afterward."

Don't Lie

It's OK to cushion the blow, but Sullivan cautions against lying about your motivations for the breakup. "Don't lie, but don't be mean," she says. If your partner asks for an explanation, she recommends giving one or two reasons without being too specific. Try to explain your thoughts gently—acknowledge that you don't want the same things or that you handle emotional situations in different ways.

"Please avoid any rendition of, 'It's not you, it's me,'" Sullivan says, noting that it's unproductive for both parties. Make sure the conversation is helpful for your partner: They won't be able to learn from this relationship if they don't know why you were unhappy together.

Do Set Boundaries

Sherman notes that you should also know what not to do before having the tough conversation. A few common mistakes she discusses are ghosting your partner (without telling them it's over) or saying that you want a break when you actually want to cut ties. Once you've told your S.O. that you want to end the relationship, it's crucial to set boundaries.

Discuss whether you want to be contacted by your new ex in the future. It can be difficult to navigate the days and weeks following the breakup, but Sherman says that physical contact should be avoided: "The biggest mistake you can make during a breakup is to have breakup sex with the [other] person."

If you have shared social events coming up, discuss who will (or won't) attend to ensure both people feel comfortable.

Don't Assume All Responsibility

Feeling hurt is an inevitable part of breaking up, but Sullivan says it's crucial to mentally separate yourself from the situation and gain perspective. "Very often, [people are] convinced that the end of the relationship will somehow cause the other person to spiral out of control," she says. "Maybe it will, and maybe it won't; consider that these issues exist outside of the relationship."

Even when your partner is having a tough time accepting the breakup, you still need to prioritize your own health and well-being. "One thing to keep in mind, before you make their issues your issues, is that you're breaking up for—drumroll—you. You're prioritizing your well-being, mental health, and future."

It's easy to become so worried about a breakup that you put it off indefinitely, but remember what's best for you. By making a plan, considering your partner's feelings, and knowing what you expect moving forward, you can eliminate some of the unknown elements that might make you avoid the conversation. Although it may feel difficult right now, moving on is a way to help yourself—and your partner—start fresh.

Moving on From a Breakup With Someone You Still Love

As if getting over a breakup wasn't hard enough, getting over someone you still care about can prove even more trying. While it may take a bit longer, it's important to note that the same general principles apply and, most importantly, you will be able to move on.

If there are any negative feelings of grief or sadness, don't push them away. This is never effective and will only cause you more distress down the line. Sit in awareness of your emotions and feel all there is to feel, without allowing them to overwhelm you. Seeking the help of a therapist can be very supportive through this process.

Once you're ready, begin rebuilding your life by focusing on yourself and reaching out to friends and family. Focus on creating new experiences that will breathe new excitement and vibrancy into your life. Get curious, try new things, and find new hobbies. Eventually, you'll feel restored, replenished, and ready to love again.

20 Feel-Good Movies to Mend the Post-Breakup Blues

How to properly end a relationship that has ceased to bring joy

January 10, 2017Relationships

A happy ending is an obligatory attribute of children's fairy tales, but in life everything is much more prosaic. We often find ourselves hostage to our love stories. And you just have to learn how to end complex and difficult relationships on time with minimal losses for both partners.



In an episode of the cult relationship series Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw is suddenly dumped by one of her many men. No explanation, just a yellow apology sticker. Even if you have not watched this series and this is the first time you hear about Carrie, this story has an important message: leaving without explanation is bad (Brodsky's or Akhmatova's poems on the sticker still do not count).

Yes, sometimes it is necessary to end a relationship, and for both parties. This will not only help the one who decided to leave, but also give the second person a chance to free themselves from one-sided attachment in time and meet their true love.

Recognizing the problem is the first step to solving it.

Don't think that you are unique and the first to encounter a similar problem. From time to time, many of us find ourselves hostage to our own relationships. Ties begin to press like a heavy stone, do not allow you to breathe deeply. Sometimes you really want to get rid of this oppression in order to stop breaking the wings of yourself and your partner and finally start living alone.

And yes, there is nothing wrong with the fact that the startup of your love did not take off. Find the strength in yourself to recognize this in order to move on. In love, as in business, there are failures.

Of course, there are some signals that the Rubicon has been crossed and it is time to end the love story. Analyze your relationship, deal with yourself and your desires. And make a decision.

The longer we turn to memories and think about the past (that is, we think about what no longer exists and will not happen), the further we ourselves push back the real prospects for a happy future. Besides, if everything was really smooth and perfect in your relationship, you would hardly be reading this article now, right?

Don't delay: better now than later

The ideal moment for breaking up will not come, don't console yourself with hopes. There is no right time for anything in life. If things are really bad, the rule works: "The sooner the better."

Give your partner the opportunity to meet a person who will truly love him.

Let's be honest: don't pull too hard. At stake are the chances of not becoming that “goat who sailed for years, but never married.” So don't let me down.

How not to do it

Real life story. I have a very smart and very beautiful girlfriend who for several years met with an equally smart and handsome guy. The guys could easily act in any American film about couples in love, where all the characters and, of course, their relationship is ideal.

One day this guy was going to his friend's house for a bachelor party. It wasn't a surprise and no one was against a weekend with friends.

The young man kissed his girlfriend before leaving and promised to miss him very much, and already from the taxi to the airport wrote to her to look in the closet for “something”. Nothing foreshadowed trouble, and the girl happily suggested that she had been given a nice surprise.

It really wasn't without a surprise. A discreet letter was waiting in the closet, in which the guy calmly announced that he had fallen out of love and it was over. He told the now ex-girlfriend to take out all the things before he returned. Well, yes, he already asked a friend to feed the cat.

This is a very cruel scenario for breaking up a relationship. You can't do that.

How best to talk about the decision to break up

It would seem that in a world where gadgets and social networks rule the ball, there are many good creative ways to end a relationship. Send an SMS with a sad emoticon or a sticker with a deep meaning in Telegram, change your Facebook* status from "In a relationship" to "Single", write an email with the subject "I'm leaving", after all! New realities and modern technologies really offer a wide range of contexts for human communication. But it's not that simple.

Researchers of modern communications believe that people choose different types of communication (telephone, e-mail, Skype, and so on) depending on what emotions they want to convey at a particular moment.

Maybe there is some way to use technology to break up painlessly?

Can I limit myself to SMS?

No. No messenger can replace a live heart-to-heart conversation. Do not forget that emoticons and stickers in messages hide real people with real emotions, and the process of parting with you can be much more difficult for them than for you.

Respect the person you loved. Treat your partner with sympathy, if only out of a sense of gratitude for everything experienced together.

Remember: the more seriously a person took these relationships and the more he invested in them, the more difficult and painful it will be for him that everything is over, the more difficult it will be for him to recover.

Have the courage to look your partner in the eye and voice what is going on between you. Give thanks for everything that was.

Maybe not all is lost? After all, sometimes over the years of a relationship, feelings become a little dull and we sometimes forget how much we love someone.

In principle, there are two scenarios:

  1. You discuss problems and start doing something together to kindle an extinct fire.
  2. You act decisively and part ways.

Never humiliate anyone

Never go too far and do not insult. If at parting you say a bunch of nasty things to your girlfriend or young man, you will give rise to a bunch of complexes in her or him. And your life won't get any better. (By the way, if you do this, most likely you have complexes. )

Put all the blame on yourself. Like, honey, you are very good and generally beautiful, I’m just a complicated guy with my cockroaches and I will always be like that. Or say something about Prince Charming and your complex relationship with your own inner world.

Of course, we remember that in a problematic relationship, both partners are always to blame. But if you decide to leave when it's not expected at all, it's better to say that it's about you. So it will be easier for the partner to recover from parting, but do you remember that we are responsible for those we have tamed?

When leaving, leave

If you decide to leave, then do it irrevocably, once and for all. Don't give too much hope if you're just bored.

You don't have to write to your ex-girlfriend out of nowhere if it suddenly seems to you that beautiful snow has fallen outside the window. You don’t need to send a photo of yourself in a swimsuit to an abandoned guy, because they suddenly remembered how they went to the sea together.

Leave him or her alone and give him a chance to live his life.

Constantly appearing in the life of a former partner, but not wanting to be with him, is extremely selfish and not very nice of you. Love can also be an addiction. Have you ever seen alcoholics advised to drink red wine once a week, or drug addicts to take small doses of coke?

Today, contactless payments are gaining popularity. So, friends, not only payments should be contactless. The first time after your breakup should be just that. Studies confirm that people who do not come into contact with former lovers recover faster after a breakup. Are you a good person and do not want to harm?

Will everything be all right?

Mandatory. All the characters in the play

Just please don't try to be friends with someone you're leaving. At first, for sure. Remember: psychologists are convinced that intergender friendships without a love story are much better than those relationships that can be built with an ex-partner.

Feel free to look for new friends and girlfriends to share news with them and send each other selfies, and leave your understanding, but already former soulmate alone.

*Activities of Meta Platforms Inc. and its social networks Facebook and Instagram are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation.

5 bad and 5 good ways to end a relationship

There is such a phenomenon of "contact and tracking a partner after the end of the affair." It turned out that after a bad breakup, former lovers closely monitor each other's lives, regularly contact and communicate, thereby preventing them from building new relationships. So how can you end a relationship? And how to end them with the least suffering?

In most cases of separation, both parties suffer. The initiator of the gap may be tormented by guilt. The one who is abandoned feels resentment or despair, even if he does not admit it. Many are tormented by questions: “What did I do wrong? What if I behaved differently? The constant replaying of different situations in your head drives you into a dead end and does not help you get over what happened faster.

Many people want to do everything quickly and announce their decision suddenly, without any preparation. They literally want to "tear off the band-aid" from the wound. Will she heal faster this way? In fact, this only leads to the formation of scars that will prevent both partners from deciding on a new relationship.

Some people simply disappear once and for all without any explanation. This method seems to be correct if the partners are not bound by marriage or financial obligations. However, it can also cause trust issues in the future.

True intimacy implies the ability to communicate confidentially with the chosen one. Therefore, it is wise to talk to your partner and admit that your relationship has outlived its usefulness or is coming to a logical end. Tell us what makes you feel unhappy and what has changed in your life since the "candy-bouquet" period. This will help both you and your partner in the next relationship to avoid unpleasant mistakes. But try not to place the blame for the breakup on either yourself or your partner.

Professor Charlene Belou from the University of New Brunswick has done an interesting study on the impact of a painful breakup on later life. She asked 271 students (two-thirds girls, one-third young men) to describe their most embarrassing breakup and current relationship with this person. The results of the study made it possible to formulate advice for those who have decided to leave their partner.

5 bad ways to end a relationship. What should not be done?

1. Disappear

It's a bad idea to leave in English without saying goodbye or explaining anything. Such a gap leaves a feeling of uncertainty. Respect the feelings of the person you loved, if only out of gratitude for everything experienced together.

2. Taking the blame

There are two people involved in a relationship. Therefore, it is foolish and wrong to blame yourself for everything. At first, it sounds fake, like you just want to get it over with quickly. Secondly, the partner will not work on the mistakes and will not change his behavior in the next novel.

3. Blaming your partner for everything

If you say a bunch of nasty things in parting, you will give rise to a lot of complexes in a person. You should also not complain about the former chosen one to mutual friends. This puts both them and you in an awkward position. Don't force them to take sides.

4. Persecute

Intrusion into the life of a former partner after the end of a relationship only prevents you from moving on. So try not to go to his page on social networks and not get news from mutual friends. And remember that calling at night after a couple of glasses to "talk heart to heart" has not made anyone happier. Constantly appearing in the life of an ex-partner, but not wanting to be with him, is extremely selfish.

5. Fantasize about “what if I had not…”

It is wrong to think that if you behaved differently in this or that situation, you would be together now. One mistake doesn't often lead to a breakup. An exception is perhaps situations of treason.

5 steps to help you break up on good terms

1. Prepare the ground

The experience of psychoanalysts proves that the element of surprise makes the breakup more painful. Both you and your partner will need time to prepare for the change.

2. Divide the blame in half

Tell what your partner's behavior led to this ending, but don't forget to mention your own mistakes.

3. Maintain Dignity

Don't wash your dirty clothes in public and don't tell everyone about your ex's bad habits and other personal moments.

4. Set boundaries for communication

Agree whether you want to remain friends, go to each other's birthday parties or help with some household issues. If you have joint property, you will definitely have to contact in order to divide it.

5. Tune in to the best

Nothing in life goes unnoticed. Think about what you can learn from what happened and thank your partner for all the joyful moments you had.

Learn more