The divorce rate in the United States is around 50%. That means that 1 out of ever 2 marriages will fail. That doesn’t even take into account long term relationships that end. Although most people don’t want to admit it when they are “in love,” the odds are good that the relationship they value so much will ultimately fail.
You might be in one of those failing relationships and feel terrible about it. It’s because most relationships don’t end in a giant, angry fight. They fall apart over time, as both partners move in different direction, lose attraction, and pursue differing goals.
I’m often asked by frustrated men and women how to end a long term relationship. After all, there are many ways to do it and not all are productive. Some lead to misery and anger for both parties. Others are unfair and cowardly for the person being dumped.
This article will give you tips to break off a long term relationship in a way that helps you move forward and also allows your partner to leave with some dignity.
Decide Your True Feelings
If you’re going to end a long term relationship, it’s important that you truly want to make that decision. Perhaps you’re in a rough patch. Maybe you fail to see the good in your partner. Either way, ending it is a big decision and you most likely can’t go back. Make sure it’s the right choice.
I recommend using decisional balancing, a technique where you weigh the pros and cons of each choice. Then, knowing all the good and bad of both options, you pick which one you truly want. This way, you can make an informed decision.
This decisional balance worksheet is a good resource. Fill this out and think seriously about what you truly want to do.
Get Your Life In Order
If you’ve been with your partner for awhile, the chances are good that the two of you became dependent on each other to at least some degree. This is especially the case if you are married to the person or have shared obligations (like on a lease together).
If you’re going to end a long term relationship, make sure you’ve gotten your life in order to a degree. Once you leave, you might need to get your own car, home, and split up shared bills. Unless you’re in a dangerous scenario and need to leave instantly, make sure you’ve looked into all this before you cut the cord.
On an emotional and social level, you might not have many individual friends, especially if you’ve focused your time and energy on your partner and relationship. So, you might want to reconnect with friends and family before you break up, so that when you end it you can have a softer landing.
Do It In Person
If you’re in a long term relationship you want to break off, remember there are two typical scenarios. The first is when the relationship just falls apart and the second is when the relationship is abusive, argumentative, and toxic.
If your partner and you are still friends and get along, then it’s best to end it in person, rather than by text or phone call. It’s not only polite, but it gives you and your partner a sense of cloture. In addition, you’ll have to possibly workout details, like getting your stuff back. Only do this if you feel safe, of course!
If the relationship is toxic and abusive, don’t follow the advice in this part of the article. Instead, seek help from family, friends, and even law enforcement. They can facilitate you getting your stuff. Or, if you’re extremely scared, they can set you up with a shelter and a protection order. If you think your partner will flip and become violent, don’t take any chances!
Have Someone On Standby
Even if you trust your partner not to get angry or violent, it’s still a good thing to tell a friend or family member what you’re doing. That way, if something were to happen, another person knows where you are and can help if needed. This is just a precaution, but better safe than sorry.
What To Say
Knowing what to say is usually the most difficult part of breaking off a long term relationship. You’ll have lots of conflicting feelings when trying to break it off with someone. You might feel sadness for your partner. Perhaps you feel guilty for doing it. Maybe, you’re anxious because you don’t like confrontation.
When you have “the talk” with your soon to be former partner, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
When you break it off, you should try to be as honest as possible. Let your partner know that it isn’t working, you feel love, but need to move on, you have different goals, etc. It’s important for your partner to have a degree of cloture.
Keep It Concise
While you do want to give your partner a brief explanation, you don’t want to ramble either. Figure out what you’re going to say in advance and stick to the script for the most part. While breaking up is sad for all involved, you don’t owe anyone a giant explanation.
Don’t Drag It Out
When you end your long term relationship, your ex might want to drag out the breakup by asking questions, crying, begging you to stay, etc. But, you don’t have to put up with that or answer questions. It’s a sad situation, but you’re under no obligation to stick around and have a discussion. If you want to, go for it. Otherwise, say your information, get your stuff, and move on with your life.
Just Do It
The most important tip related to knowing how to end a long term relationship is to “just do it.” If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and know in your gut that you’re miserable, and need to be free, then you just have to develop the courage to do it.
Many people stick around in bad or mediocre relationships because they fear getting out of their comfort zone, hurting their partner’s feelings, or worry about how they will survive. But, if you know you have a support network and that you need to end the relationship, sometimes you just have to make that first uncomfortable step and do it!
It’s never easy, but prolonging the process rarely makes it better. In fact, it just delays the inevitable and stops both you and your partner from moving on.
This guide should help you end that relationship. It’s never easy, but having the tools and tips to do it can help a lot. Best of luck! I hope it goes well.