Breakups are never fun. They can feel slow or they can feel abrupt. It often depends on whether you are the one being “left” or if you are the one doing the leaving. Those are completely differently experiences. These tips are being given from the point of view of the lover who wishes to end the relationship in the hopes of creating a less painful ending for both parties. The initiator of a relationship split holds a great deal of power.
How that person handles the communication around a needing to leave can deeply impact how gracefully the exit can go — and even if a friendship can remain. Here are some tips about ending a relationship gracefully. You know, about that moment when you draw the line in the sand and say, “I’m done.”
“True love doesn’t have a happy ending, because true love never ends. Letting go is one way of saying, ‘I love you’.” — Author Unknown
1. Sit down and write as many things you can think of about the person that made you want to be with them. Having trouble? Write at least three.
2. Write at least 10 things about this person that brought you happiness and joy. What attracted you to them?
3. Before ending the relationship, sit quietly with yourself and write out all the pros and cons on staying or going. What will you miss? What are you ready to let go of? Are you really ready to let go of this relationship or is it possible to re-negotiate?
4. Think about the person you are leaving. Imagine how they are going to feel about you wanting to end your lovership with them. This matters a lot. Think compassionately. If it was you — what words would you like to hear? How would you like to hear the words? Would it be in person? On the phone? Skype? Email? Would you like to hear first about all the beauty and goodness that you brought into their lives? Would you like to hear about how you made a difference? Think about starting with the love and the goodness. Offer a lot of appreciation and honor your lover by giving them your complete presence.
5. Be clear about what is not working. Express your needs. Do you need to move on? Is there a way to rework the relationship so it doesn’t have to end? If you need to completely separate from the other person, be willing to listen to the reaction of the person being left.
6. Don’t engage in fighting. Avoid getting “people on your side” when it comes to your decision to end the relationship. Just don’t talk badly about the person you are leaving. Remember you are talking about a person that you once loved, and chose to have by your side. Why would you talk badly about someone you loved and wanted to be with? Talking badly about your ex-lover only reflects badly on you.
7. Let the person know how hard it is to end the relationship. Let them feel your love. If you really want the relationship to be over, be strong in your boundaries. Be clear that the relationship is over.
8. If you agree to go into counseling, be clear about your intentions.
9. Honesty is important. Cruelty is not acceptable. Choose what you want to share with the person about why you are leaving. You don’t have to share everything, especially if it would be damaging to your soon-to-be ex-lover. Do state what you feel, but do so kindly, while thinking about the person’s positive aspects. After all, you did want this person once.
10. Understand the hurt and anger the other person is going through. Reassure the other person that he or she is someone with whom you have shared a great deal of joy, but now it is time to move on.
11. If there is another love interest, be honest about it. They will find out anyway — and that sucks. So tell the truth.
Remember the last date is as important as the first date.