I was recently asked for advice about how to end a relationship. There is often a lot of conflict around failed relationships. It doesn’t have to be that way.
My friend felt bad. The other person in the relationship had not done anything wrong. They were not a bad person. They hadn’t lied or cheated. They had been incredibly thoughtful and charming throughout their relationship. You couldn’t fault them.
But my friend and the other person just didn’t click. There was no fire. There was no point pretending the relationship was going somewhere.
I said there are three rules to having “that conversation” to end the relationship and you can apply it to any situation where a personal relationship has broken down.
The three rules are:
- Lovingly tell the person that the relationship is over
Don’t blame yourself or the other person. We generally don’t go into relationships lightly. Neither of you are bad people. You liked the other person when the relationship started. Chances are you still do. But the situation has changed – you don’t feel the way you thought would. It’s not working. End the relationship you started it – lovingly. And remember it’s your decision; so they’re still catching up emotionally. Give them time to process the information.
- Do it in a timely manner
Rip that bandaid off. Just do it. It’s not fair to you or the other person to drag this process out. If you’ve made the decision to end the relationship, then just do it. You’ll both be grateful that you had the courage to call it. It’s not healthy or fair to stay in a relationship that you know is not working.
- Say what you need to say and get out of there
Don’t hang around to debrief your decision. If you do that, you’ll suddenly come up with a heap of reasons or excuses that are bound to be misunderstood or taken out of context. Chances are the conversation will become increasingly complicated and you may start doubting your decision or worse still you will start rescuing the other person and telling them a lot of platitudes to try and make yourself feel better.
We do not owe anyone a detailed explanation of our decision. The only fact that is important is that you want to end the relationship.
And be kind to yourself. It’s always stressful to end a relationship. So take extra good care of yourself whilst you deal with the emotional fall out.
In the long run, it will be okay.