How to End a Relationship: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to End a Relationship: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
How to End a Relationship: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

Ending a relationship is never easy. Although many people don't believe it, breaking up with someone is just as emotionally draining as being dumped. Before making the decision to break up, review all the pros and cons. However, if you are already sure what you want to do, remember that person was once the love of your life. Be honest, but never cruel. Show compassion, but don't get your hopes up. With a little sensitivity and consideration, it will be possible to end the relationship without causing any emotional damage. Also, being careful is key, as you could also get hurt.


Part 1 of 3: Preparation

End a Relationship Step 1

Step 1. Decide if you really want to finish

Don't use a threat of separation as a way to win a fight. If the words come out of your mouth, be prepared to follow them. Otherwise, never say them. Before making a decision, discuss the relationship issues with the other person. Be direct! Many men and women suffer silently for years and never open up to their partner. And that's what ends up being the cause of many separations.

If you really want to finish, make a list of all the reasons. Also take the opportunity to clarify why these reasons cannot be fixed

End a Relationship Step 2

Step 2. Take this decision calmly

Don't decide to end up in the heat of a fight or when you're feeling nervous for any reason. Besides, if you've had a horrible week and you're blaming the relationship for all the problems in the world, calm down first. Before you really make up your mind, how about talking to family and close friends? They can give you interesting advice.

Once you decide to break up, don't go around spreading the word to everyone. It's okay to ask someone intimate and trustworthy for advice, but the first person you should really tell the decision is your partner

End a Relationship Step 3

Step 3. Choose a suitable time and place

Both you and the person to be dismissed need to have privacy at this time. For example, don't have this conversation right before the person leaves for work. An interesting tip is to finish on Friday so that the person has the weekend to recover from the shock.

  • Never break up with someone at your favorite restaurant, for example. Choose a neutral location that has no meaning for either of you.
  • Decide to have the conversation at a time when you are relatively quiet. It's not a good idea to communicate your decision to separate right after a stressful meeting at work.
End a Relationship Step 4

Step 4. Do everything possible to finish in person

The person deserves that respect, no matter how much you're dreading the H hour.

If you have a long-distance relationship, it's even acceptable to end by phone or text. The same goes for an abusive and controlling relationship. If the ex has violent tendencies, ending up on the phone will even be safer for you

Part 2 of 3: Ending the relationship

End a Relationship Step 5

Step 1. Act firmly

You may find that by being less incisive, the person will be hurt less. However, this is not true. Of course, the ending doesn't have to be intense and full of screaming. Just say you don't want to go on with the relationship anymore and that's it. Otherwise, the person will want to discuss the decision.

  • Avoid giving the impression that you are "taking a break" as your partner may be hoping for a comeback in the future.
  • Remember that saying things like, "Maybe we can work out some other time…" won't ease the other person's pain.
End a Relationship Step 6

Step 2. Be honest but never cruel

Not knowing the reason for the breakup sucks, but the person also doesn't need to know the ten things you hate about them. Speak the truth, even if you are feeling suffocated, manipulated, or disrespected. Don't waste time trying to disguise the truth.

  • The most complicated reason for a breakup is lack of love, as this means that the other person is not to blame. In that case, keep betting on sincerity, but be as gentle as possible.
  • Once you've given the main reason, you don't have to go into detail unless the person is really confused. There is no reason to discuss past problems and make the situation worse.
  • Don't make the other feel insecure and worthless. For example, don't say, "I want a real man." Prefer: "I think you still need to develop more self-confidence."
  • Whatever the reason, the other person probably won't be too surprised. If you've always had good communication in your relationship, the shock shouldn't be so great.
  • Avoid presenting a list of reasons. Preferably, go straight to the fundamental problem. For example: "We don't really agree on what really matters", "You don't support me at work", "I want children and you don't".
End a Relationship Step 7

Step 3. Be prepared for a scene

The other person will likely act out of anger, shock or panic. With anger, try to calm the situation and, of course, keep yourself balanced at all times. Keep your voice down, even if the ex starts screaming. If the situation gets out of hand, walk away and let the person calm down. In that case, make it clear that you intend to come back later and talk. Don't just say, "Fuck it! I'm leaving."

  • Offer comfort if the person needs it, but don't overdo it. If things start to get inappropriate, don't stop talking. You don't want to get back together with the person, do you? Be compassionate, but be firm and direct.
  • If you don't want to leave the person alone, call a mutual friend and explain the situation. Apologize for the pain caused by the situation, thank the friend and that's it.
  • If the ex is furious, just say, "It won't do any good for us to be yelling at each other. I've already made up my mind and I won't change my mind. Calm down so we can talk. How about you call me later? ?". If the person decides to call, answer. If she asks questions, respond calmly. Be civilized and do nothing to prolong the pain of separation.
End a Relationship Step 8

Step 4. Set limits for all future interactions

Be polite, but make it clear that such limits are non-negotiable. It's okay to end a relationship without getting into endless arguments about what went wrong. Use the relationship as a learning and growth opportunity.

  • If you have mutual friends but prefer to avoid each other for a while, how about discussing a kind of "shared custody"? That way you can see these friends without having to bump into each other.
  • If you usually work out at the same time, for example, how about combining a change so that you don't bump into each other at the gym every day? You don't have to be very strict or organized about this, but just a quick conversation will help you avoid the pain of meeting.
  • If you used to live together, plan a time for the ex to pick up his things without you having to be there.
End a Relationship Step 9

Step 5. Know when to leave the scene

One of the biggest mistakes in separation is allowing the agony of the end to drag on forever. It's forever. It's forever. It's forever. It's one thing to handle a joint account, for example, but quite another to kick a dead dog.

  • When you start going round and round on the same subject, you need to stop right away. Say, "We can talk later" and leave.
  • If the person cannot understand the reason for the breakup, try writing a message. Say what is necessary and encourage the ex to respond so that the person also feels heard. It might be a lot easier to talk with this distance between you.

Part 3 of 3: Living Life After Separation

End a Relationship Step 10

Step 1. Don't become friends right away

This will only prolong the pain caused by the breakup. It's best that you spend time away from each other. After a while (three months, a year…), the pain of seeing each other will not be so great, and you will be able to build a friendship. Still, continue to show sensitivity and respect, as the other person may not have arrived at the same time as you. If that's the case, don't push the envelope to create a friendship at all costs.

  • If the ex says, "Can we be friends?" Respond, "No, we can't. It's better if we don't see each other for a while." If the person persists, clarify: "We started as friends, and it evolved into much more than that. To be friends now, we would have to go backwards. And I don't want to go back to the past. We have to move on. We need to distance this separation from any other relationship we may build. Let's take a deep breath and give it time. Later, if we meet again, maybe we can be friends." However, remember that this needs to be the last contact between you. Don't look for the person again.
  • Inform mutual friends of the breakup and let them know that if the ex is invited to a meeting, you will not be present. If they want to side with the other person, that's fine.
End a Relationship Step 11

Step 2. Give it time

You were the one who wanted to break up, but that doesn't mean you're beaming with happiness. While many people don't understand, breaking up with someone is just as emotionally draining as being dumped. In some cases, the person making such a decision is even more hurt because they feel guilty.

  • After the breakup, take time just for yourself and take the time to re-evaluate your life and the future.
  • It's okay to spend a few weeks crying, writing in your journal, or suffering in bed. But after that, it's time to face the world again.
  • Calling a friend will certainly make you feel better. On the other hand, going out drinking until you drop is not going to do much good.
End a Relationship Step 12

Step 3. Enjoy being single

After weeks - or even months - you will naturally get back to enjoying life. At this point, you and your ex have probably worked out everything you had to do. So it's time to have fun with friends and family. Also, pursue old interests or discover new things to do.

  • At the beginning of this new phase of your life, avoid those things you and your ex used to do together.
  • Change something. It could be a reorganization of the furniture in the room, a cleaning in the car or even a different hobby.


  • Be firm and be completely honest to prevent the person from getting your hopes up for a return in the future.
  • If you can help it, don't argue. If necessary, wait for everyone to calm down before starting the conversation.
  • Don't play mind games or start ignoring the person before you're done with them. Don't be stalling; it is better to act as soon as possible.
  • Spend some time not seeing each other and let your partner recover before going around with someone else. A week is usually a nice time, but it will depend on your involvement, dating time etc. If you've been together for over a year, or if the breakup was particularly intense, avoid rubbing your happiness in the person's face. A really good tip is to avoid the places you and your ex used to frequent. Be mature and let the person keep the same life as before. Remember that you wanted to break up, so you had the advantage of being able to prepare for the breakup. Be generous and let the other maintain some stability and dignity.
  • Never break up with someone after having sex with them. It's painful for both of them and very selfish of you.


  • Avoid giving hope to the other person. If you have made the decision to move forward, be as clear as possible when communicating exactly that. If the relationship can still be saved in some way, don't end it. Otherwise, strive together to improve it. Separation should not be a threat or a way to make the other change.
  • Don't say, "The problem isn't with you, it's with me." This is offensive and very superficial, even though it is true. Most people interpret this phrase as: "The problem is you, but I don't have the courage to tell the truth."
  • Don't back down if the person starts to cry. Remember all the reasons you made the decision to break up.
  • Never leave the other person feeling completely responsible for the breakup.

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