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Are you considering ending your relationship, and want to know the best way to approach it?
Here are five steps to help you be sure if ending your relationship is the right thing:
- Acknowledge your feelings.
- Share your feelings with your partner.
- Ask your partner how they feel about your relationship.
- Share your worries and concerns.
- Make a decision that works for both of you.
In this article, you will learn how to end a relationship lovingly and respectfully.
STEP 1 – Acknowledge Your Feelings
You have reasons to end your relationship, but what about your feelings?
While reasons are easy to understand, feelings can be more confusing. For example, you might think that breaking up is the right thing to do, but at the same time, you may be feeling nervous and sad.
If this conflict between thinking and feeling gets too much, ask yourself:
- Are you making a change because you think it’s what you should do or because you feel excited about what it will bring?
- Are you recognising your feelings or telling yourself how you should feel?
Recognising our feelings isn’t an easy task. Our parents and society don’t give much importance to how we feel, and our everyday conversations reflect as much.
So, when it comes to making big decisions like ending a relationship, it’s common to feel overwhelmed and confused.
After some time with your partner, you may discover that you are not fulfilled in this relationship.
At this point, you can either recognise your feelings and express your unfulfilled needs or suppress them and carry on being dissatisfied.
Common Problems Couples Face
- A lack of emotional intimacy can leave you feeling disconnected.
- A lack of physical intimacy can lead to stress and sexual frustration.
- Poor communication can lead to arguments and unresolved problems, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed.
- Your feelings may fade away, or you may start having feelings for someone else. It can be scary to observe yourself losing feelings for the person you are with. But that is the nature of feelings – they change all the time.
If you notice any signs of unfulfillment in your relationship, here’s what you can do:
- Recognise this change.
- Acknowledge the new feelings.
- Make a plan to act on them.
- Make a list of concerns you have about your relationship.
- Write down your reasons for breaking up (this one is only for yourself).
- Use this reference to work out how you feel.
- Make a list of positive and negative feelings.
- Be clear, be specific.
Before you can explain to your partner why you want to break up, first, you have to be clear about it yourself.
These problems are enough to consider ending your relationship. While it is healthy to consider your options, go through all the steps, before you make any final decisions.
STEP 2 – Share Your Feelings with Your Partner
When we try to express ourselves without being clear on how we feel, it may come across as a mix of blame and judgements.
It is common for couples in conflict to blame each other.
Until each person takes responsibility for their part, it is hard to agree.
- When was the last time you told your partner how you felt?
- How did you express these feelings?
- Why would you want to share your feelings?
- How can you do it the right way?
First of all, make three lists:
- Your reasons for breaking up
- Your unfulfilled needs
- Your feelings
- It also helps to note positive feelings, fulfilled needs and all the ways this relationship contributes to your life.
Leave your reasons aside for now and focus on your feelings.
Sharing your feelings is an intimate experience that can leave you feeling vulnerable. To know that you are making the right choice, you need to be honest with yourself and your partner.
Tips to Help You Share Your Feelings
- Find a good time for both of you to talk.
- Tell them you want to express your feelings
- Use the list you made earlier to express your positive and negative feelings about this relationship.
- Ask them to repeat back what they heard you say
- Avoid talking about your intention to break up and your reasons for doing so. Stay with your feelings.
STEP 3 – Ask Your Partner How They Feel About Your Relationship
Now that you have had a chance to be heard and understood, create the same opportunity for your partner.
If you have completed steps one and two, you have taken a completely different approach to your situation, so well done!
By sharing your feelings, you opened the door to honesty and authenticity.
Now, it’s time to acknowledge your partner and their feelings.
Giving a chance to your partner to express their feelings and needs has two benefits:
- It involves your partner in this process and allows you to work together.
- You are showing your partner care, respect and recognition. In doing so, you are increasing your chances to end your relationship on good terms.
Once your partner sees that their feelings matter, they will feel included and are more likely to open up and cooperate instead of being defensive.
Knowing how they feel will help you see your relationship from their perspective.
Tips to Help You Hear Your Partner’s Feelings
- Thank your partner for hearing your feelings
- Tell them that now you’d like to hear how they feel
- Help them find the words to describe their feelings
- Write down their feelings in a list
- Read their feelings back to them
- Make this moment about your partner
- Help your partner stay with their feelings
- Avoid discussing thoughts and reasons at this stage.
- Avoid making judgements and conclusions.
STEP 4 – Share Your Concerns
If you and your partner have been able to share your feelings and hear each other out, you have done the hardest part!
Now, that you have connected at heart, and are on the same page, it’s time to work things out.
Remember the list of reasons and concerns about the relationship you made earlier?
In the spirit of understanding, your partner also needs to make a list of reasons and concerns.
Part 1 – Understand your partner’s view, worries and concerns about your relationship
- Tell them you would like to check what’s working and what isn’t.
- Ask your partner how they see your relationship.
- Write down their concerns about your relationship as a whole and the part of it.
- Tell them what you wrote, so you are crystal clear you heard them right.
Part 2 – Once you have heard your partner’s perspective, share your concerns and worries about your relationship with your partner
- Use the list you made earlier to share what is bothering you about this relationship.
- Ask them to say it back to you, so you know they heard you correctly
- Make notes will help you keep on track and remain objective.
STEP 5 – Make a Decision that Works for Both of You
The last step is all about communication. Many relationships fail because of poor, limited or one-sided communication.
So far, you’ve done an incredible job connecting with your partner!
You involved them in your predicament and healthily raised the issues. In doing so, you’ve indirectly addressed your reasons for ending your relationship and minimised future regrets.
Whatever you will choose moving forward, you will always know that you’ve done it together!
This process eliminates unnecessary doubts and struggles. Avoid compromising what is important to you and discourage your partner from compromising what is important to them. Otherwise, you will go back to square one.
Tips to Help You Find Solutions
- Layout all the notes on the table.
- Look at all the feelings and concerns from a 3rd person’s perspective to help you see it objectively.
- Separate the relationship problems from problems.
- Brainstorm different options that may include breaking up, temporary separation or making it work.
- Decide on an option that works for both of you.
- Create a plan based on your feelings, rather than creating feelings to suit your plan.
If you are still wondering whether to end your relationship or find a way to make it work, book a coaching session with a relationship coach.
In this article, we have had a look at five steps to help you decide whether ending your relationship is the best thing to do, and if so, how to do it the right way.
The right way to end a relationship is when you do the best you can to express your needs while considering your partner at the same time.
Ending a relationship can be an emotionally challenging experience. When you are overwhelmed with emotions, it is easy to make a decision that you regret later.
You only get one shot at ending the relationship the right way. The process described above gives you a chance to approach your situation with more awareness.
You may even discover that together you can address your concerns, and you may decide to stay together.
If you still decide to separate, you benefit from learning about yourself and your partner. And, you can use this skill to have a healthier future relationship.
By going through this 5 step process, you have regained power over your decision.
You’ve reflected on your feelings, desires and goals to get clear on what you want and assess your situation objectively.
When you start a relationship, both of you are equally responsible for everything that happens, including the breakup. So, all your decisions should be made together.
Whatever choice you make, whatever happens, you will always know that you’ve made your choice with awareness.
How you bring up issues to your partner is key to having the best chance of working them out or ending your relationship on good terms. If you need some help and guidance about doing it, feel free to get in touch.
Help and Advice with Ending Your Relationship
Tips on Ending a Relationship
Whenever you get overwhelmed with doubts about your relationship, ask yourself:
- Can I make it work?
- What issues do you need to address?
- Does it work better when we live together or apart?
- Is this relationship worth saving, or has it run its course?
- Do I want to keep trying to make it work?
- Am I ready to move on?
If you are not sure how to handle your relationship and need professional advice, we are here to help! Check out our coaching options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to end a relationship?
Since you started a relationship together, you should end it together. Unfortunately, it has become a norm for one partner to make a unilateral decision to break up. Then it comes down to looking for ways to inform their partner about this decision. Doing so is disrespectful to your partner and you. Instead, you can share with your partner how you feel and in what ways you are unfulfilled. If you can’t work things out, you can end your relationship. This way gets your partner involved in the decision, so they know why you want to break up and also why it is best for both of you.
How do you know if it’s time to end a relationship?
It is time to consider ending your relationship if you have tried everything in your power to make it work, but it still does not.
How do you end a relationship with someone you love?
If you want to end a relationship, despite having romantic feelings for your partner, you must have your reasons. Share these reasons with your partner and take time to hear their response. Once you have enough understanding of your feelings and reasons, both of you will know the best decision in this situation.
What to say to end a relationship?
First of all, move away from a unilateral decision that you may have made at this point. Instead, tell your partner what is not working for you. After you have expressed yourselves and understood each other, you may find a way to solve your problems. Alternatively, both of you may decide that ending your relationship is the best thing at the moment.
What are reasons to end a relationship?
All reasons to end a relationship fall into one of two categories. Either you or your partner no longer have romantic feelings or you have problems that you don’t know how to resolve. In the former, you can still be friends. In the latter, you need to make sure you have done all you could to find a way to resolve your problems. This includes having couples coaching.
How do you move on when you’re still in love?
Moving on from a relationship is easier if you and your partner know the reasons why you broke up. This is the value of talking about your feelings and needs with your partner and making an amicable decision together.