Sometimes, you must face the inevitable point when it’s time to end the relationship you’d hoped would be your last.
You went into this relationship thinking he was the one, but then the attraction faded, and lust didn’t turn into love as you’d hoped. After two to three years, you see him for who he really is and it’s not a perfect match after all.
Sometimes, it’s not a lack of attraction or chemistry, but a misalignment of goals, cheating, or simply falling out of love. Regardless of the reason, there’s a right and wrong way to end the relationship and move on in a healthy way.
You owe it to one another, and to yourselves to end the relationship the right way. Before we go there, however, allow me to share a few reasons why a relationship should end.
Is There an Emergency Here?
Are you feeling the pain of a breakup? Do you feel as if your life has been turned upside down and you don’t know where to turn?
Whether you want him back or you want to move forward without him, a Personalized Emergency Breakup Kit can set you on the pathway to healing.
Why You Should End the Relationship
You Have No Emotional Connection
When you have an emotional connection with your partner, you feel safe sharing your vulnerability with him. You can easily discuss anything, or mostly anything with him because he’s your emotional rock. He will be there to pick up the pieces. He’ll hold you up when you feel like falling down. You both provide strength for each other.
But if the spark disappears, this connection often goes with it.
The two of you engaged in friendly banter and enjoyed one another’s company, but now, even that feels strained. This is that emotional connection sizzling away. You no longer engage in meaningful conversation about anything. Being alone together just feels hard and is full of empty silence, fidgeting, and finally empty conversation to fill the void.
End the Relationship When You Don’t Feel Sexually Attracted
Sexual attraction can vary in a relationship, depending on what else is going on in your life. It’s natural, but if you find it difficult to come out of a low attraction phase, it might be a sign that things aren’t working anymore, but it’s not definitive.
Think back to when the two of you first had sex. How does that memory make you feel today? If these memories make you smile and have fond memories, all may not be lost. You’re probably still sexually attracted to him but there’s something else going on.
Then again, if you’re just not attracted to him anymore, it’s probably time to end the relationship and move on. When there’s no sexual interest between you, it’s a sign that the relationship is unhealthy and headed toward demise.
Someone Else Holds Your Interest
While you’re with him now, your heart flutters over someone else, or at least the idea of someone else. Maybe it’s a guy you’ve seen and briefly chatted with at the gym, a coworker, or a friend of a friend. Regardless of who it is, it’s not your current partner.
It’s okay to fantasize about other men, as long as it doesn’t steal your attention and affection for your partner. Fantasies become problematic when they invade that relationship space. When you’re in bed with your guy, he should be the one you’re thinking of, so if he isn’t, you know it’s time.
End the Relationship When You’re Being Asked to Change Who You Are
When someone loves you, they love you for who you are right now. He accepts your flaws, and probably even loves you for them. He doesn’t even see the nose you wish you’d had redone years ago. No. I take that back, he sees it and can’t imagine why you’d want to change it.
But when someone berates you into getting into better shape or finding a better job, it’s time to consider whether this is right for you.
Asking someone to use less salt when they cook or to avoid eating the peanuts that will surely send you to the ER is okay. That isn’t changing who you are fundamentally.
But when someone tells you that you’re not good enough for them the way you are, that’s on them. If you want to lose twenty pounds, go for it, but do it because you want to do it to improve your health or burn off stress.
He’s Supportive When Things are Good
Tanya and Brent had been together for several years. They’d recently purchased a house together and seemed to be a great couple. Then, Tanya got a new boss at work and he was a tyrant. On top of his poor managerial skills, he was new to the company and many of the things he railed at Tanya about weren’t correct.
Tanya came home from work stressed to the max. She wanted a hot bath, a margarita, and some candles so she could decompress. She expected that Brent would be her rock.
Instead, Brent sought out someone new. Not two days before, they appeared to everyone to be a happy, loving couple. If they arrived somewhere separately, he followed her home, pumped gas for her, and was there for her, but as soon as the sh*t came down, he sought out a new relationship.
Your guy should be supportive of you when things are good and when they’re bad. If you hit a rough patch in your life, a loving partner wants to help in whatever way he can. If it’s bringing you a new margarita while you cry in the bathtub, so be it. He’s there with a new salted glass full of margarita.
When he’s only there to share the good times but disappears or checks out when things are at a low point, it’s time to consider ending things.
You May Need to End the Relationship When Trust is Broken
I say you may need to end the relationship because it is possible for a couple to overcome a loss of trust, often caused by an affair. The catch is that you must both agree to do some couples therapy to get there. Only a professional can guide you through rebuilding your trust as nobody else can.
Trust is essential to any healthy relationship and when it’s gone, everything else fades away with it. You feel unloved, unsupported, unheard, unnoticed, and many other things.
Trust isn’t just broken with affairs. It’s also broken when promises aren’t kept. He promised to move closer in six months, but nine months have passed, and he isn’t even trying to do what needs to be done so he can make that move.
He promised to attend your big family event but bailed again at the last minute.
Maybe he promised to take you on a big vacation or to move in with you, but delay after delay keeps it from happening.
You can only make and break so many promises before all trust is broken.
End the Relationship When He Wiggles Out of Every One of Your Family Commitments
Your guy doesn’t have to like your sister to attend her birthday party. He’s there for you, not her. He’s there to be your support system and your friend.
If your friends and family question the mere existence of your guy, you may have a problem. Hanging out with one another’s friends and family is part of being in a relationship. It doesn’t matter if his mother always compares you to his other girlfriends, tough it out and be there for him. Of course, in that instance, you have every right to ask him to talk to her, but that’s a different problem.
The point is that when you’re a couple, you suffer through friend and family events for the greater good of your relationship.
The caveat is that this is reciprocal. If you want him to come to your stuff, you need to go to his too.
You Can’t Express Your Needs without Negative Fallout
You should never feel guilty for needing something, nor should you be berated for it or told you’re crazy. Everyone has their moments when, no matter what it is, you have a need to be met.
If we go back to Tanya and Brent for a moment, Tanya needed support. She didn’t want anything from Brent other than for him to be there with another margarita when she needed it, to turn on the hot water again, or to bring in new candles when the old ones burned out. She had a need to feel heard, loved, and supported. Instead, he found someone who wasn’t going through a difficult time in her life.
When you’re there for someone, you’re there. He shouldn’t be telling you how dumb it is for you to want to be there for your mother as she goes through something difficult. He should be there to support you when you find out your childhood dog died.
But sometimes, people are so wrapped up in their own stuff that they can’t see the needs of others. If it’s temporary, fine, but if it’s an ongoing problem, it’s probably time to end the relationship.
End the Relationship if He’s Hiding You
A man who won’t take you to meet his friends and family after a reasonable amount of time together is a man who’s hiding something from you.
When a guy is in love, he wants to show her off to the important people in his life, like his mother, or a favorite sister or friend. He wants his buddies to meet you because he’s proud to have you in his life.
He isn’t afraid to post photos of you together on social media, or even to take them with his phone.
A man who avoids introducing you to important people may be having an affair with you as the extra in his drama. This is a no-win situation for you because even if he eventually leaves that other relationship, you’ll be faced with a natural trust issue. If he did this to someone else with you, what’s to keep him from doing the same to you?
You Aren’t You Around Him
The best thing you can do for any relationship is to be yourself right from the beginning, but most of us aren’t. In my book, The Social Tigress, there’s a chapter on branding yourself and while this may sound harsh, we all do it.
When you’re single and you go out with your girlfriends, you pay very close attention to what you wear, how your hair is styled, and what you do with your makeup. You’re marketing yourself even if you don’t realize it.
If you create an online profile on a dating site or app, you’re marketing yourself.
In these marketing efforts, we all put our best foot forward. Only the best photos of you go on the profile, right? Of course.
But once you meet someone, you need to allow the real you to shine through. Sure, he may have initially been attracted to how you look, but men aren’t so superficial that they only go for looks. That might get him to say “Hello”, but it doesn’t get to eventually saying, “Goodnight.”
The problem comes into play when you can’t be yourself, either because he tries to stifle who you are or because you’ve shown him such a different version of yourself, and stuck to it, that now you can’t be the real you for fear of losing him.
In any case, he isn’t in love with you, he’s in love with the version of you that either he wants or you’re showing him, not the real you.
End the Relationship When You Both Talk About a Hypothetical Better Time Ahead
Your relationship shouldn’t be about waiting for the good times to come. You shouldn’t be waiting for the relationship to get better when some future milestone is hit.
He’ll appreciate me more once I can cook better.
We’ll have a better connection when we live together.
He’ll be more open with his feelings when we’ve been together for another six months.
You’re waiting for him to change, but he is who he is and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. Yes, people can change, but that doesn’t mean they want or intend to.
Instead of waiting for your relationship to be ideal in the future, look at what you have now. Can you live with things the way they are? If he’s not meeting your needs now, that perceived milestone in the future might not change a thing.
Your Goals are Different
A couple who wants to be together for the long haul should have shared goals. Not every goal should be shared, but the big ones are important.
For example, if he wants to travel the world but you want to advance your career, your goals are misaligned in such a way that it won’t work unless you negotiate the timing. You may agree to travel the world with him, but at a slower pace than he had in mind. If he’s agreeable, it might work, but if he wants to take two years off before making his big career move and you don’t, it may be time to end the relationship.
Sharing goals brings more intimacy to your relationship. When you’re doing things together, you’re developing memories and drawing nearer to one another. Intimacy isn’t just about sex, it’s about those shared moments that you’ll always remember.
How to End the Relationship
Now that you know some reasons for ending the relationship, let’s examine how you can end the relationship with style and respect.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Plan what you’ll say before you meet up with your guy. Don’t just decide to wing it. I know it’s a nervous time, but you’ll be less nervous if you practice a bit. Get a friend to help or practice in front of a mirror. Get your speech down and be prepared for his reaction.
Understand at the same time, however, that you cannot control his reaction. Trying to word things in a way that won’t upset him is futile. All you can do is remember to be kind, not to dump all the blame on him, and to be respectful of his need to speak.
End The Relationship Face-to-Face
Of course, it’s more comfortable to send a text or email telling him it’s over, but this is the chicken sh*t way out. Please don’t do this to anyone. He has time and emotions tied to the relationship too, and he deserves for the end to be a one-on-one conversation.
The exception to this rule is if there is physical abuse involved. In that instant, you’re running, not conversing. Otherwise, have enough respect for what the two of you shared to end it in person.
Choose the Right Place
Don’t end your relationship at your place or his but choose somewhere comfortable for both of you. It might be someplace public but somewhat secluded, like a park or a cozy coffee shop.
If you’re worried about him blowing his stack, in public is definitely a good idea, but if you think he’ll be calm about it, give him the courtesy of privacy when you end it.
End the Relationship and Be Respectful
One person is never the only responsible party in a breakup. You both have your roles. So, be respectful of him, and don’t dump this all on him. Own your part too and make sure not to make it a bashing session.
Respect also means being honest. Again, this doesn’t mean reciting every single thing he did to upset you but don’t lie either. Be general.
“Gee Brad, I think we just grew apart.” Or “You know, Jim, I think we just want different things now.”
This way, you’re ending it, but you’re not dumping on him, which would be unfair.
Make it a Clean Break
When you see he’s upset, you might try to mitigate that with some soothers like, “But we can still be friends” or “Let’s just see if time apart helps.”
If you don’t see a future for the two of you, this is unfair. I know you’re trying to make him feel better, but he’s still going to get hurt. It’ll just take longer.
It’s okay to be friends after a breakup but give him time to process the breakup first. Let him find his own way out of the situation and then reach back out, maybe in a few months.
End the Relationship but Avoid Arguing
Since you know this is coming and he probably doesn’t, he may be defensive at first and this can often lead to an argument. He may be angry and want to argue with you out of spite, or he’ll be blindsided and want to argue that you shouldn’t break up.
Either way, once your conversation devolves into an argument, it’s time to go. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose by arguing with him.
You don’t need to be mean about it, but simply tell him you think it’s time for you to go, “Jim, I’d like to leave us on a happy note, so I’m going to leave before we start saying things we’ll regret.”
He may try to continue the argument by phone, text, or email. In that case, block him for a while, at least until his anger subsides. It’s very difficult to have an argument if you’re the only one arguing.
He’ll soon settle down and it’ll end.
Don’t Let Him Talk You Out of It
If he didn’t see it coming and is still in love with you, he may try to talk you into staying. If you have good reasons for leaving, don’t allow this to happen.
You’ll come to the same ending eventually and the hurt will be that much deeper.
It’s a normal reaction for the other person to beg you to stay. He’ll make promises like:
- I’ll be better about pitching in around the house
- If I try, I know I can stop belittling you around your friends and family
- I know I can be a little cranky, but I’ll work on it, I promise
If he wants to make those changes, great, but let him work on those things by himself. If you did have something before and you aren’t interested in anyone else, he may indeed come to you in a few months a new and better man.
But those types of changes are best done when you’re single.
End the Relationship but Be Empathetic
While breaking up might be a relief to you, he may be deeply saddened. Try not to glory in your happiness while he’s down. If you’re happy, fine, but be empathetic to what he’s feeling at that moment.
It’s never nice to dismiss or ignore someone’s feelings, even if you don’t want to date him anymore. You can soften the blow by reminding him of something good like, “Before I met you, I didn’t even know how to boil pasta. You taught me so much and I’m grateful.”
Final Words on How to End the Relationship with Style and Grace
Even though you’re the one ending it, your body will have a physiological and emotional response. Your mind is addicted to being in love, so it’ll play tricks on you to try to get you back out there faster than you should be.
Give yourself time to grieve the relationship and time to heal. Relationships change who you are. You learn new things, but you may give up some things too, like a hobby you enjoyed or participating in a sport you enjoy.
Sometimes, you even give up friendships in lieu of more time with your boyfriend. It’s time to revive all of those things and rejoin life. Doing so will help you find who you are again, and it will also help you through the grieving process.
I have a book that explains the nine stages of grieving a relationship, whether you initiated the breakup or not. It also helps you prepare yourself for a new relationship. It’s linked just below!
When you end the relationship in a classy way, you have no regrets and you leave your ex-partner with a better chance of moving forward in a healthy way too.
If you're ready to move on from this relationship, you're ready for He's Gone, Now What? This book walks you through the many aspects of dealing with a breakup, even if you're the one who initiated the breakup. Regardless of who started it, as they say, your body becomes addicted to the chemicals associated with being in love. The withdrawal process is as daunting as the withdrawal from cocaine.
You'll also learn about the stages of grieving a relationship and how to begin moving forward. You'll walk through the steps of preparing yourself for dating again and gain an understanding of how you can do so in a healthy, happy relationship.
You can learn more about the book here or you can purchase it by clicking one of the buttons below.