Listen to 300+ podcasts by best-selling authors, published Wednesday, 4pm EST!

Ending a Relationship Tips

Read these 9 Ending a Relationship Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Relationship tips and hundreds of other topics.

Ending a Relationship Tips has been rated 4.1 out of 5 based on 1585 ratings and 40 user reviews.

After a Break Up

Breaking up hurts because it activates a grief reaction. Grief is a profound sense of loss paired with cycles of sadness, anger and hurt. Feelings of betrayal, rejection and abandonment are common at the end of a relationship. Although this is a normal response to losing someone important, you will feel anything but “normal.” Take good care of yourself during this time, don't try to run from your pain, and reach out to friends and family for support.

Break up quotes are plentiful because as the song says, “Breaking up is hard to do.” All kinds of feelings come up: grief, loss, sadness, anger, betrayal, abandonment. To make matters worse, getting over a break up is not something that can be rushed.

Attempting to hurry past emotions or avoid them altogether is never advised. When unrecognized, minimized or dismissed the pesky things tend to linger even longer! Therefore, the common tricks of keeping so busy you don't notice yourself or beginning to date immediately are counterproductive. Instead, make time for your feelings, take good care of yourself, and turn to family and friends for support.


Break Up Help

The ending of a relationship is generally difficult for both parties. In an attempt to make it easier, many couples attempt to maintain a friendship. We've all said it, “Let's stay friends.” It seems like the most mature and humane way of breaking up with someone. And, we think it will ease the pain…or perhaps the guilt.

While at first glance this appears a helpful strategy in getting over a break up, I encourage you to look again. Except in extremely rare cases where both people want to break up and there are no bad feelings, it's very hard to go directly from a romantic relationship to friendship.

Being friends right after a break up is often a disaster because there are many raw, hurt feelings flying around. The love shared in a romantic relationship involves certain qualities that don't immediately go away. With time and distance, those romantic feelings and connections diminish. Hurt feelings heal. However, staying in close contact keeps pain fresh, stirred up.

It's really a double whammy. Nothing can heal and the full magnitude of what has been lost is disguised by this band-aid (a.k.a. friendship). Although facing grief does not sound appealing, that is precisely how people begin to recover after a break up.

If that isn't enough to convince you, remember one person usually does not want the break up. Now you're talking about a friendship in which one person wants more than the other. Imagine how that might work once one of you becomes interested in someone else romantically. Exactly! Messy and painful.

Let time pass and feelings heal. A friendship can then be developed, if it is what both people want.


How to Break Up With a Girl

Ending a relationship is awful on both sides. Tons of break up poems, break up songs, break up quotes and break up advice have been written for this very reason. Although there is no avoiding the inevitable awkwardness, take heed men -- we've got a few pieces of advice for you to follow when breaking up with your girl.

  • Directly state what you want. Simply say what you mean. If you hint around, and she doesn't want to hear what you are telling her, she will hold onto hope that things are okay.
  • Do not continue sexual involvement once you've decided you want to end things. No matter what you say, she will take this as a sign you still have interest.
  • Do not promise things you will not deliver. If you are not going to call, do not say you will. If you don't want her calling you, nicely let her know. If you don't want to remain friends, be clear about this point.
  • Be honest. Do not lie about why you are making this choice. It is happening because it is what you want. Do not pretend the break up is due to external circumstances (e.g. busy with work or school obligations).
  • Do not act as if there is a chance the two of you will get back together, if this is not something you are planning to work toward. And, do not deny interest in dating other girls if you are likely to do so in the near future.


Break Up Advice

We all agree it is compassionate to avoid hurting people's feelings whenever possible. The “whenever possible” clause creates some confusion when ending a relationship, however. This is an inherently painful time for one or both parties. Many tactics have been used, when breaking up with someone, to attempt sidestepping this inevitable truth. They all fail. Worse yet, avoidance of the plain, honest truth causes more misery then is necessary in these situations. Therefore, avoid being evasive or vague. Be direct while taking responsibility for what you want.

There are no strict rules about how to end a relationship. However, a few tips can help when breaking up with someone.

  • Don't be evasive, unclear or vague. Be direct and to the point. This is not an enjoyable matter for either of you. Giving false hope or making your partner guess at what you want prolongs everyone's misery.
  • Do not break up in stages. You may think this will make the loss easier. Don't fall for it. This only serves to administer low, medium and high doses of pain over a longer interval.
  • Don't lie or invent a story. Things will not add up and the falsehood will be found out sooner or later - usually sooner. Getting over a break up is hard enough without introducing mistrust. Making someone piece together bits of information while leaving him/her to guess what is true causes unnecessary pain.
  • Don't blame someone or something else for your choices. Identifying and asking for what you want is an important developmental step and is necessary for mature relationships. Also, hiding behind excuses is pretty transparent. It is likely the other person will see what you are doing. Conversely, if he/she actually believes your excuse, the person will try and problem solve how to remove whatever relationship obstacle you've fabricated.
  • Don't delay ending a relationship. Once you know you want to break up with someone, it does not help if you deny what you feel. Your partner will sense a change, perhaps reaching out for reassurance. This may feel like “neediness” to you which will increase your feelings of being stuck.


Break Up Avoid

Relatively mature, kind people seem to be rendered nearly brain dead when breaking up with someone. In efforts to avoid conflict, not hurt anyone's feelings or not look like the bad guy, we often say the oddest things. Let's be clear, it is not possible to come up with a break up line that makes the process feel good. However, saying the wrong thing can definitely make the whole thing worse.

What shouldn't you say?

  • Anything that compares the person you're breaking up with to an ex or to a new person you've met
  • Talking about how difficult getting over the break up will be for you
  • Pointing out how this whole idea is really in the other person's best interest
  • Making the famous distinction between loving someone vs. being “in love”
  • Stating you're no longer interested but you'd like to keep the benefit or convenience of the sex
There are no perfect words to draw on when ending a relationship. Instead, let's lay out some break up lines to avoid:

  • I'm interested in someone else. You'd really like him/her.
  • You can't imagine how hard this is for me.
  • I just don't want you to get too attached.
  • I don't feel that way about you, but the sex has been really good.
  • I'm getting married this weekend so I won't be able to see you anymore.
  • Trust me, I'm doing you a favor.
  • I need to find myself.
  • Right now I don't feel like I can give you what you need.
  • I've been doing a lot of thinking….
  • I don't want to be together anymore, but we can still have sex if you want.
  • I love you, but I'm not "in love" with you.
  • It's not you, it's me.

What is a "rebound"?

Relationship Advice and The Rebound

There's a familiar relationship pattern among people who move quickly into a new romance after the old one dies (or, sometimes, while it's still limping along). Sad and brokenhearted, such a person finds a kindly soul who's willing to offer a comforting shoulder, or bed. The kindly soul offers support and relationship advice, believing that this will lead to healing, renewal, and love. And lo and behold, it does -- but not with the kindly soul. Often, the person who once seemed a source of comfort now becomes just a reminder of old pain. A happy new life begins -- with a happy new partner, someone who wasn't around for any of the bad old stuff. If you're fresh from a breakup, you can recognize this pattern for what it is, and choose to get your comfort from people who don't want long-term love. If you're tempted to play the role of the kindly soul, take two steps back and give the rebounder time and space to heal before expressing your interest.

I want to stay friends with my ex. Can this work?

Friends With an Ex?

After a breakup, many people find they miss the other person -- even though they may not miss specific relationship problems -- and thus state the intention of staying "friends."

It's fine to treat one another with civility, particularly if you are likely to meet one another at social events. It's also a kind gesture not to run around bad-mouthing the other person.

But at best, pursuing a friendship with an ex takes up time that you could be spending building a healthy relationship with a new partner. At worst, it could open the door for cheating or rejection.

Should I start dating right after a breakup?

Getting Dumped

It happens to pretty much everyone. You've fallen for someone, only to have him take that job offer in Shanghai, or have her dump you for the electrician.
Some experts advise getting right back out there on the dating scene after a breakup. It's not a good idea to hide in your room and watch cooking shows for months, but it's definitely worth taking some time to grieve your loss before you try again.
Psychologists identify five stages of grief, which might look like this:
Denial: "She's coming back."
Anger: "She didn't deserve me! She's rotten and I hate her!"
Bargaining: "Maybe if I propose, she'll come back."
Depression: "I'm worthless without her. No one else will ever love me."
Acceptance: "She's not coming back, and I'm surviving."
You don't have to go through the stages in order, and you may even skip some of them altogether, but knowing what they are can be helpful in recognizing your own emotions as part of a common process. Be especially careful of getting stuck in depression, which can actually provoke chemical imbalances in your brain. As you move toward acceptance, you can begin to think about what kind of life you want as a single person, and what kind of partner might be an enjoyable part of that life.

What should I expect in the early stages of dating?

Not That Into You?

In the early stages of dating, it's common to dump and get dumped. You're both assessing whether or not this person is right for you, keeping your eyes open for red flags, and refining your own relationship goals.
It's polite not to waste the other person's time when you've decided something won't work out. It might be tempting just to stop taking their phone calls, but it's more mature to break up formally. Even just saying "I'm sorry, this just isn't working for me" will make the message clear.
On the other end, don't wait by the phone. Even if you like someone you've started to date, try not to start picking names for your future children until you've at least agreed to date exclusively. Don't blow off your friends or favorite activities for your new date, and remain open to the possibility that someone else may be the right one for you. When you're sure that you two are both strongly interested in one another, then it's time to reprioritize.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Relationship Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson