How to End an Unfulfilling Relationship

Be honest about your motives without hurting your soon-to-be ex.
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Few people enjoy ending a relationship, but if you continue in an unfulfilling relationship, you won't be free to find a relationship where you are happy. If fear of loneliness or of change is keeping you from leaving, remind yourself that you deserve a healthy, happy relationship with someone who loves you, suggests marriage and family therapist Jennifer Musselman in “Why We Stay Stuck in Unfulfilling Relationships and Jobs,” for Psychology Today. Take the healthy and responsible way out by letting your honey know why the relationship is ending.

Determine what you have to gain and lose by ending the relationship. Understand why the relationship doesn’t work for you so you can explain it to your sweetheart, advises psychologist Linda Young in “'It's Not You, It's Me.’ Pseudo-Compassionate Break-Up Lines,” for Psychology Today. Knowing what doesn’t work for you will also help you understand what you are looking for when you are ready to look for your next relationship.

Trust your instincts when you feel like it’s time to go, advises the article, “When It's Time to Leave a Relationship.” Don’t continue to hang on long after the relationship leaves both of you feeling unhappy and unfulfilled. If it isn’t working and nothing seems to make it better, it’s time to be honest and move on.

Invite your sweetheart to meet you face to face in a neutral place where you are unlikely to be interrupted, suggests therapist Mark Tyrrell in “How to End a Relationship the Right Way.” Make it clear this isn’t a date or a romantic encounter by asking for a meeting so you can talk. That heads up can prepare your partner for what you have to say without giving her a false impression of why you're meeting.

Deliver a clear and concise message, suggests Young, without giving your beau false hope. You could say, “Our relationship isn’t working for me and I think it will be better for both of us if you find someone who is right for you.” Be tactful, respectful and considerate. End the relationship in a calm manner with as little angst as possible.

Allow your sweetheart to respond to your decision, but don’t continue the relationship out of pity or to ease the emotional climate. It will hurt more in the long run. Listen and acknowledge whatever truth you hear, such as “I know we have had good times in the past, but lately we seem to…” Wish her well and let her know that a clean break is necessary.

  • Talk to your sweetheart before you tell anyone else you're ending it so he doesn’t get the message from someone else

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.