How to Handle a Long-Distance Relationship Breakup

Show respect when breaking up with your partner.
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Whether you moved away for college, your family relocated or you met your sweetheart via the Internet, your long-distance relationship isn't working for you. While initiating a breakup is never easy, it's important that you handle your long-distance breakup maturely and with compassion. If handled in a respectful and appropriate way, the breakup can honor the good times you shared with your boyfriend, while leaving room for a possible friendship.

1 Breakup Method

While breakups are best done face-to-face, that might not be a plausible option for you, given the circumstances. For instance, you and your girlfriend may live a significant distance from each other and you may not have the time or money to travel to see her in person. It's also unkind to have her travel to visit you for the purpose of ending your relationship. Breaking up via phone may be necessary when there are logistical issues, but don't leave a voicemail indicating that you are breaking up with her, advises Emily Post in the article "Breaking Up." Don't break up with her via email, another person or text messaging. If you have to break up long-distance, consider using a face-to-face video call service.

2 Appropriate Time

It's important to consider when and where to tell your boyfriend that you're ending the relationship. If you are able to end the relationship in person, do so at a time and place that affords you privacy and you won't be rushed in your discussion. For instance, you might sit at a picnic table in a quiet park or choose to have the conversation at your boyfriend's house. If you are breaking up over the phone or video call, let him know in advance that you would like to have a serious conversation with him. You don't want to catch him by surprise and tell him that you're ending the relationship when he is out with friends or heading to class. You also want to make sure that he will be in a location with good reception so that your call is not dropped in the midst of your discussion.

3 Saying "It's Over"

Reflect on your reasons for wanting to break up with your girlfriend and what you would like to communicate to her. You might want to begin the conversation with a positive statement about your relationship and girlfriend and follow with why you've made the decision to break up with her, suggests the TwoOfUs article "Breaking Up With Kindness and Respect." For example, you might say "I really think you're great and I've enjoyed spending time with you. Unfortunately, I've decided that I don't want a long-distance relationship." Make sure to be honest and direct in your breakup approach. It's also important to be clear that you've made your decision and not to waver on that decision.

4 Listen With Patience

Allow your boyfriend time to process the breakup and to ask questions. He may be experiencing an array of emotions, from shock, anger and hurt to betrayal and denial. Encourage him to say what's on his mind, which will help him to achieve closure and may help to avoid future discussions, according to TwoOfUs. If you're breaking up via phone due to the distance, keep in mind that it is more impersonal and it may be more difficult to find closure. While it's important to listen, be careful to avoid giving him hope of reconciliation.

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.