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Ending A Relationship: Knowing When It Is Time and How to Do It

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Ending A Relationship: Knowing When It Is Time and How to Do It

Relationships are a big part of life. Whether family, friends, or romantic, there are generally various relationships in our lives. The trouble is that sometimes these relationships are filled with conflict, and it is energy draining and stressful trying to make it work. Ending a relationship is very difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s not best for us in the long run.





  1. Get clear on what your concerns are. It is important to first define for yourself what the problem is. Get very specific about what is going on in this relationship that is making you question if it is worth continuing. This is an important first step because, otherwise, it is much harder to determine how to move forward. This follows along with the saying “knowledge is power.” The more you detail the specifics, the easier it is to take control and move forward.



  1. Assess how clear you have been. Sometimes feeling strung along is due to a lack of communication. Remember, the other person is not a mind reader and will not know what you are thinking and what you want if you don’t tell them. They might not realize that you feel strung along, and they are thinking that you both are on the same page. Therefore, it is important to determine how communicative you have been and where further communication might be necessary.


  1. Communicate! Express how you feel and what your needs and wants are in this relationship. Be mindful to not come across as attacking or defensive. Stick to describing the facts; be very concrete about the situations and behaviors that have upset you. Use “I statements,” instead of “you” statements (i.e. “I feel” vs. “you did this.”). Make sure to be very clear on what you need and what your boundaries are moving forward, don’t expect that they will automatically connect the dots.


Example: “when I text you about getting together and don’t hear back for a few days, I feel hurt and upset. I would appreciate a faster response, so I can plan accordingly.”





If you are clear about what you need, are able to express that, and are willing to compromise but you are still hitting the same walls then that is a sign that you need to get out. Once you have tried to improve things, the other person needs to meet you half way. If that is not happening, it likely never will. Therefore, it is important for you to recognize that and not continue spending your time in such a relationship. The bottom line is that you deserve to be treated with respect. Why continue a relationship when that is not the case?



No matter if it’s a family member, a romantic partner, co-worker, or friend, you have a choice about who to let in your life and how much. Allow yourself to set boundaries that help you get what YOU need. When the relationship is toxic, destructive, filled with too much conflict, and your needs are not being met ending a relationship is ok. Don’t let yourself get stuck! Know that you have options.





It is important to first try and communicate and put an effort into making the relationship work. All relationships require work and energy in order to give it a fair chance. Otherwise it can become a pattern where no relationship is working out. On the other hand, there is only so much work and energy you can put in when there are no results.


Some key signs to consider:


  • If your needs and wants are not being met
  • A relationship is toxic or destructive (see below for further definition)
  • Your boundaries are not being respected
  • You are being strung along.
  • You are constantly in conflict.


Destructive/toxic relationship defined:

One that puts is hazardous and dangerous to quality of the relationship or aspects of yourself. For example, your physical safety, self-esteem, sense of integrity, happiness, or caring of the other person is at risk. The relationship may also create difficulties in pursuing your goals, doing things you like, enjoying life, and create conflict in your other relationships.





Be direct that you are ending the relationship. Be clear about your reasons, giving a brief explanation with specific examples. Make sure to keep it short; you are not leaving room for discussion. When your mind is made up, you don’t want to fall into the trap of getting manipulated back into the relationship.


Avoid getting defensive and keep it a matter of fact. You are trying to be respectful to the other person but do what you need for yourself. You do not need to get into a discussion defending your choice. The goal is to be clear and concise. If they are trying to argue with you, be a broken record and stay mindful not to get off task.



Once you are feel you were clear enough and got what you need, end the conversation. Know that it is ok to state that you said your piece and the discussion is over. If the person does not respect your boundaries, you do not need to continue to respond to them.



Sometimes we stay in relationships because we don’t think we deserve better. The truth is that you do! Know that you deserve to be treated well and can have a choice about who you let into your life. Don’t let low self-esteem lead to relationships that cause more harm than good. Work on building your confidence to help you make more informed choices about the relationships in your life. Download your FREE self-esteem worksheet below:






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