How to Graciously End a Relationship


As an adult, know what it is you’re looking for in a relationship so that you don’t spend an unnecessary amount of time dating a person that you eventually break up with. You don’t have that kind of time…and you should respect the other person’s time enough to end the relationship sooner than later. Don’t take him on your roller coaster of confusion and emotional ups and downs of, “do I love him, do I love him not.” If you’re going to end the relationship, do it in a respectable way. And if you’re an adult, you have no legitimate excuse (barring any kind of unfaithfulness or abuse) to end the relationship any other way. So I have 4 suggestions on how you can graciously end your relationship.

  1. Provide Closure
  • There was a recent New York Times article that discussed the trend of “ghosting.” The gist of ghosting is when one person simply disappears from a relationship, which causes immense frustration and feelings of rejection.
  • Be a Man or Be a Woman – do the hard part and have a conversation about why you’re ending the relationship.
  1. Show respect to the person you’re breaking up with
  • Didn’t you choose to date that person in the first place? Didn’t you receive anything positive from the relationship? There must’ve been something you saw in him or her in the beginning, so end the relationship in a respectable way, even if this person deserves to be broken up with.
  • There’s no point in calling names, blaming, slandering, or simply being mean to the person you’re breaking up with. It’s over. End it respectfully, and move on.
  1. Don’t divulge details
  • Part of showing the other person respect is not detailing all of the things you don’t like about them and all the reasons you’re breaking up with them.
  • I know everyone wants to know WHY, but figure out how to communicate the why before you tell them why. If you give them specifics, and they want to stay with you, they’ll change themselves to fit what you want in hopes that you’ll change your mind and stay with them.
    • For example: I wish you had a better job then I might be able to see a future with us. He gets a better job, and you still don’t like him.
  1. Explain what went wrong with you, not the other person
  • When you dig down deep and understand the “why,” you’ll realize that it has less to do what they could change about themselves, and more to do with how you just didn’t mesh with them.
  • How and when did you change? Why don’t you connect with them anymore? But don’t use the lame, “It’s not you, it’s me” message, even if it’s true. Communicate that message in a clearer way that details what’s going on in your life that is causing this relationship to end.

The only way to get better at this is by practicing gracious and respectful communication. No one likes being broken up with, and very few like doing the breaking up. It’s painful on both sides! But if you want to be a mature, respectable adult, break up the right way.


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