It takes a lot of work and effort to keep a long-distance relationship going strong. But when the time comes for the two of you to part ways for good, there's little you can do except soften the blow so you can remain friends after it officially ends. That being said, there are several ways to end a long-distance relationship in an amicable way. Outlined here are several things you'll need to keep in mind before you act but after you've decided that this is the best way forward for both of you.
First, let's look at why the relationship has to end at all. Here are few reasons why you might be considering breaking up your long-distance relationship:
Aside from these reasons, there are several other factors that influence your decision to go on or go away, as the case may be. Regardless, once you've decided to end it, the best thing to do is to do it in a way that's not hurtful to either of you. Mind you, the message needs to be clear and it's usually a mutual decision, but once that decision has been made, you need to deal with it in a way that doesn't leave any residual animosity.
And that's what this article is all about: how to part ways in a long-distance relationship so you're still friends at the end of it all.
If you can’t break up in person, at least do it over the phone: Breakups are not easy. It is even more difficult when you have to end a long-distance relationship. But no matter how tempted you might be, don’t end your relationship by texting, emailing, messaging, or even writing a letter. It’s always better to call and talk about it. Also, avoid posting your breakup on social media as this will offend your partner or have other repercussions. In two words, dirty laundry!
Give them a heads up that you want to talk about something: Call your long-distance partner and tell him that you have to discuss an important issue. Keep your tone firm; this will convey the message to your partner that something is serious and he needs to prioritize the conversation. Fix a convenient date and time (this is important, especially when you are oceans apart and the time zones are different) to video call him.
And then what? Read on!
Know what you are going to say: It will be difficult to communicate the decision that you have decided to break up with your partner. It’s easy to get carried away with other matters and forget the most important thing you want to convey. Or, your message might get all garbled and confuse the issue without making a clear statement. But, if it’s a well-thought-out decision that takes into consideration all the factors involved and possible fallout scenarios, don’t be wishy-washy about how that message is conveyed. It’s better to write down what you want to talk about. Keep it handy, so that you don’t skip any points. Speak directly and clearly to your partner. The advantage of a long-distance relationship is that you have time to prepare what you want to say. Most people find it easier to convey their decision on the phone rather than in person unless you want to do it face to face.
Treat the actual breakup like any other breakup: It’s not easy to break up any relationship, let alone a long-distance romance. You have put in a lot of effort, time, and money, and you finally feel that it’s just not worth all of that. So stand firm on your decision, voice your opinion and the reason you are breaking up, and tell him that you do not want to consider or continue in this relationship anymore. Give your partner a chance to speak. There will be uncomfortable moments during the conversation since you are ending a relationship over a phone call, so it’s important that you also listen to what your partner has to say about it. Be extra patient with what he says but stand your ground when it comes to ending the relationship.
Be respectful: Respect your partner. Ending a relationship that you were in for a long time is difficult and painful so tread carefully and don’t hurt his ego. Follow the saying “do unto others as you would want others to do unto you.” One way to do this is to address the issue as you see it rather than attack his shortcomings. Don’t be rude and treat your partner like a stranger just because you are ending your long-distance relationship. Respect his sentiments and remember that you have decided to break up with a person who you have loved and cared for in the past and vice versa. Make it explicit that you are formally ending your relationship but you still want to be friends, but let him have his say as well. Maybe he won’t want to be friends with you after the breakup, and that’s his prerogative.
Ending on a good note: Ending a long-distance relationship mutually is the best thing to do, but when you start playing the blame game, it creates an ugly mess of the relationship. Things get bad and he will never want to see or meet you ever again. The important thing is how you are going to convey the message in the first place. Take control over your emotions and don’t let them rule the conversation. Maintain a neutral attitude. Take your time to convey your message, even if it takes hours to do that. You want to end the relationship on a good note. You don’t have to stay friends if you don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean you both end up becoming sworn enemies for life, bad-mouthing each other to your respective friends every chance you get.
Telling others: Your long-distance relationship and how long you have been in it will definitely be known to your close friends, parents, or even your colleagues. Now that you have decided to end the relationship and are firm in your decision, you can let your friends and family know about it. There will be opinions and advice coming in hot and heavy, either urging you to give it some time, to work at it better; some might even encourage you to call it quits because you have gone through hell with this relationship. Take all of that with a pinch of salt and just follow what your heart says. Tell them this is the best way forward and that the decision is final. You need closure, but so do they, especially if he grew close to your family and friends while you were still an ‘item.’
Have genuine reasons for ending a relationship: Before you end a long-distance relationship with someone you loved and cared for over a period of time, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and that these reasons are genuine and not trivial. List them out and talk to your partner. Tell him that you’re not ending the relationship just because you are not together or that you are in a relationship with someone else who is closer (physically) to you. There could be various reasons why you want to end this relationship. It could be that your partner is not interested in you anymore; he doesn’t call or pick up when you call; he might have become rude and abusive. You, on the other hand, have been continuously working to keep the long-distance relationship alive and kicking (with him kicking and screaming!) You have invested your precious time, your energy, your love, and probably your money as well. It finally became a one-sided relationship. That said, keep it real and make sure your reasons are legit.
The Future: When there is no future with your long-distance partner, there’s no point in continuing the relationship. You need to start thinking of your own future without your partner after ending the relationship. After giving your reasons for breaking up, give time for your partner to introspect and speak. Your tone and your words are important. Your reasons should be practical and well-organized. If you do it right, he’ll also see that you’re right. Never give a false impression or hope to your partner that you may get back in the future when it’s clear in your mind that you want to end it permanently. Be honest with your partner. This breakup may come as a shock to your partner and, as a result, he may hurl obscenities at you, call you names and blame you for everything. In the extreme, he may even threaten to do something to himself. In such a situation, you have to calm him down and make him understand the reasons for your breakup - the ones that affected you the most. Let him know that you’re parting ways because your futures no longer overlap.
Have an exit plan: Use the best and most personal form of communication available to you. If you can visit him, do that; or, you can use Skype or FaceTime, where you can see each other. Talk it out with your partner. Tell him that the best thing to do is to part ways. Don’t argue or accuse your partner. Give him time to talk. Be patient, but firm, and don’t cry. It is a bit easier to break up a long-distance relationship because you are probably not going to bump into each other on the street. Remember that you’ve made a decision and you’re trying to break it off amicably, but if he won’t be reasonable, be ready with a goodbye that still leaves the door open for a platonic relationship in the future - or, at the very least, not a hostile one.
Make it clear: This is permanent: A breakup is not always permanent. There are so many examples of couples who have broken up and gotten back together again. This is one of the reasons why you have to be clear about communicating your decision of breaking up with your long-distance partner. If it is, indeed, permanent, you should tell him that in no uncertain terms. Convey to your partner that you have thought about the decision to break up very carefully and there’s no chance of having second thoughts or a change of heart. Be honest and practical. Don’t give in to coaxing and pleading or other emotional ways your partner might try.
Say something positive: Your partner may not have been abusive or rude with you in your relationship, but there are other important things you have to consider when ending things with your long-distance boyfriend. Have your reasons listed out and be ready to talk to your partner. Before you begin your talk, appreciate your partner for your time together and that it was fantastic while it lasted. Don’t make your partner feel guilty that you have decided to break up the relationship. Just give him your reasons and tell him it’s over. As a parting message, tell your partner that you can stay good friends if he wants that.
Having a good last conversation: Having a good final conversation before breaking up your long-distance relationship can sometimes be calming and cathartic. Be casual in your talk; listen to your partner patiently. Don’t blame him or argue with him. Since you have already decided to break up, this is going to be your last conversation as a couple. Make sure it’s a memorable one filled with fond memories and hopes of better futures as individuals.
When you are not ready: In some cases, the relationship is moving too fast for you and you’re just not ready to settle. This is also a valid reason to break it off, but make sure you haven’t been leading him on. It’s understandable if one person wants more than just an unofficial relationship, and it’s neither your fault nor his. In these situations, you need to think long and hard before you break up the romance. Are you absolutely certain that this is not the person you want to spend your life with? It’s up to you to decide, but it’s not what you want, then tell him so.
Set clear boundaries: After you convey your message or talk to your boyfriend to end your long-distance relationship, avoid talking to your now-ex-partner often. You may be emotionally drawn to him or vice versa. Set clear boundaries so that doesn’t happen. Don’t prolong your relationship. Always make sure that your ex-partner understands you. If you are the one who initiated the breakup, your partner may be attached to you emotionally and even try to contact you often. Be firm and clear about your decision and handle these feelings carefully. You may have to make it clear several times that it’s really and truly over for the two of you.
Give your ex-partner closure: Your ex-partner may feel like calling you and talking to you. He may want to meet you, but be firm and do what you think is right. Stick to your decision, irrespective of how your ex-partner responds. Sometimes, the breakup can be confusing to your ex. If you agree to talk to your ex-partner, give him a patient ear, listen to him and try to understand what he has to say. Your partner may tell you to take some time and think over your decision or to give him a chance to prove his love or set things right. He will promise you so many things. If he wants to meet you, you can consider that, but be cautious and don’t get carried away - and don’t give him the impression that you’re open to getting back together. When you have finished your talk and have nothing more to talk about, wish your ex-partner the best and move on.
Breaking up mutually: Breaking up shouldn’t be a sudden decision for either of you. It is important to give yourself time to think and space to act and analyze the decision of breaking up, especially in a long-distant relationship. It is also important to share your concerns and doubts with your partner before you break up. He should know how you feel in this relationship. Be straightforward. This is an honest way of expressing yourself. It gives him the time to think about the concerns and doubts you have voiced. This way your partner knows that you are not happy in this relationship and can be prepared for what is coming next. Breaking up can be very stressful for both of you. It drains you out emotionally. So don’t make it harder than it already is.
Plan your break up: Before you break up with your long-distance boyfriend, it is important to plan how you are going to talk about it with your partner. It’s going to be difficult, especially when you still love your partner dearly and it’s a tough decision that you have made to break up a romantic relationship because it’s become impossible to continue any longer. It is going to be challenging. However gentle you may be and even if your intentions are clear, there’s bound to be some trepidation about how your partner is going to take it. Rejection hurts. Stay calm and don’t stress yourself out. You can plan how to talk about the breakup, but you cannot plan how the end will be. Your partner can be hurt by your decision. Give him enough time to come to terms with your decision. You have to be prepared to react to their feelings.
Do not give in to arguments or protests: Breaking up with your loved one is not easy. It may come as a surprise to your partner. He may try arguing, shouting and, hurling accusations at you. He might even try and give you reasons why you should stay together. He may try to convince you to give one more chance to revive your long-distance relationship. An abusive partner cannot change, so don’t give in to any of their tirades. If you have decided to break up, nothing is going to stop you from doing it. You cannot restore or continue in this relationship now. Giving in to your partner’s requests will only weaken your stand and delay the inevitable. Keep away from making false promises just to get him off your back. Stand your ground.
After a breakup, respectfully cut all contact for a short period of time:After you break up, it is advisable to refrain from calling, texting, or even seeing each other for a short period of time. Consider it a cooling-off period where you can easily get emotionally carried away and get into a mess again. To avoid the risk of getting involved again, keep away from each other for as long as it takes. Once you can both be level-headed about it, you may even be able to build a new kind of friendship. But now is not that time. It’s time for a clean break.
Talk to somebody about it: You often feel like talking to someone before deciding to break up. Do it. Confide in a trusted family member or a close friend. Take their advice if you are not able to decide on your own. This way you know that someone has your back if you do decide to go through with it. Take your time to decide, but don’t delay it. Learning from your mistakes and what went wrong in your relationship will help you move on with your life. And if you have a friend or close relative on your side, it’s that much easier.
Cut ties with them on social media: Both have been very active on social media and are following and tagging each other, and reading each other’s posts. If you’re that way with your long-distance boyfriend, then it’s better to block them on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms in the early stages of the post-breakup period. That way, you won’t be tempted to see what’s going on in their lives without you in it. You’re setting yourself up for a bout of depression if you do that. What if you find that he’s much, much happier without you? Are you going to run back to him and beg him to take you back? Stay away from the drama and give it some time. You’ll be alright.
Show sympathy: Breaking up is tough, especially for your partner if you initiated it. Convey your sadness at the breakup and talk to him about the good things during your time together. Remind your partner about that new hobby he taught you and how good you are at it now. Lift his spirits by reminding him of what he’s done to fulfill your needs. Your partner will appreciate your sensitivity and it will be easier for the fact to sink in that you’re finally leaving him.
Keep guilt away: When dissolving a long distant relationship, you have a lot of things running in your mind. But keep the guilt at bay. It is normal and okay to feel guilty that you have hurt your partner’s feelings. With time, these things, too, shall pass. Remember it is better to break it off honestly rather than prolong the long-distance relationship and feel miserable about it. Things can go wrong with any relationship, and long-distanced ones are not immune to it. Be confident that you are doing the right thing because you have gone through enough. Don’t make your partner feel that you are the reason for the breakup. Give him reasons for your breakup that are based on your perception of the facts. Take this break up as an opportunity to improve yourself, grow your career, maximize your potential and, above all, enjoy the freedom to live your life the way you want.
Don’t wait for the right time: You have gone through a tough time and have had an abusive, one-sided relationship. You have decided to break up this long-distance nightmare. Don’t wait for the right time to convey your decision. Find an opportunity to talk about it as soon as you can. When you are in a long-distance relationship, it is difficult to talk and convey your decision, especially when your time zones are different. Call your partner, fix a convenient time and date, and call him either through a regular phone call or video call and inform him of your decision and the reasons for it. The sooner the better.
Break up letter: One of the ways to end a long-distance relationship is by writing a letter to your partner. This is the best way to end your relationship if you find that your partner is not available to take your call or is avoiding you. Let the contents of your letter be crisp and not very emotional. Start the letter by saying how you felt being in this relationship, like how loving and caring he has been and how he brought out the best in you. Go on to say that you have to end the relationship because of such and such reasons. Be honest with the reasons for your break up and tell him that you hope to remain friends, and that this will be the best decision for the two of you even if he doesn’t realize it or agree with it at that moment.
Give him time to process everything: Patience plays a very important role in a long-distance relationship. Give time to your partner after you have conveyed your decision to break up. Be empathic. Try to understand his point of view. The breakup may be too sudden, shocking, and stressful for your partner. Listen patiently to him if he starts to pour out his feelings. Let him say his part. Don’t rush your partner to respond immediately. But also remember not to allow him to play with your emotions. Always stick to your decision once you have conveyed it. Stay calm if your partner is accusing you or holding you responsible for the mess in your relationship. This way, you can avoid any unnecessary arguments and can end your long-distance relationship in a peaceful manner.
Return any of your partner’s possessions that you’re still holding on to: Having things belonging to your partner will remind you of him even after a breakup. Make arrangements to return your partner’s possessions to them, either by mailing them to him or asking him what he’d like you to do with them. You can also tell him that you will leave the things with a common friend and he can have them collected. It’s a small gesture but knowing that you’re magnanimous enough to respect his things can entirely change the way he looks at this beakup. Don’t delay the process or you will end up hanging around with his possessions and the thoughts and emotions associated with them.
Avoid saving the break up for a vacation or a long trip: Never wait to convey your decision to break up your long-distance relationship. If you think you can wait till you both meet up for a vacation or a long trip to convey your break up, think twice because it is going to be difficult. The thought of breaking up will slowly fade away during the vacation. You will be busy enjoying the trip or vacation with your partner. Once you return, you’ll find the same frustration creeping in and you will keep struggling with the relationship.
Avoid making a scene: If you are meeting up in person to discuss the breakup, don’t choose a public place like a restaurant, a bar, or a mall, where there are people around and no privacy. Try to meet up at a common friend’s place or a park, where it’s less crowded. The reason behind this is that one of you might lose your cool and raise your voice or even break down, creating a scene. Try to leave immediately after you finish the conversation, even if he’s completely okay with it and seems to be taking it well. It might just be the “I’m okay” mask he’s wearing while he’s seething inside and plotting his next move. No, he’s not a movie villain but you still need to walk away after ending it.
Understanding your feelings: You’re probably stressed out thinking of this impending breakup. It is a good idea to list out the things that make you uncomfortable, unhappy, and incomplete in this long-distance relationship - if only to sort things out in your head. It could be the distance or a lack of physical intimacy, lack of communication from your partner, lack of motivation and moral support, or you feel there’s simply no life in your relationship anymore. It is also advisable to make a list of the good things and the bad things in your long-distance relationship. After weighing the pros and cons, make your decision. Make sure this is what you want and go ahead with your plan.
Make a clean break if there’s someone else: You are thinking of breaking up with your long-distance partner because you have found someone who is more loving and caring and wants to have a serious relationship with you. You are now romantically involved with that person and you want to let your long-distance boyfriend know that it’s the end of the road for the two of you. The sooner you let him know, the better. If your partner finds out that you are cheating on him, he might be the one wanting to break up, but it is going to be more painful for both of you. In an ideal world, we’d break up first and then fall in love with someone else. But this is life, and things happen. So, rather than procrastinate and potentially make the fallout worse every day, cut it off as soon as you get the opportunity. Don’t forget that you’re the cheating spouse in this scenario.
Seek professional help: If things get too serious, you can’t handle it, and there’s nobody for you to turn to, consider getting professional help. You can fix an appointment with a therapist and discuss your feelings in private. You can be assured that the discussions will be kept confidential. Share with them the reasons for your decision to break up. They will assess the situation you are in and will help steer you toward the decision that’s right for you. A true professional won’t tell you what to do; they’ll merely help you understand your feelings better so you can act appropriately.
Don’t give in to bargaining: You have decided to break up and you have conveyed the message to your long-distance partner, but he cannot resist the urge to call you and ask for another chance. Bargaining can be dangerous since it can take you back into the same toxic relationship that prompted you to break up with your partner in the first place. However, he can be even more trouble if you don’t respond. He may call you repeatedly, send you several text messages, or even message you on social media till you respond. If it comes to confronting him again, take a friend along to act as a mediator or buffer. At any rate, do not give in.
Avoid pointing fingers: This is exactly what happens in most long-distance relationships. When you break up, the blame game starts and you begin accusing each other for not putting enough effort to make the relationship work. Avoid blaming your partner and don’t offer to take the blame on yourself. It will only make things worse. You are breaking up because things just simply did not work out, so stop blaming each other. You haven’t seen your partner for months or years. The thought of not having him physically with you and the absence of physical intimacy and various other things has driven you to take this decision. It is better to call off the relationship if it is not working. Always remember that time will heal everything. You will realize with time that there is something better in store for you.
Is this the end?
Finally, think long and hard about whether you want to end your long-distance relationship with your boyfriend. Talk to your partner about your feelings, and if he feels the same way, then call off the relationship mutually. Both of you can take time and think about things objectively. Most of the time, there’s no going back to the relationship the way it was, and both partners know this even if they won’t admit it. If it is a yes from both of you, then go ahead and break up in a friendly manner. This is not the end! You each have a life to live that doesn't end when you break it off. And there is nothing wrong with making the right decision for yourself and your long-distance boyfriend.