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How to Back Away Gently in a Relationship

by Genevieve Van Wyden

If you’re involved in a relationship that makes you feel bad, or if you’ve learned something about your partner that makes you think poorly of her, you need to consider what you’re going to do next. You could always remain in the relationship and just deal with your feelings or the knowledge you have of her. But, you have a second option. You can disconnect yourself from your relationship gently.

Decide for yourself that it’s time to leave your relationship. Look at everything you’ve experienced or learned as you’re making your decision. Keep in mind that everyone makes mistakes. Examine your state of mind and make sure the decision you’re making is truly because of something that’s happened, advises Dr. Irene S. Levine, writing for the "Huffington Post."

Stay calm as you’re deciding whether it’s time to end your relationship. When you find out your partner has done something you can’t condone, acknowledge to yourself that you’re angry. Take time away from him so you can get control of your feelings and think things through. Before you make that irrevocable decision to end things, make sure it’s the right decision.

Call your partner and let her know you need to speak with her. Schedule your break-up conversation so you give yourself enough time to plan what you’re going to say and prepare for the ending, suggests Professional-Counselling.com. Once you’ve set up a day and time to meet, start thinking about what you want to say, keeping in mind that you want to be gentle, but firm, with the conversation.

Prepare to be honest during your meeting. Gently explain why you’re ending the relationship. Give examples from your relationship, but don't be accusatory, advises Sara Benincasa, writing for Jezebel.com. For example: “When you told me you’d be with your family all weekend long, you were actually out of town with your ex-boyfriend. We talked about that. I’m sorry, but I’m not able to be in a relationship where we're not exclusive."

Look directly at your partner and tell him gently that you’ve been thinking about your relationship. Rather than just coming straight to the meat of your decision, arrive at the news in steps. “I called and asked to talk to you so we could discuss our relationship and some recent events. It’s become clear to me that ...” Speak gently and slowly as you break the news of your decision. It takes time for the mind to process sudden bad news.

Steer clear of blaming your partner as you’re explaining why you’re ending your relationship. Explain that your decision has been coming for some time. For example: “I’ve felt this developing for a while. We’ve both been changing and, as much as we loved each other, I can’t honestly commit to a long-term relationship.”

Tips

  • Your partner might have trouble understanding just what you’re saying, even if you move slowly into your news. Expect confusion.
  • You might end up having to repeat some of what you’ve already explained. Expect to plan a second meeting, but stick to your decision.

Warning

  • Don’t be surprised to experience feelings of loss and grief.

About the Author

Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images