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How to End a Relationship That Is Standing Still

by Maura Banar, studioD

Healthy relationships are characterized by change and mutual growth. When one or both of these don't occur, it may signify that the relationship is standing still and becoming unhealthy. Left unaddressed this can, and often does, lead to increased distance and resentment. If you're in a relationship that appears to be standing still, it may be time for you to take inventory of the viability and future of your time spent together. Ending a relationship isn't easy but it can lead to an amicable end that allows both parties to move in a different direction.

End the relationship in person. Despite the relative ease of electronic forms of communication such as texting, demonstrate respect by sitting with the other person to break the news. If you feel more comfortable, end the relationship in a public place that affords a little privacy for frank communication. Allow time for both of you to speak and refrain from interrupting or making assumptions on what the other person says. Breaking up in person is humane, respectful, and difficult but in the end, will likely be remembered as an act of courage.

Be honest in explaining the reason why you want to end the relationship. Even though the subject isn't necessarily upbeat, using skills such as active listening can soften the news. Approach the conversation by explaining the standstill from your perspective, refraining from inferring any underlying cause on the part of the other person. During the conversation, explains the University of Maryland, it can also be helpful to ask questions that help clarify whether the other individual is truly understanding what it is you are trying to convey. Practice the conversation if possible, until you feel relatively comfortable with your approach.

Be firm in your decision to end your relationship. Any relationship that comes to a standstill after several months, is at risk of becoming unhealthy for both parties involved. Keep that fact in mind when you make and explain your decision to stop seeing the other person. If you need additional incentive, consider that if the relationship has been standing still for several months, will you be willing to stand still for months or even years? Relationships tend to stop progressing because a fundamental problem is preventing growth.

Bounce your thoughts and feelings off members of your support system. Social supports, which can include friends and family members, can provide a more objective evaluation of your situation. Give them an overview along with facts that are evidence that your relationship is standing still. Try not to be defensive when your supports are sharing their point of view, even if you don't like what you're hearing. Remember that this is not an opportunity for slander or gossip, which don't provide anything except entertainment based typically on false or enhanced information.

About the Author

Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.

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