How to Break Up From a Long-Term Relationship

by Christol Weber

Breaking up from a long-term relationship can be one of the more difficult things you'll do in your lifetime. It takes courage, honesty and personal integrity to admit that a relationship is not working and to acknowledge to your partner that he or she is not the right one for you. You must have clear boundaries and a vivid sense of future expectation. Unfortunately, no matter how prepared you are, the process of breaking up can be painful.

How to Say Goodbye

Meet in person. Many "dumpers" prefer impersonal electronic break-ups through social networks or text messages. This is not clear enough, and it is disrespectful. An impersonal electronic break-up might allow the "dumpee" to feel that your message is not legitimate. People often say irrational things out of anger in an email or text message. A break-up from a long-term relationship needs to be more formal. It does not have to be an angry encounter; it can happen over dinner. This expresses to the other person that you still have respect for him, but you no longer want to be in a romantic relationship. Your partner will be more likely to take you seriously if you are face-to-face.

Tell your partner how you feel. Your words don't have to be cruel, nor must you sugar-coat your feelings. Speak honestly, and admit that you want to move on. "Dumpees" might feel compelled to try and save a relationship even when the "dumper" does not want it to be saved, so be clear. If it's over, say, "It's over." Do not back down if you are sure this is what you want.

Turn off your phone and ignore your social networking for awhile. Your estranged other may feel the need to call and win you back, or "plead" text you. He may leave cruel messages on your social network page, or even sweet nothings for all your friends to see. Give him time to cool, and give yourself time to recuperate.

Hang out with friends. Reconnect with who you were before you were dating, and accept support. It's tough to let go, even if you are the one who instigated it.


  • Tell your family and friends what you are planning on doing. This may help you stay true to your convictions.


  • If you are in an abusive relationship, a break-up may require a mediator or a protective order of abuse.
  • If you have children with the person you are breaking up with, separating may be more difficult.
  • If you work for the person you are breaking up with, you may need to approach the situation even more delicately, to protect your professional interests.

About the Author

Christol Weber began her writing career in 2001. Her poems have appeared in "Mindcrank," a local music magazine, as well as in various online publications. Weber is finishing her Bachelor of Arts in sociology at Fort Hays State University.

Photo Credits

  • broken heart shaped rose image by dwags from