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Ending a long-term relationship is as easy as climbing Mt. Everest or solving a Rubik's Cube the first go 'round. Breakups from long-term relationships are often emotionally unsettling -- and rightfully so -- because they signal the loss of shared dreams and commitments. Once you're absolutely sure that your long-term partner isn't Mr. Right, it's best to make a clean getaway to make room for a satisfying, romantic relationship.
Be Clear About Your Decision
Take some time to think about your decision to end your relationship. Ask yourself some questions, such as "In what ways is my boyfriend failing to meet my relationship needs?" "Is there anything he could do to make me change my mind?" It's natural for a person's interests, likes and dislikes to change over the course of a long-term relationship, causing partners within the relationship to grow apart, says author of "Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction," Marcia Reynolds, writing with "Psychology Today." If you believe your relationship can't be saved, and you and your partner have simply grown apart, stick with this decision and proceed to discussing this with him.
Clearly State Your Case
Author Susan Heitler, Ph.D., writing with "Psychology Today" says once you've made your decision, state it clearly, with absolutely no ambiguity. Heitler recommends using direct language, such as "I've decided to end our relationship...," as opposed to "I think we should break up." Heitler adds that "we should" language invites your partner to disagree, and he may counter with a statement like, "Well, I think we should stay together." Give your reasons for wanting to end the relationship, and center your reasons on your personal choices and preferences.
Refrain from the "Blame Game"
When stating your case -- and focusing on your personal reasons for wanting to end the relationship -- refrain from blaming your boyfriend for your decision to breakup. Don't tell your partner you're leaving because he's not affectionate enough, or because he seems happier with his friends than with you. Even if these reasons are valid in your eyes, Reynolds recommends you take responsibility for your decision and avoid making your partner feel worse than he already feels. It's better to focus on the basic incompatibility in the relationship and frame your decision in terms of your wants and needs, such as "I want a mate who can equally balance his time between his romantic partner and his friends."
Acknowledge the Good
Surely your relationship wasn't completely awful, and it's important to acknowledge this fact. One way to do this is to remind your partner of his positive qualities in the midst of explaining your reasons for wanting to end the relationship. Another way is the "sandwich" approach recommended by psychology and relationship expert Dr. Sybil Keane. In the sandwich approach positive comments precede and follow negative feedback which can minimize the effect of a difficult blow. While you're not doling out constructive criticism in this situation -- as the focus should be on yourself -- it would be beneficial to offer a few nice words on your way out of the door for a clean, amicable break.
Allow Time to Process
A clean break means you and your partner refrain from further contact, at least not until each of you has taken sufficient time to process the breakup, heal and move on. It's best if you don't make any promises to be friends after your breakup. Both you and your now-ex will need to process a life apart from each other, residual anger, resentments and other difficult emotions often waiting in the wings after a breakup.
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