How to End an Unfulfilling Relationship

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An unfulfilling relationship taxes your emotional resources nearly as much as a relationship in which one partner is abusive or controlling. Additionally, if you don't feel satisfied with what your relationship is providing emotionally, financially or physically, you can feel as if you're single. Instead of remaining in a relationship that isn't what you want or need, it may be time to consider your options. Those options may include ending the relationship, which should be accomplished respectfully, but deftly.

Step 1

Choose a private, quiet location to discuss your feelings with your partner. When you need to disclose your dissatisfaction to your partner, choose a venue where you both feel comfortable, safe and not so private that one or both of you feel threatened by a potentially dangerous or emotionally volatile situation. If you live together, use your home to have a frank discussion with your partner. Refrain from the use of alcohol, which can change the level of emotions and inhibitions in an emotionally intense situation.

Step 2

Communicate your dissatisfaction with your partner. Effective communication, explains The Mayo Clinic staff in the online article, "Being Assertive," is an approach that mirrors the proverbial "win-win" situation recommended in corporate communications. Explain clearly how you feel about the relationship, sticking to factual information and not blaming or judging your partner's behaviors, which reduces the chances that your partner will take a defensive stance that can lead to the escalation of emotions. Being assertive also helps you state your case and decreases the effects of stress that might occur if you minced your words.

Step 3

Discontinue contact with your now ex-partner, to the extent possible. Significantly reduce texting, emails, phone calls and other forms of communication you both may have enjoyed in the relationship. Stepping away from your relationship also sends a clear message to your ex-partner that you mean what you say and stand by your decision. This gives both of you time to recoup emotionally and reach out to supports that don't include the other person. Don't reach out to your now ex-partner, although it might seem like an option at times. Reaching out can make the end of the relationship less clear to your former partner and give mixed signals.

Step 4

Reach out to your supports in the form of friends and family. A relationship that has been unfulfilling also may have led you to feel isolated, especially if you tended to focus on your partner at the cost of other available supports. Use these sources of support as a vital part of your "recovery" after ending an unfulfilling relationship. A research study published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information in the online publication "Analysis in Brief" found a strong association between social supports and reduction of distress. The results of the study suggest that social support plays a critical role in emotional processing when your relationship ends.