How to end a long-distance relationship with minimal damage
Relationships can be wonderful, but they are not easy . They require a high level of mutual interest, commitment, flexibility, intimacy, communication and negotiation skills among many other factors, without taking into account the particularities of each of its components, the context and the relationship itself. Among the latter we can find relationships in which the members must remain separated for a long time, either because they live at a great distance or for various reasons require that one of the components has to go elsewhere.
Maintaining a healthy relationship in these circumstances is very challenging and requires a great deal of effort on both sides, and sometimes it may not go well and cause suffering to one or both partners, which can lead to the need to end a relationship. And that’s something that needs to be talked about, but… how to end a long-distance relationship generating the minimum possible damage to both parties? Throughout this article we will try to reflect on this question.
How to end a long-distance relationship: Different aspects to take into account
When it comes to breaking up with someone, whether or not it is a long-distance relationship, there are many different elements to take into account. How, when, where, how you will react…
In this case there will be different steps or aspects to value when ending a distance relationship . However, we must take into account that we are talking about a generic rupture, and many of these elements can vary depending on each case.
1. Make sure it’s what you want
The first step in ending a long-distance relationship is primarily to be sure it is what we really want. A long-distance relationship is very complicated to carry out, but it may also be worth the trouble.
It is also possible that we are facing a crisis or that we think about things moved by pain or anger. It wouldn’t hurt to talk to our partner about how we are feeling and try to make sure that what is happening to us is not simply a problem of miscommunication. It is necessary to evaluate the pros and cons of the relationship and the existence or non-existence of certain feelings in a cold way and with the maximum objectivity possible.
2. Talk to someone
Doubts about what to do and how to do it are very common when it comes to ending a relationship. Although we should not let our decision be influenced by what others think, it is advisable to talk to someone about it in order to let off steam and get other points of view , especially if it is someone who does not try to impose his or her opinion on us and values our points of view.
3. Make the decision
Once the pros and cons have been assessed, the time comes to make the decision. The fact of making the previous assessment is indicative and can be useful, but the truth is that in many cases we already have the decision made in advance. This does not mean that the previous step is useless , as it may allow us to try to objectify the situation.
4. Don’t make me do it for you
In novels, books, movies or even in real life we have seen how in many occasions people who want to leave their relationship start to maintain behaviors that little by little deteriorate and destroy the relationship with the purpose of making the other person the one who decides to leave .
Often this is seen as a way to not look like “the bad guy” or even as a way to make the other person suffer less when you are done. However, deep down the only thing that this type of manipulation does is to generate suffering that can be prolonged for a long time, and even that despite this the other person does not give up on the relationship.
If we are the ones who want to leave the relationship, it is better to talk about it directly with the person and assume one’s own choices and responsibilities. Although it may not seem like it, will cause less emotional pain and it is possible that the end of the relationship can be lived in a more positive way.
5. Plan the situation
We can’t foresee everything that might happen, but breaking up with someone is a delicate situation that can’t be left to mere improvisation. It’s advisable to take into account the time and place, how to carry out the break-up and the specific subjects to be used. I don’t mean to memorize a speech, but to take into account beforehand what you want to talk about .
6. Introduce the topic gently
Ending a relationship is a painful and crucial time for both partners. It is not recommended to let it go point-blank, but it can be useful to introduce the subject little by little. For example, you can mention to the other partner that you need to talk about an important topic. It is a matter of preparing the ground.
The other person can probably figure out what it is, but although it may seem painful at first, it’s better than letting it go all at once. After that we can introduce that the relationship has been important for us but that keeping it at a distance has become untenable .
7. Talk about it in person
While we are facing the end of a long-distance relationship, breaking up is worthwhile if the conversation can be face-to-face. Certainly, it is easier to leave by chat or in writing, but the other person may feel the moment as cold and see himself or herself as unappreciated. In addition, face-to-face contact facilitates better expression and understanding of the situation and allows communication to be more fluid and clear. As far as possible it would be advisable to do it in person .
If this is totally impossible, a video call may be the next best thing. This would be followed by a live phone conversation. Leaving text messages or leaving a message on the answering machine should be avoided, as they do not give a reply option.
8. The rupture, in private
It is important that the conversation takes place in a place where both of you can be comfortable, without anyone interrupting and in such a way that the person left behind does not look ridiculous or embarrassed. Nor is it necessary to do it at home: we can take the person to a place where breaking up will not be an embarrassing act for him or her.
It is not appropriate to do so in public or in the middle of a social gathering. The only exception would be if a violent reaction is expected.
9. Stay calm and be clear about what you want
The conversation can become quite tense and painful for both parties. It would not be unusual for the other person to react with sadness, doubt, concern or even a certain helplessness or even anger and indignation. We must remain calm and adopt an empathetic attitude, but be clear and firm with our purposes if what we really want is to leave the relationship.
10. Do not blame
A surprisingly frequent mistake in any breakup, and especially in one where there is distance in between, is to blame the other for the situation that caused the breakup. The fact that little by little there is more distance, that you talk to each other less or that you feel alone is something that is not the fault of anyone in particular, or rather that both parties are partly to blame for not knowing how to communicate properly.
Attributing it to the other is a way of justifying oneself and not facing one’s own decision . The exception can be found in situations where the other person has committed some betrayal towards the relationship you would have had, such as infidelity.
11. Let her express her point of view
Relationships are a two-way street. While you may have made the decision that the relationship should end, it wouldn’t be fair to just disappear. The other has been a part of your life, a part that we should value and recognize for what it is and give due weight to. The other person should have the opportunity to express what he or she feels about it and give his or her opinion about it, even though it may not agree with ours. This makes it easier for the relationship to end, but not with a deep resentment or feeling of being undervalued.
Perhaps the most difficult step of all. Once we have broken up, it is normal that initially doubts arise about how the other person will be or that we start to miss positive aspects of the relationship. For example, the conversations on WhatsApp or the good morning and good night message you probably sent each other.
You also probably want that person to remain part of your life and even maintain a friendship with them, even after the relationship has ended. In some cases, you may even consider keeping a door open to return in the future.
However, it is not healthy for the same level of contact to continue until the grieving stage has been passed. This will generate pain in the person who has been left and possible confusion about your intentions (do you want to come back, hurt me, should I wait, etc.).
In fact, it is advisable to distance yourself so that both you and your ex-partner can adapt to the fact that you are no longer a couple, rebuild your lives and see the other person again as someone with whom you can (or cannot) maintain cordial contact. It is not a matter of never speaking again (unless you want to), but of giving time to close the process of overcoming the breakup.