Painful information is difficult to deliver. It takes courage, a plan, and a whole lot of mutual respect. But mostly courage! So be thoughtful and sensitive, but you also have to be decisive.

This is not a post for those who want to divorce. Apart from delivering difficult and heartbreaking information, they’re barely related. The legalities of divorce are way more complicated than ending a relationship. 

That said, I know that it’s really hard to end a long-term situation, so here’s some guidelines that will help you, if you find yourself in this really uneasy position.

1. In Person Only

This may sound like a no-brainer to you, but you’d be surprised how many people tell me that someone ended their relationship by text message. I comfort them by telling them, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” 

So make sure that you muster up the courage you need to deliver the painful information. Anything short of that would be compromising your own integrity. 

Don’t stay with them, knowing it’s a bad fit, because it’s just too hard for you to break things off.

Have a plan in your head of what you need to say. Anticipate all possible responses. And be prepared to have answers to their responses that are kind but also gently firm. 

I think 30 minutes is enough time to allow them to process your difficult news.

2. Never Break Up When You’re Angry

There is no better recipe for doing something you may regret, or saying things that are unkind and hurtful, than breaking off a relationship when you’re angry. 

Of course it’s okay for you to be angry. But breaking off a relationship with a person because you’re angry carries gives away all your credibility. And you’ll say stuff that’s mean and insensitive. Plus you’ll regret it. Especially if you raised your voice. 

Breaking things off is NOT an argument.

If you have been thinking about ending the relationship, and there’s something he or she does that is the final straw, at least deliver the information with calm and purpose. You’ve probably been thinking about the words you want to use for a very long time anyway. 

Just stay out of over-reaction. 

3. Don’t Get Guilt-Tripped

Life is difficult sometimes for a lot of people. That is just a fact of life. Expect it. Though you are likely hurting or disappointing a person you care about by breaking things off, it is better than staying with him or her because you feel guilty ending things. 

When you’re feeling crummy inside, and you may, just remember that guilt generates nothing positive. Ever. 

You have a right to plot the course of your own life. It doesn’t have to include him. You are under no obligation. So table the guilt. And side-step guilt trips.

4. Make It Your Fault

This probably makes no sense to you, but I make this suggestion as a strategy. I call it “taking the hit.” Making a break-up your fault will be kinder on him or her. And it will put you in less of a position to have to argue or defend your point.

For example, if you say that you want to end the relationship because you’re incompatible, he or she may say that they will change in order to meet all your needs. Then you might feel stuck. 

So take responsibility, take the hit, and you will not find yourself in that position of having to give them a second chance, or defend your decision.

5. Design Your Exit Strategy

If you are expecting high drama or lots of arguing or tears, consider choosing a location that is semi-public. They certainly deserve privacy to accept difficult information. But you also deserve the ability to end the conversation and leave.

But don’t do it in a pub or restaurant.

If you think that your information to call things off will be accepted in a reasonable way, then perhaps his place would work.

Never end a relationship at your place. It may be difficult to ask him or her to leave. Or they may not want to leave. So always make sure that you put yourself in a position of being able to exit on your own steam.

6. Don’t Compromise

Lots of people decide to end the relationship slowly. It’s better to rip off the Band-Aid than take weeks or months of unnecessary pressure and guilt for both of you. 

Why water a dead plant?

Some people have the ability to stay friends with people they’ve been intimate with. But most don’t. So if you don’t have kids together, end it. It’s kinder, in the long run, for you to set them free to find love again. And it’s also kinder for you to be out from under the artificial commitment.


I already know that you’ll be compassionate because you’re taking the time to read this blogpost. But remember that it is just as important to be decisive in your decision so they don’t feel played.

Sometimes good people like you have to deliver words that temporarily hurt a person you care about.

But if it’s not a good fit, be grateful for the information. Don’t squeeze your foot into a shoe that’s too tight. Find yourself a partner, once you have reclaimed your liberty, that feels comfortable.

Lisa Ryan, LPC
Lisa Ryan, LPC
Relationship Expert - Infidelity Specialist - Guest Speaker ~ Loves the big blue sea, homely dogs, the unvarnished truth, and making people feel better. As an Infidelity Specialist in CT since 2002, Lisa continues to retain fairness, an enormous empathy for all clients and a desire to forge a positive outcome, with a commitment that matches that of the clients themselves. She helps couples rebuild their relationships after the discovery of an extramarital affair, a secret relationship or a technology addiction that breaches trust. She guides her clients through a 5-pronged solution-driven plan, designed by her, which has a success rate near 95%. Clients attribute their achievement to Lisa’s non-judgmental approach and genuine understanding of the unique anguish experienced by both parties when trust has been broken.

1 Comment

  1. Jordan Lorch says:

    I’m very happy to read this. This is the kind of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that’s at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this best doc.

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