How to End a Relationship with Grace

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By Carisa Carlton

how to end relationshipWhen a relationship is dying, you need to say what needs to be said. Part of the grief in breaking up a relationship has to do with closure. Grief is extended when there is no closure.

The meat ax approach – name calling, walking out a slamming door, not returning calls, or “It’s over” text messages – is a traumatic way to end a relationship and the bloody butchering could not create more anxiety or less closure.

After ending a number of relationships the wrong way and suffering a lot of pain, here are a few suggestions for ending a relationship with grace.

1. Make every effort to have an in-person discussion. You owe him/her that much respect.

2. Make it clear what the conversation is about: You are exiting the relationship.

3. Articulate the reasons for your decision truthfully. There is no upside to re-hashing or arguing a point in a relationship of many moving parts once you have made your decision. Who said what is no longer important.

4. Recognize the emotional equity on both parts.

5. Honor the relationship.

6. Make it clear your decision is final.

7. Consider sending a card in the mail, not electronically, a few days later thanking him/her for your time together and again wishing him/her well. This accomplishes full and complete closure.

While there is no one-size-fits-all to ending a relationship the right way, try to act out of compassion and be kind.

If your former lover goes ballistic on you, detach yourself and stay out of the reactive process.

If someone was breaking up with you, how would you like to be handled?

Under what circumstances would you not end a relationship respectfully?

How can you get closure if your former significant other insists on the meat ax approach?


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Author: Carisa Carlton

Carisa Carlton is the Editor in Chief of Laguna Beach Gazette. Learn more about Carlton at .

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  1. You certainly make it sound easy enough. Now, if people would just stick to these guidelines.

    Post a Reply
    • As I said, I have made many mistakes. The breaking up process reported here is the result of many conversations and research. I wish I could respond this linearly.

      In some instances, a person behaves so horribly that this methodology is impossible.

      Post a Reply


  1. Brad Wood: Rant of a Lifetime - Laguna Beach Gazette | Laguna Beach Gazette - […] How to End a Relationship with Grace […]

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