May 30, 2024

Ending a relationship is always tricky, even if you are not emotionally invested in the other person. In some ways, it is harder to be the person who ends the relationship than the person on the other end of a “Dear John” letter/email/Snapchat/Facebook status update (delete as applicable). 

The person being dumped is heartbroken, but the dumper ends up just as traumatized because of guilt. They are ostracized by their social circle for inflicting pain on their ex and they are sad that it didn’t work out. Not surprisingly, an awful lot of people stay in a relationship that is long past its sell-by date because they can’t handle the emotional fallout. But is this wise?

Modern Relationships 

Some relationships last forever. Star-crossed lovers who fell in love at first sight and lasted the distance, through sickness and sin, major life changes, and kids, are rare, but they do exist. For the rest is us, relationships follow a common trajectory.

We meet, feel an attraction, fall in love, and might even end up married. Love turns to like, like turns to contempt, and then we part. We reckon that before blowing up a long-term relationship, it is likely to try taking some counseling sessions in person or find online therapy services for couples who need instant help. But when struggling so badly without getting any amelioration in the relationship, it might be better to let it go and be apart.

If humans mated for life, mankind would have become extinct very quickly. It is perfectly possible to fall in love several times, even concurrently if you like living dangerously. Yet we often struggle to end a relationship that isn’t working, so why is this the case? 

Why Stay?

Some people stay in a dissatisfactory relationship because they are afraid. They don’t think anyone else would want them, either because they lack self-esteem, or because their partner has repeatedly told them they are worthless. 

Other people stick in there because of money. Leaving a long-term relationship is not good for your bank balance. Divorce costs money and joint finances must be untangled if you decide to call it quits.

There is also the danger that your disgruntled ex-partner decides to take you to the cleaners and empty your joint bank account before you have had time to think it through. Lastly, there is the issue of kids. Breaking up a family is tough on everyone, but the kids always come out of it worst. There are plenty of parents who stay in an unhappy relationships because they don’t want to hurt their children. It’s admirable, but not necessarily the right thing to do. 

There are some instances when ending a relationship is the only sensible option. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.

The End of Love

When the love has gone, there is nothing left holding you two together. Some couples are happy in a sexless, loveless relationship. For them, companionship is enough. That’s great, but don’t you think you both deserve better?

Be honest. If you don’t love the person anymore, you need to end the relationship. If they feel the same way, it should be relatively painless. You can have a rational discussion about who gets custody of the cat, remember the good times, and walk away without too many hard feelings. If the other person still loves you, it will be a thousand times harder, but stiffen your resolve and tell them it’s over. 

You are doing this for them as much as you. Setting them free means they can find someone who loves them. 

Dysfunctional Relationships

Dysfunctional relationships are the most difficult to end, so you may need expert guidance to help you leave. Don’t stay with an abusive partner out of fear. Life is too short to spend every waking moment scared out of your wits. You will have to be strong, but ending the relationship is best for both of you. 

No matter how difficult it is right now, you can get through this. Seek support from friends and family and look to the future. There are plenty more fish in the sea!