How to End a Long Distance Relationship on Good Terms

by Zora Hughes

    Like the song goes, breaking up is hard to do, and in some ways it can be even tougher when you are in a long distance relationship. Whether it is the distance that has caused the two of you to drift apart, or you simply don't reciprocate the same feelings, it is important not to let things drag on, letting the situation get even worse. If you no longer feel the relationship is worth the extra effort a long distance connection takes, you need to end the relationship politely, but clearly.

    Step 1

    Think about your decision. Make sure you understand why you want to end the relationship, such as not feeling the same way for the person any longer or not seeing a future with the person. You don't want to make a rash decision to break up after an argument. Take the time to evaluate your feelings carefully.

    Step 2

    Call or video chat with the person. Since you are long distance, it is not likely you will be able to break up in person, which is generally the best way to do it, according to psychotherapist and relationship counselor Robin Bowen Siebold. Chatting by phone or video would be the next best thing. In most cases, you should not send a breakup email or text, as this can be hurtful and make the transition more difficult.

    Step 3

    Tell the person ahead of time you want to talk about something important. It will give the person a chance to prepare for a serious conversation, rather than jumping into regular conversation with you the next time you speak.

    Step 4

    Speak directly and clearly to the person about how you feel and why you want to end the relationship. Own the decision by making "I" statements, such as "I want to break up because..." Avoid saying "we," as this is your decision. Also refrain from saying "I think," which sounds like you are uncertain and could give the person hope that you won't actually break up, according to relationship psychologist and author Dr. Susan Heitler.

    Step 5

    Emphasize the finality of the situation. Don't leave the door open for a possibility of getting back together if you really want to move on. Dr. Heitler suggests telling the person you understand if he feels shocked or upset, but restate your position and end the call or video session with kind words, wishing him well.

    Step 6

    Minimize contact with the person as soon as possible. You might deal with a few followup emails, text messages, or phone calls questioning your reasons or perhaps begging you to take the person back. One or two responses is okay, according to Dr. Heitler, but after that it is time to cut off all communication so that the person can let go, allowing you both to move forward with your lives.

    Tip

    • No matter how nervous you are to end the relationship, remember the healing process will be easier since the person doesn't live anywhere near you.

    About the Author

    Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

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