No matter how hard you try, sometimes it’s best to end a long-distance relationship. Whether you’re dating the type of guy who will just never succeed in a long-distance relationship or you’ve started to notice the telltale signs that that it’s an unhealthy relationship — your partner isn’t respecting your boundaries around texting, there is a lot of digital monitoring, you feel pressure to send explicit photos, they make excuses for their hurtful behavior — it might be time to end your LDR.
And no surprise, ending a long-distance relationship is a little more difficult than ending a close-distance relationship. Because you aren’t together all the time, it can sometimes be too easy to put off having the difficult conversation. But if you just keep waiting, your feelings might turn from unhappiness to frustration, anger and resentment. Don’t let your feelings fester. Here are four ways to end an unhealthy long-distance relationship.
Understand Your Feelings
Before you communicate with your long-distance partner, you need to really understand why it’s time to break up. When I need to process information, I always find it helpful to make lists. Grab a notebook, and jot down all of the reasons that you’re unhappy in the relationship. Make sure you communicate that distance isn’t the only problem. What is your partner doing that makes you want to break up with them?
If any of those things change, would you be willing to reconsider? Instead of breaking up, should you actually be having a conversation about how to resolve your frustrations? If you are certain that this is what you want to do, don’t back down.
Consider Breaking Up in Person
One of the red flags in a long-distance relationship is that you aren’t making an effort to see each other anymore, so this might not be possible. If you do have plans to see each other soon, it’s usually best to break up in person. However, don’t save the breakup for a vacation or a long trip. The honeymoon feelings are more likely to resurface if you’re on a beach in paradise, and you might lose your resolve to do what you know is right. Instead, consider having the conversation in a neutral space, such as a city park.
When you initiate the conversation, just get it over with. Don’t sugarcoat it. Just say: “We need to talk. This relationship isn’t working for me, and I want to break up.” Be blunt while also being respectful. Then spell out the reasons why you’re ending the relationship. Keep your explanations simple, and try to avoid an argument. Remember, this isn’t a deal or suggestion. Stand firm in your intentions.
Once you’ve said your peace, let your partner speak theirs. This will probably be difficult emotionally for both of you. Once you both feel there is closure, part ways.
Schedule a Skype Call
If you can’t break up in person, don’t do it over text or email! Not only can this seem as cold and callous, but also it doesn’t allow either of you to freely express your emotions or get the closure you deserve. The next best thing is breaking up over video chat so they can read your body language. Tell your partner you need to talk, and schedule a time to touch base. “We need to talk” will probably tip them off that you’re going to have a serious conversation about the viability of your relationship.
Again, don’t belabor the point. Just get it over with: “I wish I could do this in person, but I need to say what I feel: This relationship isn’t working for me, and I want to break up.” Just like if you were able to do it in person, explain your reasons for ending the relationship, and give your partner time to process it. It might take a while, but it’s best to stay on the line as long as it takes for you both to reach closure. When there is nothing more to say, hang up.
Now, this is the one time distance might make things easier. You won’t be running into your ex at the grocery store or at a bar on a Friday night. However, even if it was an unhealthy relationship, you might still miss certain things about them or the way they made you feel (on a good day). But it’s important to set clear boundaries. You made it clear this wasn’t up for discussion, so don’t confuse your partner by contacting them or responding to them if they reach out to you.
It’s time to focus on you! Enjoy your newfound freedom. Hang out with friends you haven’t seen in awhile because you’ve been sitting in front of Skype every Saturday night. Find a new hobby. Attend local events. Get involved in your community. If you see the breakup as a chance to become a better person, it’ll be easier to move on.
Now, if one “your” songs comes on the radio or you watch a sappy movie that makes you miss being in love, don’t relapse! It can be hard, but you need to remind yourself why you broke up with him. In fact, I would consider keeping that list of reasons you make of why you wanted to break up. Anytime you have doubts, remind yourself why it was time to end your unhealthy LDR and recommit to yourself.
Ending any relationship, especially a long-distance relationship, is tough. But don’t hold onto something that’s not working. With this new space in your life, take some time for yourself. Reboot and renew. And who knows, when you least expect it, you might just find the right person for you.
Jennifer Craig is a long-distance relationship success story. She started SurviveLDR for women who want to survive and thrive in long-distance relationships. For more advice on how to make long-distance relationships work, follow her on Instagram, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.