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26th Oct 2012

Finding the Exit: How to End a Relationship With Minimal Emotional Fallout

When a relationship falls apart, sometimes it can get messy. Really, really messy. So how can you make a clean break with a minimal amount of emotional fallout? Here are a few tips to help you walk away...


It can be hard trying to find the exit. In cinemas when it’s dark, in buildings that have a ridiculous amount of floors and, lastly, in relationships.

We all know how hard and stressful ending a relationship is. The experience of breaking up with someone that you once loved is so horrific that we’ve developed something of a masochistic type of partnership with the bitter end. We stay stuck in relationships that we know are going nowhere, because the thought of being alone or having “the talk” makes us feel a bit queasy and uncomfortable.

It’s amazing how much crap we’ll put up with because we’re too afraid of opening the door and closing it behind us (metaphorically speaking, that is).

Ladies, any relationship expert out there will tell you that there is never a right time to leave a relationship. However, there is a right way in which to do so.

If you’re struggling to find the door, here are a few helpful tips that will guide you to that glowing, green exit light.

Ending a relationship is one of the hardest things most of us will ever have to do

1. Listen to yourself: Deep down, you know if something isn’t working. Call it gut instinct, woman’s intuition, psychic ability, call it whatever you want – we always tend to know when the end is nigh.

For the sake of your own sanity and happiness, never, ever deny what you feel. If you already know that he’s not the one, that he can never make you happy and that you’d rather chew your own arm off than listen to him talk about his day, be kind to yourself and him.

Listen to that voice inside that’s been screaming at you. Pay attention to your feelings – they’ll always tell you if something is right. Never second-guess them.

2. Plan it out: Relationship experts say that all good exits are always planned and premeditated. When you know it’s the end, it’s important not to do anything rash. Spend some time thinking your exit strategy through.

For example: if you live together, where will you stay once you’ve terminated the relationship? If he’s your best friend’s brother, how will that affect your relationship with her?

Think it through, make a plan and run through it over and over until you feel comfortable that it’s the right course of action to take. Practice the scenario in your head or play it out with a friend. It’s important to know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to leave.

3. Honesty is key: When the moment comes to have the conversation, remember that honesty is always the best policy. Be firm and explain how you feel and why you feel the need to take this kind of action.

If you tell the truth, not only will you appear sincere, you’re less likely to have issues down the line if you come across your ex again in the future.

4. Make your exit positive if you can: Whatever you do, don’t launch into a personal attack. Don’t shout and scream or list all the things that you won’t miss about him. Break-ups are emotional things, but when you’re the one doing the breaking, it’s important to remain calm and rational.

Instead of blaming your partner for what went wrong, use “I” rather than “you” when you speak. Rather than saying “You’re too jealous!” say “I feel like I need my independence.”  Saying “I” shows that you’re speaking from your own perspective and your partner can’t argue with how you feel. You’re the only person who knows what you feel and why.

Finding the exit can be tough, but when you know it’s the right thing to do then any uncomfortable conversations that you have to have will be worth it in the long run. Being stuck in a dead-end relationship isn’t being kind to your partner or to yourself.  After all, isn’t life all about making yourself happy?