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Long Distance Relationships: How to Break Things Off

By Edited Oct 28, 2015 0 0
"I can't take this long distance relationship any more"
Credit: Post Memes on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

A break up of any relationship is difficult, but breaking off a long-distance relationship has some unique challenges. When two people don't live near one another and have to rely upon technology to connect with one another, figuring out how to tell the other person you want to call it quits can be difficult.

This is because the dynamics of the relationship do not gravitate around in-person meetings. For the two people involved in a long-distance relationship, the majority of communication takes place through the phone, webcam, email, messenger or text messages on mobile phones or other gadget. When you break up with someone this is, depending on the nature of the relationship, a serious decision. In most cases, you want to break it off gently.

And also leave no room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding.

The breakup
Credit: Linda Tanner on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

As you decide which method of communication you should use to break off a long-distance relationship, it is important to consider the foundation of the relationship. Is it a relationship with someone you met online and have not yet met in person? Is it someone who is living far away because of their job or school? Or is it someone you've been intimate with?

Personal Relationship

If the person is someone you've known personally, had frequent or semi-frequent dates with, breaking it off is more difficult because you share a personal history together. Ideally, it is probably best to break it off in person, but if it is not possible to meet in the near future in person, you may have to consider another method. Plus there is the expense factor to consider. If you or your partner has to spend a lot of money to meet to break up, this might be tough. Especially, since you'll be stuck in the same place together (if you "meet halfway" or at any neutral location). Could be even more awkward if it takes place at one of your homes.  

In this kind of personal relationship, you don't want to lead a person on, or drag the relationship on in fear of giving the wrong impression. In this case, you may want to break up over the phone. Due to the personal nature of the relationship, an email might be inappropriate and an instant message or text is pretty impersonal. At least with a conversation over the telephone you can explain yourself and give your partner a chance to respond.

Pay phone
Credit: Dina Kosasih on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

The important thing is you can talk it out enough so you both get a level of closure. Text communications (in any form) can leave things unsaid that needed to be voiced. Also, if you are sure the door is to be firmly closed, you don't want to leave room for this with electronic communications, as things can often be easily misunderstood.

Serious Long-Term Relationship

A relationship which has been pretty serious with regular meetings or intimate with intense emotions, a break-up in person is really the best course of action. Distance can make it difficult, but it is the right thing to do to make the effort to get together and tell the other person things are not working out.

It is best not to let too much time pass because this only prolongs the agony for yourself and it will be more painful for the person you're breaking up with because they'll go longer blissfully unaware of what's going on in your mind. When you've come to a definitive conclusion with no doubts left that you want to break up, it's probably best to do it as soon as possible. And as gently as possible.

Internet Relationship

If your partner is someone you've never actually met, for many people, this is the easiest kind of long-distance breakup to end. While feelings can still be pretty strong due to the emotional connection made over the Internet, when it comes down to it, there has been no physical relationship, and an email, text or social media message may be appropriate. When it comes down to it, keep in mind the person may not even be who he or she claims to be.

Time to take a break from work
Credit: Nana B Agyei on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

In relationships where two people have never met, these breakups are probably a little easier to do since it can be done through electronic communication.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Breaking off any kind of long-distance relationship is often a painful and difficult decision.  Sometimes, as much as you might try to make it work, it just doesn't. Once the decision to break up is made, how you approach the breakup is important. It is usually a good idea to just be honest, while remaining as gentle as possible. Be clear in your words so the person you used to love, or at least greatly admire, understands what you're saying. Breaking up a long distance relationships is a little different than the "in person" type because you're already used to not seeing one another all the time. Without being clear, you might inadvertently leave things vague and the other person may not realize the breakup was intended to be final. That being said, you might want to decide ahead of time how much, if any, contact you want to continue with this person. 

You don't want to hurt the other person's feelings, but leading him or her on is unfair to the both of you. Honesty is always the best policy, and keep in mind kindness should accompany this honesty when breaking off the long-distance relationship. Even if the person has really ticked you off, be as kind as you possibly can. While you may not feel it immediately, later on you can look back you made the right decision to break up knowing you did it in a kind way that didn't leave bad feelings between you.

[ Related reading: Things to Avoid Doing After a Breakup ]



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