Tying the Knot or Cutting the Tie? How to End a Long-Term Relationship

You've talked about where you want to live together, how you'll decorate your future house, possibly how many kids you two will have, and even argued on the type of dog you'll be adopting. But now, all of those ideas seem less exciting to you. In fact, you don't want any of it. It seems so unrealistic that you feel like a fraud every time the conversations are brought up–and the hardest part? Your S/O isn't on the same page, and they're already planning out ideas for your next anniversary.

So how does one circumnavigate the treacherous, seemingly impossible-to-cross pathway that is ending a long-term relationship? Well, let me walk you through it.

Let’s talk about why this is so hard. Like, SO hard:

You don't want to let anyone down. You're a good person, but you know you're going to hurt someone pretty badly. You've become close to their family and there's no way you'll find another cool mom like theirs that you'd go to a yoga class or brunch with. You're afraid to hear "your songs" on the radio because you know you'll get uber-sentimental. You’re afraid you won’t find someone like them. Maybe you share a lot of the same friends (do you have to break up with your friend group, too?). Or what if you run into your potential ex while you're out? They may go to the same gym, library, and clubs that you do. And the worst "what if" of them all when it comes to the actual breakup: What if they don't take it the right way?

All of these penetrating thoughts are normal and completely valid.

I'm sure you could go on all day about the worries not listed here, but I think we both know that won't necessarily help the situation.

Why are you feeling this way?

One of the most important things is to be honest with yourself and with them. What are the real reasons you want to end things? It is really because they never want to bake brownies with you at midnight, or is it because you feel like there's so much more out there for you to experience? Maybe you've realized the two of you actually wouldn't make a great pair in the long-run. Yeah, you get along, but he wants to live in a quiet, forested area and you want to live in a big city. These are important details, and you don't want to look back and think that you settled into someone else's lifestyle, when you should have been striving to live the life you wanted to.

They've done nothing wrong.

They've actually been a great partner, but you simply don't want to be in a relationship anymore. You find yourself glancing more often at people on the street that you deem attractive, or thinking about that one ex from seventh grade who wasn't too cute at the time, but is most definitely cute now. Your current S/O is sweet as can be, but you just feel…stale. You hold hands with them and it's like holding hands with your sibling. You don't even feel yourself around them anymore. Nothing's wrong, but things most definitely aren't right.

Whatever the case, how can you break up with someone if you can't even tell them what they can fix because they've done nothing wrong?

The truth is that you could have the perfect relationship according to the books (whatever made-up books those may be), but if you just aren't feeling it anymore, that's enough reason as any to end any kind of relationship with someone–long-term or not. This is your life.

Okay, but how do I break up with them?

This was a pressing question that ran through my head for weeks when I woke up and when I went to sleep. Looking back at my breakup, the best piece of advice I can give is to be honest and organic. Sure, it helps to rehearse it in your head over and over again, but this will eventually make you more stressed than prepared.

Chances are, your S/O has caught the vibes that something is wrong. It's in your best interest to just tell them exactly how you feel – because you deserve to get it off your chest, but they also deserve to know. You wouldn't want someone to drag along a relationship with you just because they were scared to end it, and you sure as hell wouldn't want them to completely sugar-coat a breakup either.

It's scary. I know. You'll more likely than not have nights filled with tears (and hopefully a pint of Ben & Jerry's ~dairy free~ ice cream next to you). Tears are a nice reminder that you're human, embrace your emotions. But you will also feel so extremely empowered that you did what was in YOUR best interest, to move forward. Because you have to love yourself first.

Just some things to do after:

Try to occupy your time with friends and family. Journal your feelings. Pick up those hobbies that you've always wanted to but never did. Sign up for a yoga class. Pick up an instrument. Download a meditation app. Listen to new music. Read that book you keep staring at but never pick up. Take a deep breath, maybe three, or five or ten. Go for a run. Lay off social media. Cook a healthy meal!

The sun will come up tomorrow, that I can promise. Go be your empowered self, and empower others along the way.

All gifs courtesy of Giphy.