Breaking up with your significant other is no easy task. It is probably one of the toughest conversations you’ll have, whether you are the one initiating it or the one on the receiving end. Things get a tad trickier when you throw distance into the mix. If you’re currently trying to figure out how to break up with someone long distance, we can understand your predicament.
There are countless stories of people being broken up with over a heartless one-line text message or DM. There are countless more stories of people being ghosted even in the same city/town. This experience of having insult added to injury only prolongs the agony of the person being dumped. If you don’t want to put your soon-to-be-ex through this emotional wringer, we’re here to help you understand how to break up with someone long distance thoughtfully. But before that let’s quickly assess whether you’re breaking up for the right reasons.
How Do You Know When To Break Up Long Distance?
How do you even know when it’s time to break up? Relationships are complicated enough. Long-distance relationships add a whole new level of complication. In this situation, the temptation to ghost your long-distance partner can become very strong. But if you care about them, if they gave you a memorable time when the relationship was strong, then you owe them an explanation.
But when is it over and how do you know when to let go of a long-distance relationship? There are several ways to tell:
- You might have fallen out of love: While distance does make the heart grow fonder, too much distance for too long can douse your feelings for each other
- You met someone else: Especially if that someone lives in the same place as you, it is hard for a long-distance relationship to compete with the opportunity for a fully present relationship
- You develop trust issues: Even if your partner has a heart of gold, it is hard not to have doubts about their faithfulness; if these doubts are overwhelming you, it’s probably better to part ways
How To Break Up With Someone Long Distance – 11 Thoughtful Ways
So, you’ve decided that you cannot continue your relationship long distance. Be it on account of changing feelings, trust issues, or issues unique to your dynamic, if a relationship starts to feel like a chore, that’s the biggest indicator that walking away is better than trying to make things work.
With a few hundred to a few thousand miles between you, the question is: how do you follow through on this decision without making it too hard on your partner? Here are 11 tips on how to break up with someone long distance with as much care and compassion as possible.
Related Reading: 10 Thoughts One Has When Dumped In A Long-Distance Relationship
1. Don’t rush the decision
Is it possible to make a long-distance relationship work? While it is possible, there is also no denying that not being able to meet your long-distance girlfriend or boyfriend in person can get extremely emotionally taxing. This can lead to frustration, which can cause communication breakdowns over the simplest things, making breaking up seem like the only option available to you.
Other reasons that long-distance relationships fail could be:
- Greater financial burdens to maintain your relationship in terms of traveling long distance to meet each other
- Difficulty balancing day-to-day life and friendships with those around while in a long-distance romantic relationship
- Frequent doubts about the state of a relationship due to the long distance
- High expectations from your partner in terms of face-to-face meetings due to the lack of physical intimacy
So, before you decide when to let go of a long-distance relationship, make sure a breakup is really what is best for you. For example, if you don’t feel excited to hear your long-distance partner’s voice or read their texts for an extended period of time, it could mean that you’ve fallen out of love with them. If this is the case, then you might need to find out how to break up with someone long distance.
2. Don’t take too long to address it either
However, try not to take too long to make this decision. The struggle to figure out how to break up with someone long distance can leave you indecisive and always trying to buy time. While indecision is perfectly normal, you might create a feeling of resentment in you and your partner, which is not a healthy state of mind to be in. It might also give them false hope for the future.
Finding the right balance between not rushing the decision and not taking too long may be a little tricky but you should trust your judgment by tuning into your gut feelings. At the end of the day, only you can figure out what’s best for you.
3. Discuss your feelings with a friend or therapist
So when is it over really? When long-distance relationships fail, deciding the future course of action can become a lot easier if you ask someone for help. If you have trusted friends, you can absolutely ask them for help. But if you want a more analytical eye, a therapist would serve you much better.
Additionally, seeking help from a therapist or getting relationship counseling can help you figure out how to break up with someone long distance in the gentlest way possible.
4. Talk to your partner
You should also have a serious talk with your partner before you make the final decision as the issues driving you apart could be something that can be addressed. For instance, if it is the long distance that is affecting you in the relationship, you could consider more frequent visits, an extended vacation together, or even one of you relocating before deciding on a breakup.
Moving to a new city is a big move for anyone, so don’t make it lightly. But if it is a long-term, committed relationship, this is a move that has to be made at some point for the sake of close proximity to your partner. However, if it doesn’t feel right to both of you or you feel that your long-term relationship is over, then it may be time to figure out how to break up with someone long distance.
5. Have the conversation over a video or voice call
When it’s time to break up, it can be very tempting to do it over text or even to ghost your partner to spare yourself the uncomfortable conversation. However, if the long-distance relationship was good for you at one point, then your partner deserves the effort of a conversation.
A video chat would be ideal as it would feel like a face-to-face breakup conversation and would help bring closure to both of you. But if you think that would really be too difficult to handle, the least you can do is have a phone call with them. This is an important step in how to break up with someone without hurting them.
However, if your long-distance relationship is fairly new, you might want to know how to break up with someone over text. Again, be as gentle as possible because even ending a new relationship can be heartbreaking for your partner. Whatever you do decide, it will probably not be a clean break.
Related Reading: What To Do If You Are Feeling Disconnected From Your Partner?
6. Bring up the things you are bothered by
When you do talk to your partner, be clear about what is bothering you about the relationship without sounding like you are accusing them. It is not their fault that they live where they live, just as it is not yours.
Components of trust are essential for the survival of long-distance relationships. Not knowing what your partner’s life is like outside of your interactions with them could create a sense of insecurity in your mind or get in the way of you feeling truly attached to them. But this door swings both ways, which is why an accusatory tone would be counterproductive. After all, they are also in a long-distance relationship with you.
7. Tell them how or why the relationship isn’t working for you
Distance and trust are not the only things that can come between you and your long-distance partner. A big part of being in a committed relationship is being a part of each other’s lives. This includes interacting with each other’s friends, family, and colleagues.
In the absence of this, a long-distance relationship can feel pointless very quickly. This, among other reasons, should be talked about with your long-distance partner before deciding on a breakup. Again, it boils down to whether one or both of you should/can relocate or whether the two of you should call it a day in your long-distance relationship.
Related Reading: How To Break Up With A Guy? 12 Ways To Soften The Blow
8. Give your partner some time to process and express themselves
Breakup news does not go down easy. Your partner will probably need some time to process this information and come up with a response. Maybe they would like to give it another shot or try something new to keep things going. Allow them the opportunity to process the breakup, express their emotions and point of view before saying goodbye.
9. Make an effort to understand their point of view while expressing yours
When they do come back to you with a response, it can be tempting to not listen to them for fear of having your mind changed. This is a natural defense in a stressful situation such as a breakup. Instead, make an effort to understand them without giving away too much ground.
Related Reading: 7 Stages Of Grief After A Breakup: Tips To Move On
10. Allow them a little space for their emotions without being guilt-tripped
Your soon-to-be ex may react to your decision with anger. This is a natural response to news like this but the way they express their anger may or may not be healthy. If it is a healthy reaction, give them the space to feel angry because it is what they need in the moment.
However, they could resort to making you feel bad about yourself for breaking up with them. They could make you feel guilty about your decision. In this case, stand your ground and make it clear that it isn’t a personal attack against them and that they have no right to be emotionally abusive.
11. Take the time to grieve the relationship
If you do decide to end things, make sure you give yourself time and space to grieve. You may be the one who ends the relationship but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right to mourn. A long-term relationship, even a long-distance one, becomes a big part of your life and identity, and letting go of it is not that easy.
- A long-distance relationship is hard to maintain because of distance, potential trust issues, and a host of other reasons
- It may be tempting to break up with your long-distance partner over text/DM or simply to ghost them in order to spare yourself the uncomfortable conversation
- But if your partner meant something to you, then you owe them the courtesy of a video chat or a phone call
- If your relationship is relatively new, you could consider figuring out how to break up with someone on text
- Share what’s bothering you about the long-distance relationship with your partner and listen to what they have to say about it
- But don’t allow them to emotionally blackmail you because of how they feel about your decision
- Allow yourself to grieve the relationship and give yourself enough time to heal
Grieving a relationship is not that different from grieving the death of a loved one. So, don’t be ashamed of experiencing the same feelings for the loss of your long-distance relationship. A long-distance breakup is still a breakup and grieving is a part of the healing process. If you feel like the two of you should stay friends, then that’s a discussion you can have too.
While a relationship has its inevitable ups and downs, a healthy relationship should have more ups than downs. If your long-distance relationship feels more like a struggle than a joy, then it is time to do something about it. This could mean changing things up like one or both of you relocating so the two of you can be together. Or it could be time to end the relationship. This is a discussion you need to have with your soon-to-be ex-partner.
The fact is that distance is a problem in a committed relationship. Not being able to be physically present with your partner can prevent both of you from living full lives. A long-distance relationship should be a temporary situation because it makes no sense to be in one for an entire lifetime. At some point, you will have to come together. So, if you can’t figure out how to make that happen in a way that satisfies both of you, then it might be time to end things. And if you do break up, it would be ideal to learn how to break up with someone without hurting them.
According to the research, around 40% of long-distance relationships don’t last. But this is not only due to the distance. It could be because of the increased financial burden of having to travel more often to meet. Or the loss of autonomy or privacy when couples do spend time together. While it is hard to predict what could go wrong in a long-distance relationship, it is heartening to know that a majority of long-distance couples do go the distance.