How To End A Long-Distance Relationship: 11 Gentle Ways

Break up And Loss | |
How to break up with someone long distance
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Breaking up with your significant other is no easy task. It is probably one of the toughest conversations you’ll have. Things get a tad trickier when you throw distance into the mix. If you’re currently trying to figure out how to end a long-distance relationship, we can understand your predicament.

How do you tell your partner that things aren’t working out? Is it a better idea to slowly build up the breakup conversation or just rip the band-aid off? These are questions that may be keeping you up at night if you are intent on ending a long-distance relationship as thoughtfully and gently as possible. But if you don’t want to put your soon-to-be-ex through the emotional wringer, perhaps it’d be a good idea to have a conversation about how they view the current state of your relationship and your future together.

It’ll help you assess whether both you and your partner are on the same page about your future as a couple. If so, the breakup conversation will become much easier. If not, you’ll need a more sensitive approach to ending a long-distance relationship with someone you love and who loves back. 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 recognize long-distance relationship breakup signs? Relationships are complicated enough. Long-distance relationships come with a whole different level of complication. It takes immense effort and commitment from both partners to make a long-distance relationship work. Even so, the lack of physical intimacy and proximity can lead to a void, taking a toll on a couple’s emotional connection and romantic feelings.

So, how do you decide that this complex relationship dynamic has become too emotionally challenging to sustain? How do you know when to end a long-distance relationship? If you’ve been agonizing over, “Should I break up with my long-distance boyfriend/girlfriend?”, here are a few indicators that the end of the relationship is imminent:

  • 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 city 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
  • Financial burden: The financial burdens to maintain your relationship in terms of traveling long distances to meet each other
  • Feeling overwhelmed: Difficulty balancing day-to-day life and friendships with the demands of a long-distance romantic relationship
  • Doubts: Frequent doubts about the state of a relationship due to the long-distance
  • Relationship dissatisfaction: Feeling dissatisfied with the relationship due to unmet expectations, not being able to meet your partner face-to-face, lack of physical intimacy
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How To End A Long-Distance Relationship – 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 end a long-distance relationship 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.

So, before you decide when to end 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 end a long-distance relationship.

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 end a long-distance relationship can leave you indecisive and always trying to buy time. While indecision is perfectly normal, procrastinating and mulling over, “Should I break up with my long-distance boyfriend/girlfriend?”, will only prolong your misery and lead to feelings of resentment in you and your partner.

Besides, if they have no idea that you’ve already started the breakup process in your mind because you’ve been acting like it’s business as usual, they may continue to make plans for the future — both immediate and long-term. Since your heart is no longer in it, you may not be as enthusiastic about them, be it a date night over a video call, taking a trip together, or talking about when you can possibly be together for good.

This can be hurtful to your partner, and when you do finally have the breakup conversation, they may not take it well. 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.

Related Reading: 10 Noticeable Signs You Need To Let Go Of A Long-Distance Relationship

3. Discuss your feelings with a friend or therapist

So, how do you decide when to end a long-distance relationship? When ending long-distance relationships, 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.

If you want a more analytical eye, a relationship coach or a therapist would serve you much better. They will help you make sense of your confounding emotions, and find a definitive answer to whether a breakup is the only recourse available to you. Additionally, seeking help from a therapist or getting relationship counseling can help you figure out how to end a long-distance relationship as gracefully and gently as possible.

4. Talk to your partner

ending a long-distance relationship
Let your partner know you’re thinking of ending your long-distance relationship

You should also have a serious conversation with your partner before you make the final decision, especially if the issues driving you apart can be addressed/resolved. For instance, if it is only the distance affecting you in the relationship, you could consider,

  • More frequent visits
  • An extended vacation together
  • One of you relocating

Moving to a new city is a big move for anyone, so don’t make it lightly. But if it is a long-term, serious relationship or you feel that it’s a relationship worth saving, this move could save you and your partner a great deal of heartache. However, if you feel that irrespective of whether you’re together or apart, your long-term relationship is over, then you need to figure out how to end a long-distance relationship.

5. Have the conversation over a voice or video call

When you see long-distance relationship breakup signs, 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 a final conversation.

A video chat would be ideal as it would feel like a face-to-face conversation and would help bring closure to both of you. So, we strongly recommend that you consider breaking up over Skype/FaceTime (or whatever your preferred mode of video calls is). But if you think that would really be too difficult to handle, a phone call is the least you owe your partner. This is especially crucial if you’re ending a long-distance relationship with someone you love and want to minimize the hurt.

However, if it is a fairly new relationship, you might want to know how to break up a long-distance relationship over text. Again, be as gentle as possible because even ending a new relationship can be heartbreaking for your partner. Whatever you do decide, make sure it’s a clean break with no room for ambiguity.

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. Not knowing what your partner’s life is like outside of your interactions with them could create a sense of insecurity in the relationship or get in the way of you feeling truly attached to them.

However, 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. That’s why, when you talk about why you’re ending this long-distance relationship, it can be helpful to use ‘I’ statements as far as possible. Here are a few examples of how you can put your point across without causing your partner unnecessary hurt:

  • “I have been feeling very lonely despite being in a relationship”
  • “I don’t feel as if my emotional needs are being met in this relationship”
  • “It makes me uneasy not knowing what your life is really like out there”
Break up and loss

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. Remember, the breakup process began for you when you decided it was time to call it quits. But this is a completely new development for your partner, and if they didn’t see it coming, it can be a bit of a shock too. 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. If you’re not on the same page, it can exacerbate their pain. Allow them the opportunity to process the breakup, and express their emotions and points 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 your partner’s perspective without giving away too much ground.

Remember, there is no such thing as a pain-free breakup. You can avoid painful feelings for only so long. At some point, you have to sit them and let them wash you over. It’s a rite of passage for moving on. Why not, give yourself and your ex-partner a chance to have at it and let it all out so that you can truly move on from the relationship?

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 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.

Should I end my long distance relationship

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 relationship, even a long-distance one, becomes a big part of your life and identity, and letting go of it is not that easy.

Key Pointers

  • 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 a long-distance relationship over 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.


1. How do you know when to break up long distance?

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.

2. Is distance a reason to break up?

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 minimize the hurt. Even more so when ending a long-distance relationship with someone you love.

3. What percentage of long-distance relationships break up?

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.

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