The space between knowing a relationship is over, and actually leaving can be a yawning chasm of fear and uncertainty. If you’ve taken the test, Should I Stay or Should I Go? and you realise it’s time to leave, what are your next steps?
I don’t claim to be an expert in leaving relationships, because I completely fucked it up when I left my marriage. I’ve learned from my mistakes, so you don’t have to make the same ones. Here aare10 ways to leave your lover.
1. Have your own money and your own bank account
I don’t care how wonderful your partner is, how much you trust him and how much you are a million percent sure you will never break up, you need to have your own money and your own bank account. If you wish to create a joint account when you get married or for some other reason, don’t close down your personal account. Each week, put some money into that account for a rainy day. If that day never comes, you can buy yourself something gorgeous when you are 70. If a monsoon sets in, you’ll have something to keep you safe and warm.
2. See a couple’s therapist
Even if you know that therapy is not going to repair your relationship, still go and see a relationship counselor. After a couple of sessions getting nowhere, you can explain in front of a professional witness that you want to call it quits. The therapist can help you both with effective exit strategies.
3. Broach the subject of leaving in stages
If you don’t have a therapist, remember that telling your partner you want to leave won’t be what they are expecting to hear. Once you utter the words, “I want to end this relationship,” your partner will probably go into shock. S/he will feel angry, betrayed, upset, and hurt, and nothing you will say after that will sink in. Leave your partner to cool off before attempting to discuss the logistics and next steps.
4. Take ownership
Statements like, “You make me feel…” and “You treat me like…” are liable to ignite a heated confrontation. The best way to express how you are feeling is to refer to your own emotional experiences. No one can argue with you when you say, “I am no longer in love with you…” or “I no longer feel happy and fulfilled in this relationship…”
5. Decide beforehand who will do the moving out
It is easier to move out yourself than convincing your partner to leave. Have somewhere to stay lined up before you announce you are leaving — even if it is only a temporary arrangement while you look for a new house or apartment.
If circumstances mean your partner has to move out, it is better to be away while s/he packs up and goes. Arranging to go out of town during this time will lessen the potential for conflict.
6. Ignore accusations, taunts and insults
The end of a relationship seems to stir up the ugliest of human behaviour. If your partner is calling you names and accusing you of things you haven’t done, don’t try to defend yourself. If s/he is continuously harassing you, put boundaries around the amount of contact you have. If your partner wants to see you as a bad person to justify the end of the relationship, you can’t stop them. Just roll with the punches.
7. Move to a different suburb
Moving to a different suburb may seem like obvious advice, but it was something I failed to do. My new flat was only a few streets away from where my ex-husband was living, and he pretty much stalked me. Don’t give your ex-partner your new address or invite him into your new home — if you need to speak with him after you’ve broken up, go to a public place. Find someone else to help you put together that new Ikea bookshelf.
8. Expect your partner to be on their best behaviour
Once your partner has recovered from the initial shock of the break-up s/he will most probably turn into the most kind and loving person you have ever met. Either they want you back or they want you to regret leaving. Don’t be fooled by this trick. If your partner has miraculously changed overnight, ask them to leave you alone for at least six months. If they come back at the end of that time still transformed, then you can decide what to do.
9. Plan to grieve
Losing a partner through a breakup is a loss no matter who does the leaving. You will feel heart-broken, confused, guilty and lonely. You will mourn the loss of your dreams and fantasies of the ideal life you had mapped out in your head. None of these emotions mean you did the wrong thing, and going back won’t make everything better. Tackle one day at a time. Be kind to yourself. It will get better.
10. Say no (and yes)
You no longer have to follow someone’s instructions or ask permission before making a decision. You can say no to anything and everything you don’t want to do. You can also say yes to things you wouldn’t have done before. You are solely responsible for your own life now, so enjoy your independence. You might make a few mistakes along the way, but that’s all part of the fun.
What have you learned from your relationship breakups?
18 thoughts on “10 Ways to Leave Your Lover”
The unfamiliar or rather not exercised power of yes and no…..
Thanks for always reading ????
Always reading? Well, your posts are authentic and raw, that keeps me here!
This is such good advice. It is often so hard to be rational during emotional times such as the end of a relationship, but it’s so important because it’s the only way you will close the door and move on. I used to just flee without warning, and not look back, and I found myself having to go back years later and try to fix what I had broken. Allowing yourself and your partner space and time to process the loss can make all the difference.
Yes, it is so much better to leave things resolved than to cart extra baggage around. Thanks, Renee.
I also wanted you you please add to your list to record any abuse weather it is verbal or physical abuse. Save texts for evidence it be for court or a custody battle. True colors come out when people are angry. Let someone know your being abused in case something happens.
This is awesome, Katie! #1 is in my book as well for women leaving a marriage. It’s crucial to have/keep your own account, something I didn’t do. #7 is a biggie as well. Great post! I’ll share.
Thank you for sharing and for your great comment, Lisa x
Smart post with great advice!
My husband of 35yrs, tried to commit suicide 3 yes ago….things have changed so much. He doesn’t talk or pay any attention to talk, just plays games on the internet. We haven’t been intimate in 3 yrs. I have tried and he won’t get close. Won’t even tell me he loves me. I tried to talk to him but he pays no attention. We each see therapists, but its not helping. What now?
I have decided to split from my husband of ten years for lots of different reasons. Emotional, phisical, and sexual. I have left many times before and always came back because he did that change overnight thing but it would only last for a few weeks and then it would be back to the same. Pluse he has a bad drug problem that I don’t think he wants to stop. He wants to live a party lifestyle at 34 reads old and have a family but not be present here at home leaving me with all the household problems and four children. I am a devout Christian and have tried to live by my vowsbut I am just not wired that way. I cannot work right now because of an injury from a previous job and am waiting for disability and a case settlement. Have went to apply for low income housing and am on the list but that can be months. Have thought about moving to my moms six hours away but it would be just a hard transition for me and my boys. I want to leave though and I will. I just don’t have money and I should have done the put money aside but my hobby is couponing so I use the little money he gives me to do that. May quit my hobby and save my money. Anyway sorry for venting. Love the tips and also love the should I stay or should I ho blog. It was just another confirmation.
This really digs deep…I read your previous piece and it had me in tears! I have two daughters (3, and 1 1/2) and I’m a stay at home mother…my husband insisted I be for our childrens sake and who says no to being there for every moment with their children? I gave up my bank account per his request since I was staying at home now and used every penny I saved on fixing our home…our home..I mean his it’s only in his name as well as everything else…well I’m a TOD on the car.. Thank you for your raw and personal pieces and thank you for being so kind to let us who are in the same boat use your experience to our advantage so to say…I really appreciate it.
Thank you for this.
I have been in an off and on abusive marriage for 32 years. He has been abusive to me in every respect and had on a couple of occasions almost hit me with a crowbar etc. I know in my heart he has a very severe mental problem and came into my life as an alcoholic but I never knew this then even though his best friend and others tried to warn me. Yes I lost myself in this relationship and I know in my heart I have done everything I can think of to help him and save our marriage but I do know deep down that I would be better off walking away. My problem is I have no saved monies, no job as I stayed home with the kids and helped him in his career and I have severe physical limitations due to osteoarthritis in my legs especially. I am trying to rebuild my life. I have signed up for retraining for computers but I am 58 with severe limitations because of the life I lived with him. Yes he has played that game where he changes and becomes sweeter than pie but it only lasts for a short time. He blames me for all his problems. I used to be a very positive happy loving person but in 32 years I am mostly angry, suspicious and don’t trust people. I know it’s over and should have ended years ago because he has been this way pretty much since I met him. I have no real friends because I lost them in this marriage. I need therapy but have little faith or trust in doctors now but that’s another story but my fears are at least understandable. I have made a beautiful and comfortable home for us and that is a very good reason I stay because it is our retirement. Thanks for the list and advice – I have decided to pursue trying to build my life back at the exclusion of him and know he will try as in the past to sabotage this but I will talk to a therapist to get help if need be because I look back over 32 years and see that my life has pretty much been hell and I deserve a decent rest of my life in peace without more anger, hate, blame, ignoring me, lies, deceit etc. I absolutely hate when he’s home usually so yes the marriage is over. And one more thing even though I never wanted to believe the doctors but in 1995 he underwent psychological testing and it was determined he was a narcissist. I have done everything humanly possible to help him but last night he told me he’s waiting for me to die. I need help and yes I think it’s time I get help.
I relate to every word! But how do I support three kids alone? I give up my
Iife for them. I dont want to destroy their security.
My husband of 26 years is a drinker. He has never raised a hand to me but when he’s had a few too many he has said hurtful things about my appearance. Once he even told me he couldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t cheat on me. And I still stayed. I’ve tried for many years to get him to do things with me socially but he’d rather go to the pub. I’ve moved out of our bedroom because of his drinking and snoring and can’t seem to get through to him that he is damaging our marriage. He will drop what ever he’s doing for others but has no time for me.
I have so much resentment inside. I just want to leave and be happy but I don’t want to hurt him, even though he’s hurt me so much.
This must have been the site my husband or ex used to decide to end our marriage. He blamed me for his failure to put his new family before his mom and dad. It took nearly 10 additional years and I was the one to leave after finding he had started another relationship. They did marry and I wish them well.
My problem is with your check list, it just doesn’t seem deep or specific enough. Also, if he had been more forthright the message might have gotten through.
I could never leave someone without more than your list. Sorry.
I also wanted you you please add to your list to record any abuse whether it is verbal or physical abuse. Save texts for evidence it can be used in court for divorse, a custody battle, or a restraing order. People’s true colors come out when people are angry.
Also let someone you trust know your being abused in case something happens.
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