How to End an Unsatisfying Relationship


As life would have it, you’re bound to become involved in relationships that eventually lose their sparkle for you. You’re not alone—in order to find a rewarding relationship, most of us have endured a less-than-satisfying relationship. But how can you successfully leave a relationship you’ve found to be unsatisfying?

Try these strategies:

  1. Be sure about your decision to exit the relationship. Give some thoughtful consideration to the reasons why you want to cut your connection with the person. When you go through the “whys” in your head, it will make it easier for you to move forward with a plan.
    • Plus, many partners ask why you want to end the relationship, so it helps to be ready for the discussion.
  2. What are your concerns about ending the relationship? Perhaps you fear you won’t have another relationship. Frankly, the chance of never having another relationship is highly unlikely.
    • Perhaps you fear the person will be angry with you. Maybe the person will have hurt and angry feelings—this fear is certainly possible. If your partner voices such feelings, endeavor to listen calmly without interruption.
    • Financial concerns might also be a part of the picture, especially if the two of you are residing together. Ensure you give your financial situation some thought before making the break so you’ll have a workable plan on how you’ll proceed.
    • Be honest and clear with yourself about your concerns. This way, you’ll have time to think through the sticking points to arrive at successful resolutions for each issue.
  3. Decide where and when the discussion will take place. Select a location that’s safe, quiet, and appropriate for the discussion. If you fear for your safety, seek professional advice about how to disengage from the relationship.
    • Although you may have no such fears, you might have concerns the other person will manipulate you to stay. If so, it’s wise to have a friend or family member nearby who can step in and help you if needed.
    • Plan to get to the point quickly, share your reasons if asked, and outline your plan for leaving if you live together.
  4. Speak honestly and say you’re sorry. Use a caring tone of voice and appropriate language as you share your intentions. For example:
    • “I’ve been unhappy with our relationship over the past few months. I’ve decided to go my own way. I’m sorry but I feel this is the right thing to do.” 
    • “There have been some changes between us recently and I’ve decided to move out. I’m sorry.”
    • “I’m sorry to say this but I no longer want to be in the relationship with you.”
  5. Use polite language and avoid negative emotions. Although you’ll likely feel hurt and angry, watch your phrasing. Rather than, “You never…” or “You always…” start with, “I am unhappy because we don’t spend enough time together” or “I feel like my friends and family aren’t welcome in our home.”  
    • Avoid finger-pointing and blaming. Be confident and keep your cool.
  6. Observe your partner’s reaction and listen. Your partner may feel like sharing their own feelings, so be ready to listen. When they finish speaking, say briefly, “I’m sorry I’ve hurt you.” However, stay focused on your desired result to end the relationship.
  8. Refrain from prolonging the discussion. Avoid getting pulled into an argument. State succinctly your plan to exit the relationship and a few brief reasons why. Then, share your timeline. “After this discussion, I’m going back to the house to get my things together to leave today.”

Ending an unsatisfying relationship can be difficult. However, your life will improve when you take control and make decisions that are right for you. Be optimistic that you’re making the best choice you can. Embrace this change and move forward.


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