How to End a Long-Distance Relationship: The Breakup

I was searching the news for LDRs this week and came across an article containing tips for ending your long-distance relationship.  The advice in the article was simple.

  • Sit down and think about whether or not you really want to break up
  • Talk with your partner
  • Go socialize and move on

These ideas are common sense for any relationship.  When you decide you and your partner and moving in different directions, it might be time to break up.  But how do you break up with someone living in another country?

makeshift fence
Creative Commons License photo credit: woodleywonderworks

Let the relationship fizzle out

Many long-distance relationships end this way.  Both people start cutting down their communication with each other.  If you’re sure you want to end the relationship, let it fade away naturally.  I have seen LDRs end this way and the people involved often end up as friends since there wasn’t a dramatic end to the relationship.  Usually the communication becomes almost non-existent and stays that way until one person sends an email confirming the end of the relationship.  If neither partner is enthusiastic about the relationship anymore, this approach is a way to avoid the awkward breakup talk.  Or at least a way to preface that awkward breakup conversation.

Don’t break up via text message or email

When your boyfriend or girlfriend is living thousands of miles away, it is tempting to send a relationship-ending SMS and then turn off your phone.  I call that the “let’s pretend it never happened” approach.  Even though your partner is far away, they deserve to have their say.  Breaking up by phone or Skype is the most respectful way to end a long-distance relationship.  I often see the recommendation to wait until you see your partner in person to break up.  If you’re certain you want to end the relationship, that is only a waste of money and travel time.  Giving your partner an opportunity to talk about the breakup over the phone or Skype is fair enough.

Try not to get sucked back in

It is easy to get sucked back in to your long-distance relationship when trying to exit it.  Your partner may say things that make you doubt your decision, such as “I promise the chemistry will be back to normal on our next visit.”  He or she may also try to compromise with you by saying something like “Just wait until our next visit.  You can break up with me then if things aren’t better.”  If you are confident in your decision, don’t give in.

Have a heart and be honest

Being “dumped” is one of the worst feelings in the world.  Be honest and kind during your breakup conversation and give your partner a chance to talk.   Remember that even though your decision to end the relationship was crystal-clear, it will probably still hurt once it’s finished.  Give yourself and your ex some time to heal before trying to be friends.

Have you ever broken up with a long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend?  How did it go?  Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about breaking up with their long-distance partner?  Please leave a comment!

Comments

  1. No i have never been broken up with but i always was dumped because of the distance. I didn’t let him do that because i heard the tears in his voice. It wasnt something he actually wanted to do, but he thought it would ease the pain of the distance…..

  2. That can be difficult in a LDR. Sometimes the distance gets hard and people figure it’s easiest to end it. You have to be very careful when deciding to break up. Are you just annoyed with the distance or you really don’t love the person anymore?

  3. I dated a French guy for seven months. Our communication gradually decreased over time and I eventually sent an e-mail saying that I wanted to break up. The problem was that I decided to break up with him two weeks before he was supposed to visit (which would have been the first time I had seen him in 7 months). He told me to think about it over the next two weeks and then tell him in person, when he visits, whether I really want to break up. I told him in person that I wanted to break up. Though, I regretted it and I regret that I didn’t spend his visit as his girlfriend, only his friend.

    The same guy also has an older brother who dated a girl in Chicago for five years. He recently broke up with her by phone call. I heard that it was mutual and that they had gradually stopped talking as much in the past four months.

    • In Love Abroad says:

      I think the mutual breakup is the best kind. The relationship kind of fades away and neither partner feels extreme pain.

      I’m sorry you regretted your decision. It can be tough to know whether the relationship is struggling because of the distance or for other reasons. :(

      Thanks so much for leaving your comment!

  4. Ok so, Im in a long distance relationship that I thought I wanted. Long story short (kind of) I met him when I was 14 and from then on I was infatuated with him. I moved away back to Vegas with my mom at 15 and before I left, I found out through a social network that he was cheating on me with multiple girls (he was 17 and definitely not ready to commit-neither was I). So 5 years pass and last year the day before my birthday I found him on another social network and every single feeling resurfaced. I couldn’t control it and neither could he, so I thought. At the time he was in NY and I was and still am a college student and within a few days, we decided to get back together…not a good idea. Finally after about a month of talking, he moves back here and we were officially, physically back together. All was well until he had to go back to NY for what was supposed to be a week of family reunion time. That turned into 7 months. Needless to say, the spark is gone and I don’t want to waste my time waiting around for him when he doesn’t even know when he’ll be back and it sucks because I really thought fate brought us back together. I felt that way until I realized that, both of us wanted second chance. A second chance to do a “do-over” because of how terribly we ended years ago. And in a way, I thought that I would get my chance to finally be the best girlfriend I couldn’t/didn’t know how to be a 14 and 15 years old. Bottom line is, I want out and I am having the darnest time ending it….

    • How often do you talk to him? That is a lot of history but I see why you’re ready to be done. Just tell him exactly what you said here… you thought it would be great to have a second chance, but things are even more difficult than the first time around. If your feelings just aren’t there anymore, he will have to accept that. Call him, end it, eat some chocolate and try to feel relieved that it’s done and you can move on without worrying about the breakup. *e-hugs*

  5. See, there’s a guy and he asked me out. Without thinking, I said yes. It’s be 2 weeks and I want to end it. I’m going to log online less and try and have him dump me because of lack of speaking. I’m bad with breakups. :|

  6. me and my boyfriend for almost 3 months just broke hours ago. it sucks. he said it via text because he only has 3g and he can’t make calls with viber but we talked about it. the distance got to him. we were just being realistic about it. but i wanted to fight for him. i want to fight for what we had. i love him so much. but he got back to uni and i’m gonna have placement. he’s only been in uni for a few weeks and things just gets busier and busier and we barely talk and it sucks that i can’t be with him but i love him so much it hurts it had to end this way.
    i don’t wanna completely lose him. it’s very fresh and who knows maybe we’ll get back together but i doubt that. :( he’s blocked me on facebook and he’s not going online and i don’t wanna message him and expect a reply when he clearly won’t return any message. :’(
    i felt my heart drop and shatter to a million pieces and it hurts so bad </3

    he will never read this but i just want to say this. I love you Dean, always have, always will. that's never gonna change.

  7. brooke hamilton says:

    I’m 13 and my boyfriends 15, we met on kik and became friends, after a week he asked me out and I said yes, we constantly talked and sent pics, its been like 3 months I believe. In the last month he barely ever returns my msgs. And when he does he says something like how im beautiful and he can’t believe we lasted this long, I love him so much it hurts. My friends think he’s cheating, but I don’t want to believe that. He said he is going to get his parents to let him come here for the summer, that being the first time we will of met. I love him more than my friends, what do I do?:’(

  8. Heather says:

    Well, let’s see, I’ve told him numerous times on phone and Skype and email that his dwindling level of communication doesn’t work for me And now I’ve had it. Is it still bad form to inform him I’m done. The skype talk didn’t work for him, nothing changed, and months later here we are, with virtually NO communication across the Atlantic. He’s too ‘busy’, work is too hectic, blah blah. I think he wants this to end so I’m going to be the man in the relationship and make a decision. Why else would you let stuff slide so badly. After he spent three weeks here and helped me move cross country, his communication style changed 180 degrees and I had to beg him recently for 30 minutes a week, and even then, it’s under duress and half the time he’s too tired to talk because he squeezes me in after his kids and before bed. Sometimes he even has to cut it short because he is going back in to work. I just can’t feel like less of a priority; this is killing my self esteem, and for what I offer as a girlfriend (I think I’m fairly good in this dept), I’m getting very very little in return. No emails, no calls and a once a week lukewarm Skype session that he halfheartedly commits to under duress. Pathetic. I wonder if he can find somebody locally or overseas with lower standards than that?

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  10. me and my boyfriend are in long distance relationship for about 4 month now. he was my senior in high school. and i just met him again 5 month ago, at first i was very excited to have a relationship with him, at that time i already know that we will have Long distance relationship since he is working in Spain and i’m working in Malaysia. after 2 month having this relationship i feel like i’m not in love with him anymore even though our communication is good we texting everyday, and skype every weekend. but it doesn’t change my feeling for him and sometimes i annoyed by him. he always tell me that he really loves me and want to marry me but i don’t feel the same way. i don’t know how to end this relationship and i feel sorry for treat him bad (ignoring his calls,text etc). can you guys help me? thanks a lot

  11. Jennifer says:

    Ok, so i was in a terrible mentaly abusive relationship with a man for 4 and a half years, and things ended, on my way out of state , i met a man who promised me the world. im now 4 states away, and 4 months in, and for the first month, he was all kisses and rainbows, and sending sweet nothings through text, or call. the next few moths have been mentally straining. He stopped answering anything of mine, text, call, FB, e-mail, almost completely. Then all of it was gone. He told me on our 3 month anniversary the he was not able to put his entire heart in to it, and that he wanted me to do the same, because he didn’t want to get hurt in the end. I spent a few weeks crying, without comfort, and have basically gotten over him. Now sadly, as much as i hate to admit it, i have met some one else. I have met a wonderful man who has asked me to marry him, move in, and become a step mother to his 2 year old son. I have been such a coward in the fact that i dont know how to end it with my boy friend. It is far been over, and he sometimes makes stupid or crewl comments. such as he says hes about to come visit a city near me soon, and although i cant come stay the night, he wants me to come and visit him, and get a quicky. He is with out a doubt the most selfish of my relationships, and i just dont have the heart to hurt someone, even if i feel they deserve it. I feel almost nothing for him, and i feel terrible about that, but i need him to be out of my life, and stop making me feel so terrible all of the time. Im going to do my best to leave him in the nicest way possible, seeing as how he “ACTS” depressed when i go near breaking up, and says something to the effect of ” Your the only good thing in my life…” i can no longer wait around for him to coke and drink him self to death, and ill be damned if im going to watch it happen. how do i end it. I need him gone from my life. Now and forever. He promised me life, and love, and has given me neither of those things for the longest time, and has no interest in speaking to me most of the time. I thought i loved him. I dont. how can i end it?

  12. I’m in a LDR for a year and 4 months now. At the beginning, we used to like each other really much. I’ve never experienced such a chemistry with a guy. Then there was a gap in our dates. A long gap lasting 6 months due to financial issues. The thing is – chemistry is gone. Sometimes I find him irritating. I think I’m just slowing him down not letting find his one and only. I don’t like anybody else, and I feel strong emotional attachment towards him, but I feel really disappointed

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