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!


  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?

  9. The keyboard seamless comfort to touch which has a cool metallic feel and is also highly
    sensitive. After playing some Civilization 5 we noted the touchpad
    temp was 80 degrees Fahrenheit along with the hot space on many laptops
    relating to the G and H keys as well as the bottom of the notebook hit 81 and 84
    degrees. Dell even takes the unheard-of step of including an enclosed subwoofer towards the mix.
    With the starting price of $1,149, you’re paying more for the application integration than
    the machine performance.

  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

  13. Hello terrific blog! Does running a blog similar to this
    take a massive amount work? I have virtually no knowledge of programming but
    I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, should you have any ideas or techniques
    for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic but I just wanted
    to ask. Kudos!

  14. If you desire to grow your knowledge simply keep visiting this site and be updated with the hottest news posted here.

  15. Ive known this girl for years since we were young. I always chased her around since i was 16 until i was 20 when i finally started dating her. I joined the US Army shortly after we started dating. Things went well with her living in New Jersey and me being stationed in Georgia for a few months until the temptation here got me. I met another woman and left her. Soon after i decided i made a mistake and got back with her. We started talking about getting married but i decided me being 22 and her being 23 was too young. (Plus the fact im young and dont wanna commitment like that yet, i wont lie) so we are currently still dating. And i put her on the back burner, and started seeing other women. Shes also catching on and sniffing me out. Somehow she knows the womans name im with. But i feel terrible. I just cant do a long distance relationship anymore. Cant take the lonliness. But Im too nice to break up with her. Im lost and dont know how to break it to her.

    • I’m in the same position! I’ve been on and off with my bf for 5 years long distance. However, I have decided that it’s time to end it.

      Having discussed this numerous times with myself and friends, I realize that long distance is not natural for me and I’m not ready to commit to moving to be with him (let alone anyone else).

      That said, my bf is my best friend and we know each other on a profound level. I used to be afraid of breaking up because I associated breaking up with losing him. Noone should be with someone out of fear- it’s unfair to both.

      I think it’s important to step out of this linear idea of what human relationships are and just because you are no longer dating someone doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your deep friendship.

      I hope that distance will help us grow as friends and lighten the temptation of getting back together.

  16. My boyfriend and I have been dating for six years. I met him at school when I was 14. Two years ago, I moved out of the country. It was probably tge most difficult and depressing time of my life. For the first few months, we constantly talk to each other via skype, facebook, etc. It’s been 2 years since I last saw him. I gotta say our relationship had it’s ups and downs but most of the time, it’s always on the down side. We always fight and I’m sick of hearing his drama about me, being the one to blame for this LDR. I’m so sick of this relationship, I wanna call it quits but I don’t wanna waste those 6 years of good memories with him. He’s my bestfriend. I don’t wanna hurt him, but I am not happy with this unhealthy relationship anymore. Anyone got some advice for me? What should I do?

    • That’s how I felt after my 4 year long distance relationship. I didn’t want to waste the memories, so I kept trying to make it work and keep making it work. But really if you’re unhappy, it’s okay to end it. Think instead of all the time you’re wasting on this relationship when you could be enjoying life. It sounds cheesy but it’s true.

  17. My boyfriend and I were together for 2 years in high school and he ended it right before going to college because we would be in different states. When it ended, I didn’t really want to break up, but he didn’t want it so I wasn’t going to try to fight it. I just accepted it and moved on. So the first semester of freshman year I didn’t think about him much and actually ended up liking this other guy. I never thought of getting back together with my ex because he had ended it so I thought it was completely over. Then, over winter break we met up because he had wanted to see me. It then turned into multiple hang outs and he eventually told me he wanted to get back together and said he missed me, he could see us in the future, we both cried, and all that. For about a week I kept going back and forth about it. He had sort of sprung this on me suddenly, and I felt really pressured and didn’t really have time to think about it that much because he left 2 weeks before I did.
    Anyway, I ended up agreeing and now I am in a relationship with him, but I don’t want it anymore. In hindsight, I realize that it was more the memories we had together that gave me those feelings because I love him, but I’m not really in love with him anymore. I am happy to be around him, but I find that I’m happier on my own and I don’t want the relationship anymore. Anyway, he bought himself a round trip ticket to visit me during his spring break which is about 2 months away and it’s a week long. I’m not sure if I should wait until then to break it off or call or skype him to break up. I want to do it in person, but I don’t want to drag it out and I also don’t want him to use money on a flight just to be broken up with. Also, are people usually refunded if they cancel a flight? I don’t want him to heart broken and be wasting money.

  18. So this guy and I have been dating for a month now and two weeks. He currently lives in Qatar, Doha. And I’m here in United States, California. It’s a bit difficult to be honest. A coupe days ago he was in the hospital for a very high fever. And so I was quite busy with work. I had no time. And you would probably think that was a selfish thing for me to do. A day later he texted me. And we talked for about 15 mins. He asked if we could talk. And I said I couldn’t I was busy with family. As you can see. There used to be time when we would talk everyday. And now it’s totally different. It has been a couple days now and I still have not heard from him. Idk? What should I do? Should I end the LDR? Or should I continue to be with him. I care about this guy a lot. And I would never hurt him. But I just really need some help right now? It’s difficult. Idk…

  19. how about talking on the phone almost everyday for almost 1 yr and he never visited me… promises promises… only promises… sent me tons of presents by the way (expensive perfume etc) .. but still not face to face meeting in site.
    Im on a edge, I want to change my phone number and forget it ever happened.

Speak Your Mind