How to Leave Someone for Good

Are you stuck in a perpetual cycle of breaking up and making up? Do the words "It's over!" seem to mean nothing anymore? But this time, you mean it, and you've decided that it's really over. How do you leave for good?


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    Have your mind made up. This is the hardest part. Make sure this is what you want. If you think there is still something left inside of you for this person, chances are you will go back and will repeat these steps over again and you definitely don't want to end up regretting leaving the person. Stop Hesitating.
    • Make a written list of all the reasons why things will be better if the relationship is over. Think of what will happen if you stay with this person, and how many years of your life you could end up spending on an unhealthy relationship. Keep this list close to you at all times.
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    Plan ahead. Have a day when you decide it's over and you are going to move on. Don't just jump up and leave on an impulse. If you can, talk to that person and say, "When rent is up this month, I am going to find another place" or "I'm moving in with my parents" or "You need to leave at the end of this month." This gives the person time to make arrangements. And, it's much easier to go back on an impulse then it is to go back on a calmly and clearly stated intention.
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    Cut off all communication. Even if you intend to stay friends, it's a good idea to avoid contact with this person for at least a month after you break up. Otherwise, it's extremely easy for them to slip right back into their old role in your life and start the cycle all over again.
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    Don't give in. Don't allow the person to suck you into the same old arguments, guilt trips, or drama. State your intention and walk away. Case closed. There's nothing left to do but follow through. If this person is insistent, read How to End a Controlling or Manipulative Relationship.
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    Once on your own, treat yourself. If you don't, you may get bored or sad and call this person. Call on your friends and family, make some new friends and constantly have something up your sleeve. In other words, keep yourself as busy as possible!
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    Try not to bring up old memories. If friends start talking about this person, tell them you don't want to talk about it, whether good or bad. Get rid of gifts, photographs, and any other relics of the relationship--or at least put them way out of sight. If you're having a hard time, follow the steps in How to Get Over a Break Up.
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    Prepare for backlash. Your ex may say things to your friends, family or co-workers and make you look bad. He or she may not have been ready to let go like you did. Be the mature one and laugh about it. Don't give in to the temptation to defend yourself and clear your name. That turns a monologue into a dialogue. Anyone with integrity will take your ex's words with a grain of salt, especially if they say that you're remaining silent and unaffected.
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    Move on. Remember that this was just not the "one". Oh well, things didn't work out. This is life. Be Optimistic--One of the reasons it can be hard to end a relationship for good is because it's easy to feel hopeless after the break up. Enjoy Being Single.


  • Do something productive so you won't think of the person. Keep your mind moving.
  • If this is a marriage, there are legal issues that need to be worked out, such as filing for divorce, determining custody, etc. Consider all of these factors in the planning phase so that you're prepared when you actually tell the person you're leaving.


  • If your soon-to-be ex is particularly manipulative, possessive, or controlling, prepare yourself for potential harassment and/or stalking. Protect yourself.

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