It’s difficult to end relationships.
It means hurting someone’s feelings and, worse than that, someone you cared about once, even if you don’t so much any more. It means having to be honest with someone about their flaws – which, let’s face it, people aren’t very good at these days. We’re too used to offering up white lies so we don’t upset anyone.
It means having to have a conversation that will inevitably be uncomfortable. Maybe you’ll end up arguing, maybe things will get really upsetting.
Unless you’re confident that the parting is going to be entirely mutual and that you both want the same thing for life afterwards – whether that’s a total separation or a new friendship – then it’s highly unlikely to be an enjoyable experience.
But it’s one that you need to face.
Honesty and communication is an important part of any relationship, even at the end. You don’t have to be so brutally honest that you list their every flaw as reasons behind your decision to end things. But you at least need to have a discussion so that they understand things are over.
Ghosting is becoming increasingly common in breaking up with people, especially in the age of casual dating and brief relationships. There are tons of reasons this might seem like a good idea.
If you’ve noticed that someone you’ve been seeing has a temper you’re not comfortable with, you might be reluctant to have that conversation for fear they’ll get upset, angry or maybe even violent. This is one of the few times that just cutting someone out of your life might be the better option.
Otherwise, you’re really not being fair to them or yourself. You leave things unresolved and you cause problems for both of you.
By having a frank conversation with the problems within the relationship, you both get the opportunity to explore what you did wrong and to be able to learn from it. You both get the chance to use the discussion to make your future relationships more enjoyable. You get immediate closure by inviting a conversation that clarifies once and for all what worked and what didn’t on both sides.
It’s important to know how to give people bad news in a frank but not hurtful way, not just in relationships but as a general life skill. When you do directly consider relationships it becomes more important still.
In the early relationships you have, you can ghost with relatively few consequences. Once you’ve ignored someone long enough, they tend to get the hint. But you can’t do that indefinitely. You can’t do that with every relationship you ever want to end. And if it’s your partner avoiding the conversation, forcing them to confront it head on will help them grow in the same way.
You might be with someone you’d genuinely like to be friends with, but can’t find it in yourself to have the conversation with them. You’ll ruin any chance of staying in their life if you can’t be honest with them about why things aren’t working.
You might be with someone who shares your social circle. If you can’t be honest with them, it’s not just your ex who will be disappointed in your disrespectful behaviour, it’s everyone else around you who is aware of your relationship.
You might have had a baby with someone. How can you expect to end things amicably with your child’s other parent if you’re used to just ignoring people until they stop calling you? Do you expect your child or your ex to respect you after breaking up their family without telling them?
Every part of any relationship you will ever be in will be hugely improved if you are honest, and that includes the end. Even if the conversation doesn’t go swimmingly at the time, one day you’ll both look back on it and appreciate that you ended things frankly, clearly and honestly.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.