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How to End a Relationship

The realisation that your relationship has run its course is a difficult one. After all, you and your partner were supposed to be the exception. But as the age-old adage cautions, endings are a normal part of life. 

Sometimes, deciding to leave your partner is more courageous than staying in an unfulfilling relationship. You have reached this decision after weeks, if not months or even years of contemplation and trying to mend fences. 

And once you do reach this difficult decision, there’s another mountain to climb: actually going through with the breakup. The truth is, there is no “right” way to end a relationship since everyone’s circumstances are vastly different.

However, there are ways to ensure you know how to end a relationship and cause as little collateral damage as possible. Ending your relationship with grace, integrity and closure, isn’t easy, but it definitely is possible. 

The 5 Types of Legal Separation

In today’s progressive society, marriage isn’t the only way people can formalise their relationships. Some people may choose to live together as lifelong companions, while others enter a civil partnership

Moreover, some people may choose to separate from their partners but don’t want to undergo something as irrevocable as a divorce. As such, there is more than one way on how to end a relationship, depending on the nature of your relationship:

  1. Divorce refers to the legal termination of a valid marriage that has lasted for at least a year. Typically, one person instigates the divorce on the grounds of fault with their partner. 
  2. No-fault divorce is a recent amendment to national divorce laws and applies to civil partnerships as well. A no-fault divorce allows couples to divorce without having to blame their partner. 
  3. Dissolution is often used interchangeably with divorce, but the legal procedure is somewhat different. Essentially, a dissolution involves you and your partner resolving matters such as child custody and property division without court intervention. Like divorce, dissolution also ends in an order issued by the court. 
  4. Separation refers to formally ending your relationship but not legally ending it. Judicial separation is a type of formal separation, and is a procedure similar to that of divorce. Unlike divorce, however, you can file for judicial separation within the first year of marriage. 
  5. Annulment refers to the legal procedure of declaring a marriage null and void. In other words, it’s a formal way of acknowledging that the marriage was never really a marriage. 

How Do You Know When a Relationship is Over?

After careful consideration about whether or not you and your partner are working out, you decide to end your relationship. But apart from your compatibility, there are also some technicalities that you need to mull over, especially if you’re in a legal relationship.

Are you financially independent? 

If you have a limited or unstable income, or you depend on your partner for a source of your daily finances, separating from them is understandably complicated. In fact, financial security is the predominant reason that one in five people choose to stay in an unfulfilling relationship. 

Here, it would be best if you had an effective exit strategy. This will involve crunching the numbers and acquiring a steady job. While this is easier said than done, it is ultimately more fruitful than staying in an unhappy relationship. 

Learn more about how Austin Kemp can help with finances on separation.

Are there any children involved? 

Ending a relationship with someone you love becomes even more complex when children are in the equation. You have to consider things like custody and child support, which almost always leads to some ugly altercations. We will discuss this more in detail shortly. 

Do you qualify for legal separation? 

While this may seem odd, you can’t just up and leave your partner for good if you’re in a legal relationship. So, whether you take the divorce, dissolution, or annulment route, you need to qualify for it first. For example, the prerequisites for divorce require that you have been married for at least a year, have proper grounds for a divorce, and the state legally recognises your marriage. 

Is it a high net worth divorce? 

A high net worth divorce is more complicated as it involves careful identification, appraisal, and division of all assets. These include many complex assets, such as businesses, stocks, and property. Furthermore, it also involves other complexities such as public image, trust funds, and tax funds. 

Did your partner subject you to domestic abuse? 

Domestic abuse presents a strong ground for divorce, but it makes the procedure that much more difficult. You have to go through the arduous and often traumatic process of compiling evidence and getting a restraining order against your partner. Unfortunately, your abusive partner may also subject you to further emotional abuse to prevent you from escaping this ordeal. 

Admittedly, these complications make ending a relationship considerably more difficult and needlessly drags it on. However, our legal counsellors will help you address all these issues. For further information, contact us at or get in touch with us through call: 0333 311 0925

Learn more about how we can help with domestic abuse and harassment.

8 Tips To End a Relationship with Someone You Love

Here are some tips on how to end a relationship with your long-term partner. 

Do it face to face

If you’ve ever been broken up with over a text or voice note, you know how much it stings. 

Sometimes, it may seem easier to send a breakup text to your partner to avoid the awkwardness of a face-to-face conversation. But regardless of any bad blood, breaking up over text is a low blow. Your partner deserves a face-to-face conversation (with some exceptions, of course). 

Not only that, but in-person communication is much more effective than text. You’ll find that it is much easier to say everything you want to say when text messages don’t have a convoluted tone or allow the recipient to ghost you. 

Try not to do it in public

Being broken up can be emotionally traumatic, and a public setting can only exacerbate the situation. On the contrary, an intimate setting is preferable; it will give you and your partner a safe space to converse and react appropriately. 

However, if you suspect that your partner may react violently upon hearing the news, a public setting is much more suitable. 

Give reasons for your decision

If you have exclusively decided to end your relationship, your partner needs and deserves to know the reasons behind this decision. 

If you don’t provide reasons, your partner will only assume the worst. Not only that, but it will prevent them from coming to terms with the breakup. Without any closure, they will always wonder what went wrong and keep making unwarranted efforts at reconciliation. 

That being said, you don’t need to go into the specific details, especially if they’re a little unpleasant or embarrassing. 

Be honest without being cruel

There is no doubt that you have a list of reasons why you want to terminate your relationship. But while your partner deserves to hear these reasons, try not to go overboard. 

Listing reason after reason as to why you think you and your partner are incompatible can seem spiteful. So, instead, try to touch on the reasons you deem most consequential. 

Don’t tiptoe around your partner

When a breakup is one-sided, you may feel responsible for your ex’s feelings. After all, you’re springing such jarring news onto them, so the least you can do is to spare their feelings as much as possible, right? 


Tiptoeing around your partner will do neither of you any good. On the one hand, you’ll restrict yourself from saying what you actually want. At the same time, this will only confuse your partner as you scramble to sugarcoat your words and actions around them. 

Of course, this doesn’t just apply to the breakup itself, but also the post-breakup period. As difficult as it may seem, you must recognise that you are no longer responsible for your ex’s feelings; any healing that they need to do, they must do themselves. 

Don’t engage in arguments

If your partner is unsuspecting and feels that the breakup was out of the blue, they may try to protest and argue with you. They might plead with you to give your relationship one more chance. 

But if you entertain this protest and try to engage in the argument, you may lose sight of why you’re breaking up with them in the first place. Giving in to their pleas will only delay the inevitable. No matter how your partner may react, try to stay focused on what you set out to do. 

Give yourself time to grieve

Breakups can be extremely emotionally damaging, even if you were the instigator. After all, you’re parting with someone you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with. 

When you break up with your partner, heartbreak, pain, and sadness come with the territory. You may feel like you don’t deserve to grieve since you’re the one who wanted out, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Instead, you need to allow yourself to grieve, if you feel like it, so that you may eventually move on. 

To stay friends or not to stay friends?

When you break up with someone you still care about, you can’t imagine not having them in your life in some capacity. As such, you find yourself proposing the classic “let’s stay friends.” But before you make the offer, ask yourself whether remaining friends will actually be productive. 

If you have children with your ex, staying on friendly terms may be a good idea. However, if your ex was abusive or your relationship was toxic, trying to remain friends will only cause you more pain. 

Ending a Relationship That Involves Children

Ending a relationship is difficult enough on its own. But things become even more gruelling when you have a child with your partner. 

Not only do the legal proceedings become more complex, but your children are subjected to a lot of emotional turmoil, confusion, long-lasting mental distress, and possibly self-blame. 

While there is no easy way around this, you should take the following steps to minimise the distress to your kids. 

Be open with your kids

Once you decide that you are leaving your partner for good, your children need to know. You might be tempted to keep them in the dark for as long as possible to spare their feelings, but this will ultimately backfire. 

Children are smarter than we think, and they can quickly catch on that something is awry. Hence, if they don’t have the proper context, they might start to blame themselves, act out, or start resenting you. 

Explain what is happening

Being upfront with your children is important. But it’s equally important to remember that children don’t know the nuances behind their parents’ separation. 

Moreover, some may not be familiar with the concept of separation or divorce, which is why you need to sit down with them and open the floor for any questions they may have. 

Try to remain on good terms with your ex

Couples often get entangled in the technicalities of a separation or divorce involving kids. While settling custody battles and child support agreements may seem like a huge win, the real challenge arises from your relationship with your ex. 

Don’t forget, a divorce not only affects the children, but also the wider family. Grandparents, cousins and more may be affected. Organising child care arrangements throughout the divorce can be difficult, we put together a child care arrangement guide.

Given that your partner is a loving and able parent, they will undoubtedly remain a part of your child’s life and, by extension, yours too. As such, it is important that you seek closure and remain on civil terms with your ex. Acquiring closure will ensure that the animosity between you and your ex does not affect your children. 


Deciding to end a relationship with your long-term partner is not easy. But while you may not realise it, staying in a dead-end relationship can be much more difficult than simply ending it. 

Unfortunately, there is no universal guideline on how to end a relationship, whether it be a civil partnership or a marriage. 

Hopefully, though, if you have decided to pull the plug on your relationship, these tips will make the process a little easier. 

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26th April 2022

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