Ending a relationship is scary and complicated. You never know how the other person will react, but you can learn how to end a relationship on good terms.
If you are asking yourself how to end a relationship on good terms, you are already ahead of the curve. Most people ghost so they don’t have to face the breakup at all. What cowards!
But there are ways to end a relationship on good terms. All you have to do is be honest, communicate, and let them react in their own way. It is not as complicated and difficult as ghosters think. As long as you have a bit of compassion, you can easily learn how to end a relationship on good terms.
Why do you want to end a relationship on good terms?
Do you want to remain friends? Do you want to avoid drama at work or at school? Do you just want to be a nice person? All of these are good reasons to end a relationship on good terms.
Do you want to keep the door open for the future? There is even a way to do that when ending a relationship on good terms. [Read: 25 tips to end a relationship without making it messy]
What does ending a relationship on good terms mean?
First of all, ending a relationship on good terms does not mean you can still hit each other up after midnight for a booty call, if that is still what they are called. It does not mean you can ask them for favors or use them or vice versa.
It means you are friendly. You are cordial. You have a mutually shared respect for each other and appreciate how things ended. Sure, it could mean you maintain a great friendship or want to keep things the least bit of awkward in your friends group.
It could even mean you never speak again, but also that you don’t have a bad taste in your mouth when you think of them. [Read: How to break up when your partner doesn’t want to]
How to end a relationship on good terms
Whether you have been dating for a couple weeks, months, or even years it is possible to end a relationship on good terms. Sure, it will be harder if the relationship was long term, but it is still possible.
#1 Prepare yourself. Before going into a break up do not act like you know what they will do. You don’t. Maybe they will be totally fine, maybe they won’t. Just be prepared for any outcome.
The fact that you are going into this breakup trying to end things on good terms for both of your benefits is good. [Read: The breakup conversation guide to say the right things without hurting them]
#2 Respect them. Do not talk down to them. Do not patronize them. Sure, it seems harsh to dump someone, but they will respect you for just being straightforward. Even if they are upset in the moment, the good terms will come later if you are respectful. [Read: These are the consequences of ghosting someone]
#3 Do it in person. By all means, do not do it via text, voicemail, or Instagram chat. Give them the decency of talking face to face. Sure, it will be harder for you to see their reaction, but if you truly want to end things on good terms, giving them that small bit of compassion will make a difference.
Ending things any other way says that you care more about avoiding awkwardness than their feelings which is not a great way to end a relationship on good terms.
#4 Be honest. For some reason, people have a real problem with this. I had a guy ghost me instead of telling me he met someone he liked that lived closer to him. Sure, it would have sucked, but I would have appreciated that honesty and perhaps even maintained a friendship.
The ghosting is what ends any possibility of good terms. You do not have to get into the nitty-gritty details, but be honest. Chances are, they will find out the truth eventually. It is better coming from you. [Read: 14 real and valid reasons to break up with someone]
#5 Thank them. This seems cheesy, but make sure they know you appreciate them. At this moment it seems stupid, but letting them know you don’t take this lightly is important.
No one wants to feel like an afterthought or be blatantly rejected. Sure, all they may hear right in that moment is that you are ending the relationship, but once they face it, they will appreciate that.
#6 Do not ask anything of them right now. Want to be friends? Want them to drive you home? Want them to help with a work project? Do not even think about it. You just broke up with them. Whether they are heartbroken, pissed, or in shock, it is not fair of you to ask anything of them right now.
You have been thinking about this for a while so you have had time to process, give them the same. [Read: Why you’re feeling relief after you broke up with someone]
#7 Give them space. Just because you are ending the relationship on good terms does not mean you are going to be BFFs right away. Do not expect them to laugh at your jokes twenty minutes from now. Do not send them a funny meme a day from now either.
Leave the ball in their court. When they are ready, they will come around.
#8 Don’t comfort them in the moment. This is my least favorite part of a breakup. You see them crying or getting upset and you want to comfort them. Don’t. It is not your responsibility nor your place. Not only will it confuse their feelings in the moment, but it will prevent them from moving on.
You can hug goodbye, but trying to comfort and console them will not help things end on good terms. Even if it feels that way in the moment, it won’t. It can feel awkward and even cruel not to console them if they are upset. They need to face the end of the relationship without you before the good terms take action. [Read: 12 of the worst ways to break up with someone who loves you]
#9 Let them cry. NEVER tell them not to cry. It is something that comes out of our mouths without even thinking, but if you actually think about it, you are telling them not to feel what they are feeling.
Wanting them to stop crying is more for your benefit than theirs. It makes you uncomfortable and you hate to see you hurt someone like that, especially someone you care enough about to want to end things on good terms, but crying will help them.
#10 Answer their questions. They may not be ready to ask questions about how you feel or when you started thinking about this, but they may be. So answer them. Don’t tell them that your answers won’t help. That is patronizing.
Just be honest. They will know if you are lying. The truth not only makes you feel better, but it will give them more closure than a soft lie.
#11 Remember you do not know what is best for them. It is not up to you to protect their feelings. It is up to you to give them the honest truth and let them feel how they feel. Anything else is just fake. [Read: 8 things to think about post-breakup]
#12 Be polite. Feeling uncomfortable in this moment is normal. To be honest, if you feel comfortable ending a relationship, even on the best of terms, I would be worried about you.
When we are uncomfortable we can lash out or say something rude, but try your best to be polite. You want to be honest, brutally so if necessary. There is no need to be harsh, mean, or judgmental of how they react.
#13 Don’t spread gossip. The moment of the breakup is not all that matters. Afterward, while they are dealing with the shock. Sure, you are going to tell people your relationship is over, but do not tell your friend group they cried or yelled.
That is just not necessary. You can give the 411 to your closest and trusted friends, but keep what’s private, private. [Read: 14 things to keep in mind when you bump into your ex again]
#14 Don’t show off new relationships. Even if you are already dating new people or living your best life, try to keep it off social media. Remember you want to end the relationship on good terms, and that means more than being nice in the moment. You actually have to live up to that.
Do not rub it in their face, no matter how well they may have taken it. [Read: A guide for a clean breakup with someone you love]
#15 Accept their reaction. Remember when I said, do not tell them to stop crying? Well, the same goes for screaming or asking questions. Do not judge their reaction. Everyone faces a breakup differently and no matter how they do it, accept that.
Just because you want to know how to end a relationship on good terms does not mean they want that too. You can try as hard as you want to be respectful and mature, but you cannot force them to like you or be okay with this.
Figuring out how to end a relationship on good terms is not as hard as you might think. Just be honest and respectful, and things should go relatively smoothly.