How to Detach With Love

A view from behind of a couple talking on a bench outside.A view from behind of a couple talking on a bench outside.

That loving feeling has gone, and now you find yourself fixated on getting out of the relationship. Breaking up can be an emotionally difficult process for both partners, or it may come as a relief to both you and the other person. Detaching with love involves honestly explaining why things are ending and relating what you most enjoyed about the relationship so each of you can move on in a healthy way.

The Setting

Ending the relationship by phone call, text message or some other impersonal means can seem like a more comfortable way to call things off -- but it can leave the breakup a one-sided affair that leaves your partner feeling disrespected, according to the Emily Post Institute article "Breaking Up." Meeting in person, and at your partner's place, is preferable. However, if you think there is a chance that your partner could react violently, it may be best for your safety to deliver the news through one of the aforementioned venues.

What to Say

Whatever you say during the breakup, avoid taking this as an opportunity to attack or blame your partner. It is OK to explain why you have chosen to end things; this may even be the kind and loving thing to do, as it may give your partner closure, according to Marcia Reynolds, who holds a doctorate in organizational psychology, in the Psychology Today article "End Your Relationship with Dignity." This is also the chance to compliment your partner's better traits. You might say, "You have given me so much love and kindness, but I don't think that our long-term goals are in line with each other's."

The Immediate Aftermath

Whether your partner feels shocked or relieved, allowing him to express his feelings can help both of you find closure. Before departing, it should also be very clear that the relationship is over; ambiguous phrases that offer the chance of reconciliation -- "We need a break" or "Maybe things can be different in the future" -- should be avoided. If the breakup occurred somewhere other than your partner's home, it is wise to linger long enough to ensure that your partner is reasonably emotionally stable, according to the Emily Post Institute.

Moving On

Detaching with love continues long after the relationship has ended. The period following the breakup is not the time to spread nasty stories or insults about your former flame, who may wind up learning of your words through the grapevine. Throughout this period, focus on recovery. A breakup can mean the loss of a shared future, as well as the social network you shared with your partner -- and, naturally, this can be frightening. However, trying to rekindle the romance to avoid facing the unknown can backfire and impede the healing process for both of you.

View Singles Near You

Click Here

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article