When you know, you know. If a relationship has reached the end of the road, the sense hangs heavy of both wanting out but not knowing how to let go. Unfortunately, it’s an all too common scenario, and many couples struggle to know how to reach closure amicably and without protracted heartache.

All relationships have their ups and downs. Most, it has to be said, have a shelf life. If you suspect yours has reached a dead-end, there are things you can do to ensure the parting of the ways is a smooth one. These are those; our 6 IDEAL tips for couples who have reached the end of the road.

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF FIRST & FOREMOST

It’s a brave person that takes the first steps towards ending a long-term relationship. However, if your relationship has been going downhill for some time, or your partner fails to meet your needs any longer, it’s perfectly fine to be honest with yourself and realise that the best course of action is to move on. Once you’ve made the decision, stick with it. Don’t question yourself or keep re-evaluating your decision. Look after number one, first, foremost and always.

FACE UP TO FACE-TO-FACE 

Ending a relationship, especially a long term one, is not something that should be done via email, text, or some other form of electronic communication. It doesn’t create a strong foundation for the future and often leads to more problems. This is because messages can be misunderstood, misconstrued or mismanaged. Nuance is lost and as such, it’s tough to be straight talking yet sincere in this communication format. Far better, we think, to face up to having that all-important conversation face to face.

TIMING IS IMPORTANT

Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll be very tempted to get it over with as quickly as possible. We’d caution against this. Don’t rush into having the conversation. Instead, wait for the time and location to be right, the mood to be just so (you’ll instinctively know) and do things in a gentle, thoughtful manner. Perhaps most importantly, there should be no distractions or risk of any interruptions when conducting ‘the talk’, and an exit strategy for both of you should be available.

BE FORTHCOMING & HONEST

When you’re open and honest about your feelings, it’s going to cause the least amount of stress. However, this doesn’t mean you’ve been given carte blanche to be harsh or blame your partner for everything that’s gone wrong. It’s also important not to make promises you can’t keep, in order to make your partner feel better; stick to the facts, the truth and nothing but. 

SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

When a long-term relationship is reaching its natural or inevitable conclusion, there are professionals who you can turn to for advice, guidance or assistance. This is especially pertinent if children are involved in the break-up, as they deserve the best and not to have their welfare compromised by feuding parties. If this is the case, don’t be hesitant in seeking advice from child law solicitors.  

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

It’s important that you give yourself time to heal as this is the only way to move on and start engaging in other things successfully. Shed the guilt about ending your relationship; once that bond is broken, it’s in the best interest of both parties to move things forward with practicality and function in mind. Take care of yourself by eating healthily, exercising, finding ways to manage your stress, and get plenty of sleep. The rest writes itself and remember; time is a great healer.

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.