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How to End a Relationship on Good Terms: 20 Ways To End It Gracefully

Breakups are one of the hardest things you’re going to feel, but it’s doesn’t have to end badly. You can learn how to end a relationship on good terms.

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 would rather win the breakup by ghosting them or having the upper hand. There’s no winning the breakup as both of you have already lost each other.

This doesn’t mean you have to hate each other and wish the worst for them *although we have to admit, we’ve all felt that for an ex!* When you know how to end a relationship on good terms, this means that you can continue to appreciate everything you’ve gone through together without resenting the other.

No matter who broke up with who, it’s possible to have a healthy breakup that doesn’t end in anger and bitterness. 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 you think. Just think of it this way – your relationship deserves compassion after everything you’ve been through together.

[Read: Is it time to let go? 14 reasons why even perfect relationships end sometimes]

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 school? Or do you just want to be a nice person? All of these are good reasons for learning how to end a relationship on good terms. You might think it’s not possible, but you can always learn how to end a relationship on good terms.

They were a significant part of your life. Just because things didn’t work out, doesn’t mean you should end in hate and resentment.

Hate won’t change a thing and it certainly won’t help them move on from the relationship. Most likely, holding a grudge will lengthen their moving on process further. [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. It doesn’t mean you can ask them for favors or use them or vice versa.

You broke up for a reason and just because you ended the relationship healthily, doesn’t mean you can have the benefits of a relationship without the commitment. Ending on good terms means different things for different couples, but it’s often a civil way of breaking up.

You don’t hate one another, but you don’t necessarily love them either *or at least, you’re trying not to love them anymore.* You can be friends with them, but this often does more damage than good for them.

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 of weeks, months, or even years, it’s entirely possible to know how to end a relationship on good terms. It might be challenging, but you can always choose to be mature in handling the breakup. It might be easier to hold a grudge, but it’s still possible to be civil about it.

1. Prepare yourself

Before going into a break up, do not act like you know what they will do. You don’t. Nobody likes a breakup so there’s a high chance they won’t react calmly and collectively.

However, the fact that you’re eager to learn how to end a relationship on good terms says a lot about your intentions for the breakup. [Read: The breakup conversation guide to say the right things without hurting them]

2. Respect them

Respect is the one thing you should have if you want to know how to end a relationship on good terms. Do not talk down to them. Do not patronize them. Even when things are practically over, don’t insult them or belittle them.

Be as straightforward as possible, and don’t sugarcoat things. Even if they are upset at 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

If you’re going to end things, at least have the decency to do it in person. They deserve a proper breakup and doing it over text, email, or even a call will make them resent you.

As difficult as a breakup in person is, it’s necessary if you want to end things on a good note. 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. If you sugarcoat or even lie to them about the real reason for breaking up, don’t expect things to end on a good note.

This also means if you ghost someone because you can’t be honest with them, then don’t expect them to be civil with you. They’ll find the truth out anyway, so why bother hiding it? [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. This is one of the most overlooked ways in learning how to end a relationship on good terms. Thank them for the relationship and everything they’ve done for you.

No one wants to feel like an afterthought or be blatantly rejected. Thanking them will make it seem like you’re really trying to be civil with them, even if they end up having a hateful reaction *which is normal, by the way!*

6. Do not ask anything of them right now

Asking them to be friends right away isn’t the best idea when you’ve just dumped them. Whether they are heartbroken, pissed, or in shock, it is not fair of you to ask anything of them right now. Pause asking any favors from them and give them time to process their feelings for.

The worst part of the breakup is that they probably never saw it coming, so at least let them reflect on their feelings. 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. Some people really aren’t okay with being friends with their ex as it can stop them from moving on.

Stop expecting them to laugh at your jokes or be okay with being friends with you. Since you’re the one that did the breaking up, leave the ball in their court. When they’re ready and if they want to, they’ll come around.

8. Don’t comfort them at the moment

You see them crying or getting upset and you want to comfort them. Don’t. You lost the right to comfort them when you broke up with them. I know it’s your instinct to do so, but this might make them even angrier and probably confused.

You can hug goodbye, but trying to comfort and console them will not help things end on good terms. Your intentions might be good, but it’s not going to benefit the breakup.

In learning how to end a relationship on good terms, just let them be upset on their own terms. 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

Crying is absolutely normal in a breakup and you shouldn’t think otherwise! Wanting them to stop crying is more for your benefit than theirs. You probably feel guilt or even shame when they cry, but it’s a way for them to release their feelings.

By telling them not to cry, you’re basically telling them not to be human. If the roles were reversed, you’d probably cry too!

10. Answer their questions

In a breakup, it’s normal for them to ask questions, especially if they never saw it coming. Be direct in answering their questions. It’s their form of closure and the least you can do is give them peace of mind.

Don’t tell them that your answers won’t help – that’s just patronizing. The truth not only makes you feel better, but it will give them more closure than a soft lie. [Read: The 20 best questions to ask your ex after a breakup to get closure]

11. Remember you don’t know what’s best for them

We see this in breakups all the time. Whether it’s using lines to sugarcoat the real reason or maybe softening the blow, everyone does this all the time.

However, the best thing you can do is being direct at them. Stop protecting their feelings and just tell them as it is. [Read: 15 lessons you can learn from your own breakups]

12. Be polite

It doesn’t make you a bad person to be uncomfortable when ending things – it makes you human. It’s more unusual when you don’t feel uncomfortable. With this being said, even when lashing out is easy, be polite with them as much as possible.

You’re the one doing the dumping so you’re the one that needs to adjust in terms of politeness. Let them feel whatever they can without responding to their anger with the same level of frustration. That is, if you want to learn how to end a relationship on good terms.

13. Don’t spread gossip

Your relationship might be over, but there’s no need to spread rumors or gossip about them. Even when you’re both from the same friend group, you don’t need to tell everyone how badly they reacted to the breakup. It’s easy for you to say – you did the dumping and not them.

Sure, you are going to tell people your relationship is over, but do not tell your friend group they cried or yelled. There’s no need to ruin their reputation even if you’re already broken up. Respect them enough to keep things meant to be private, private. [Read: 14 things to keep in mind when you bump into your ex again]

14. Don’t show off new relationships

We’ve mentioned respect earlier and it should be the foundation of this entire list on how to end a relationship on good terms. Especially if you broke up with them, you have no right to show off new relationships and boast to them.

Remember you want to end the relationship on good terms, and that means more than being nice at the moment. You actually have to live up to that. Even if you’re really dating, there’s no need to rub it in their face. [Read: A guide for a clean breakup with someone you love]

15. Accept their reaction

No matter what reaction you get, just accept it. Stop controlling what they feel because honestly, you don’t know a single thing about what they feel in that moment.

Everyone faces a breakup differently and no matter how they do it, accept that. Just because you want to be civil about the breakup, doesn’t mean they’re going to react the way you want them to. [Read: Can you actually stay friends after a breakup?]

16. Don’t take advantage of their feelings

You’ll make them hate you with an endless passion if you either sleep with them, lead them on, or basically just confuse the hell out of them.

If you broke up with them, stick with that decision. Don’t suddenly tell them you miss them or kiss them just because you’re lonely. Stop confusing your ex and ruining their moving on process.

17. End things the way you’d want others to end it with you

You need to treat them with respect and do everything you’d want others to do to you if they were dumping you. If you don’t like your feelings being invalidated, then don’t do it.

If you don’t like being ghosted, then don’t do it. Really, it’s as simple as following The Golden Rule. [Read: How to move on and deal with a break up with a smile]

18. Stand your ground

You need to prepare yourself for the possibility that they won’t accept the breakup. *yes, this happens!* In learning how to how to end a relationship on good terms, stand your ground, and don’t change your mind just because you feel bad.

This is also why you should never sugarcoat why you’re breaking up with them. Even if you feel like the worst person in the world for leaving them, stick to that decision.

19. Don’t do it in public

If you really want to know how to end things on good terms, don’t do it in a public place. As much as possible, do it somewhere where you won’t be around too many people where you both can express what needs to be said without the fear of judgment.

Also, they may make a scene in a public place, so this really isn’t the best place to dump them.

20. Talk about them on a good note

When people ask why you broke up, tell them the truth but also don’t ruin their image. You can tell your relationship story without cursing your ex or calling them all kinds of names.

This is not just a sign of maturity, but a sign of respect. You still loved your ex even if the relationship didn’t work, so they don’t deserve to be the bad person in your story.

[Read: How to break up with someone you love: when it’s hard but right]

So, how to end a relationship on good terms?

If you want to learn how to end a relationship on good terms, treat them with respect and compassion. This doesn’t mean confusing their feelings, but at least validate their feelings and allow them to process the pain and hurt. Let them win the breakup if they have to.

[Read: How to move on from a breakup without compromising your dignity]

Figuring out how to end a relationship on good terms is not as hard as you might think. Just be honest and respectful and you might just civilly end the breakup. Who knows? You might even be capable of friendship.

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