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Breaking up

If all efforts to resolve relationship difficulties fail, you will need to decide whether you wish to finish it. Take your time, perhaps talk to a friend – preferably one who doesn’t hate his guts and won’t just agree with you. In the final analysis you will need to ask yourself: will I be happier with him in or out of my life? If you decide to finish the relationship:

  • Tell him face-to-face, difficult though this may be for both of you
  • Try and stay calm and adopt non-threatening body language
  • Tell him that you want the relationship to end and explain the reasons
  • Avoid embarrassment, humiliation or blame
  • Be honest, straightforward but tactful
  • Give him time to talk and listen to what he has to say
  • Remember: he might try to persuade you to stay, so you need to be clear that you have reached the best decision you can before talking to him. If you start wavering, you could be open to accusations of emotional blackmail or ‘crying wolf’
  • Own what you say and the decisions you take

Some relationships work, others don’t, many reach a natural conclusion. It’s best that we recognise it and move on rather than being swallowed up by unhappiness, boredom and resentment. Some relationships are short but have been bursting with life while others simply rumble on interminably – a marriage of convenience devoid of warmth and love.

Before you throw your hands up in despair try and recognise that it is the quality of a relationship that matters most, not necessarily its length. Eventually though, it’s often changes in our emotional, physical, and spiritual needs – combined with other interests and lifestyles – which outgrow relationships however hard we have tried.

Gay men have a remarkable capacity to remain close friends with their ex-partners and if there is a possibility of bringing a relationship to a civil close, do so. However, don’t feel you have to. Discuss your feelings, remember the good times, reflect on the not-so-good times. Tie up any practical matters, eg: property, furniture, personal possessions, and legal/money matters.

Recognise that breaking up is hard and can be very emotional, but ending a relationship on an even note makes its much easier to let go and move on. It will be at times like these that your friends are all-important. Good friends are a selfless bunch and you’ll be able to be wistful, whinge and cry your little heart out. Mind you, some won’t miss the opportunity to say something like "…what you need is another man" or "…you’ll get over it." Just slap them and cross them off your Christmas card list.

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