How To Leave Someone You Love Respectfully: 30 Steps & Questions (2024)

When the time comes to leave someone you love, it can be one of the most difficult things you will ever do.

But if you follow these 27 steps and questions, you can do it with respect and dignity.

As a relationship coach, I helped many clients to prevent regret, guilt, and wrong decisions.

Let’s go right into it.

How To Leave Someone You Love Respectfully

1. Did I communicate my needs?

One of the first things you need to ask yourself is if you communicated your needs to your partner clearly.

Did you tell them CLEARLY, what you need from them in order to be happy?

If your answer is a no, then it’s not fair to end the relationship right now.

You should at least give your partner a chance to make things right.

2. Do I know my needs?

Do you actually know what your needs are?

  • Do you need space?
  • Time to yourself?
  • More physical closeness & intimacy?

Explore what you really need in order to feel happy.

How To Leave Someone You Love
Pexels by Vera Arsic

3. Did I mention that ending the relationship is on the table?

If you never communicated that leaving is an option for you, then how could they have known?

You need to make it clear that you’re not happy and that you’re considering ending things.

They might not know how serious you are unless you say something.

4. Was I the best version of myself?

Did I really show my best version in the relationship and become a better person?

If not, you might want to try that and see if this changes anything on your partner’s side.

This goes along with the next Question…

5. Did I fulfill all my partner’s needs?

Instead of focusing on your needs, did you try to solely focus on your partner’s needs?

If not I highly recommend that.

Ask your partner:

  • What do you need from me to feel fully happy and fulfilled?
  • What can I do to deepen our connection?

This is often the holy grail and can turn things.

If you give them what they need, it can often lead to a shift in the dynamics of a relationship.

I also highly recommend the bestseller book: The 7 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

6. Do you fantasize about how great a relationship would be with another person?

Our brain tends to paint vivid pictures of how great life would be with another person.

“If just the right person would come along to make me finally happy.”

Or we actually have someone in mind, with whom life would be great.

This is a big trap called “The Grass Is Greener Syndrome“.

Make sure you don’t fall for this one otherwise the chances are high, that you find yourself in the same position a couple of years later.

Pexels by Tim Douglas

7. Real Life vs. Hollywood

Unhappy endings are unfortunately all too common in life and in our modern world.

True Love is shown in a wrong light by Hollywood. 

Most people think the loved one has to make us happy.

If you’re considering leaving someone you love because your relationship is struggling, think again.

If you want something to work out, you need to be willing to put in the effort.

It’s unrealistic and impractical to expect a romantic relationship to be effortless and simple, as that is not how life works.

Love isn’t a fairy tale.

It needs the endurance of two committed individuals.

8. Why I’m leaving?

Ask yourself :

What are the REAL reasons I want to leave?

And not the surface level ones like: “they don’t understand me” or “we don’t have anything in common anymore.”

Try to dig deeper.

Is there something you’re afraid of?

Do you need more space for yourself?

Is there too much pressure?

Do you feel like you’re not being seen or heard?

Do you feel like your partner is not present?

The more specific and honest you can be with yourself, the easier it will be for you to communicate this to your partner.

And the better are the chances they might actually understand what’s going on for you.

9. What value brings my partner into my life?

Do a little thought experiment:

How would your life look like without your partner?

What value or contribution do they bring into your life?

Make a list of at least three things and try to really feel how valuable these things are for you.

This will help you realize how much you actually benefit from being in this relationship.

10. Eliminate other “I Should Have” Regret Reasons

The above-mentioned reasons are causing the most regrets after leaving a relationship.

So, before you make the final decision make sure you can check all of the above.

What else could cause regret in the future?

Be sure to eliminate every possible other reason for regret before you take the final decision.

Related: Expert Tips To Consider Before Leaving A Relationship

11. What are the consequences of leaving?

How will it affect your partner’s life if you end things?

Their career?

Their and your relationship with friends and family members?

12. Do it in person!

Even if it is the hardest part, you will feel better about it later if you treat your partner with respect. It’s the right decision to take. Your partner deserves it.

Therefore make sure you break up in person and not via text message, e-mail, or any other way.

You might be tempted to do it that way because it feels less painful.

But trust me, it will only make things worse for both of you!

It’s always best (and more respectful) to have a face-to-face conversation.

13. Both you and your partner should be crystal clear

Don’t sugarcoat things. Be very clear and specific about your reasons for leaving.

The more honest and open you are, the better it will be for both of you in the long run.

14. Avoid Blaming or Name-Calling

Even if it’s tempting, try to avoid the “blame game” or name-calling during the conversation.

It will only escalate the situation.

15. Only use “I messages”

Instead of blaming focus only on your side of the occasion.

  • I feel like…
  • For a long time, I tried to…

16. Mention positive aspects of your partner

Instead of blaming or telling your partner they are the wrong person, focus on the positive.

Tell them about the positive personality traits you highly appreciate.

17. Not a good fit

Point out why you think you aren’t a good fit as a couple.

Focus on objective reasons why your character traits and personalities aren’t a good fit.

18. Don’t stay friends.

Don’t try to be friends with your ex right after the breakup.

It will only make things harder for both of you.

Give each other some time and space to heal first.

You can eventually be friends again later when the initial pain is gone.

19. Your Partner doesn’t have to agree with your view

Don’t expect your partner to agree with your decision or view.

The most important thing is that you communicate calmly and respectfully.

20. It’s okay to cry

If you need to, it’s absolutely normal to cry during the conversation.

It will show how much this decision is costing you.

21. Avoid False Hope and respect each person’s feelings

Don’t send mixed signals or give your partner false hopes that you might change your mind later.

It’s not fair to them.

Also genuinely respect your partner’s feelings and hold space for them.

22. Don’t question your decision afterward

Once you’ve made the decision, stick to it.

Don’t start questioning yourself afterward.

23. Avoid any type of contact for some time

After the break-up, it’s best to avoid any type of contact with your ex for some time.

You both need time and space to heal from the break-up.

24. Set boundaries

It’s important to set some boundaries after the break-up.

For example, you might want to avoid going to places where you used to go together or seeing mutual friends for a while.

25. Give yourself time to grieve

Allow yourself to grieve the breakup and feel the hurt and loss of the relationship.

It’s normal to have difficult emotions, negative feelings or better said intense feelings like

  • feeling sad,
  • anger,
  • feel guilty,
  • feel unhappy,
  • feeling scared after a break-up.

Seek professional advice if you feel you can’t get out of it yourself.

But often it is a normal process of emotional pain.

Even if it looks extremely difficult moving forward from this place, but after some time passes everything looks better again.

26. Seek support from loved ones

If you need support, reach out to your friends and family members.

They will be there for you during this difficult time.

27. Talk to a therapist

If you’re finding it hard to cope with the breakup, consider getting professional help. Talking to a therapist can support your healing process and open a new perspective.

They can help you work through your emotions and get through this tough time.

Make mental health a priority.

28. Get rid of reminders of your ex

Get rid of any reminders of your ex, such as photos, gifts, or clothing.

Seeing these things will only make it harder for you to move on

29. Focus on Friends & Hobbies

Finally, spend time with your friends and enjoy your hobbies.

Do things that make you happy and keep you busy.

Create or find a support group to avoid slipping too much into a dark place.

This will help you move on from the relationship and start to heal.

Pexel by cottonbro

30. Take care of yourself

It’s important to take care of yourself during this time. 

Make sure to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. 

Avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the pain. 

These things will only make you feel worse in the long run.

Breaking up with someone you love is never easy. But if you do it in a respectful way, it can help both of you to move.


How do you deal with leaving someone you love?

Cut contact for a while. Focus on yourself, friends & hobbies. Allow yourself to be sad. Take your time to heal. Spend time with your best friend.

Related: Ways To Cope When People Leave You Alone

Can you leave someone and still love them?

It’s important to remember that you can love someone and still choose to leave the relationship. Even if it’s a difficult decision and the breakup process is hard, it can be the right thing to do. Breaking up with someone can sometimes fix things and lead to more fun times in the future.

How do you completely leave someone?

Explain your reasons for leaving and try to avoid placing blame. Be prepared for a range of reactions, from anger to sadness to relief.

What if they try to stop you from leaving?

If your partner tries to stop you from leaving, it’s important to remain firm. This isn’t a decision you should make lightly, and if you’ve already made up your mind, then there’s no going back.

What if they want to get back together?

If your partner wants to get back together after you’ve left, it’s up to you whether or not you want to entertain that idea.

Related: Will He Miss Me If I Leave Him Alone?

How to leave someone you love without hurting them

Focus on the objective facts, why you both as personalities aren’t a good fit. Avoid blaming or listing all the negative things about your partner.

how to leave someone you love but is not good for you (toxic)

Cut contact completely. In real life and also on all social media accounts. Focus on other things that make you happy.

How to leave someone you love and live with

Prepare upfront where you or your partner will live separately.

How to leave someone you love when you have a child

If you have a child together leaving should be really the last resort. Remind yourself of the responsibility you have as a mother or father. Please try again (at least a couple of times) before you leave. It’s worth fighting for your family and the future of your child!

What to say when leaving someone you love

Try to stay as kind and objective as possible. But also be clear and don’t create false hopes.

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.