How You Should End A Long Term Relationship

The Best Way To End A Long Term Relationship:

When you've been in a long-term relationship, you have years of sharing personal moments, memories, and experiences, and often shared friends and possessions. Your lives have been inter-twined over time even if you haven't been living together. So when you realise the relationship really isn't working for you, and you want to end the relationship, you need to be sensitive to this, especially when the other person may not feel like you do now, and could still be madly love with you.

Before you end the relationship you need to consider a number of things - on your own:

  • Do you really want out of this relationship?

Because this is not the kind of relationship you end on a whim.

  • How will you really feel when this person is no longer in your life?

And how you feel about them eventually finding another relationship? Whether you realise it or not at this point there will be a 'gap' left that the other person used to fill after you end the relationship, and they may fill the gap you left quickly with another person.

  • Have you already tried to make this relationship work better for you?

Have you communicated about it? If not, the other person may have absolutely no idea about your unhappiness and therefore has not had the chance to work on improving it.

  • Have you considered that when you end the relationship, you may not be able to get your partner back if you change your mind later?

When you break up with someone who loves you it generally causes them pain, heart-break and a loss of trust which cannot always be gained back.

If you've already thought through all of these things, and want to end your long-term relationship, the best way to do it is to be respectful to the other person (no matter what your feelings are for them at the time).

  • Plan a time to tell them where you'll be able to talk to them face to face for more than just a few moments.

Because you've been together so long, they deserve a proper explanation, and a chance to ask you any questions. And by doing this it also saves you having to possibly endure another meeting with your ex so that they can discuss their feelings about the breakup with you (or their frequent phone calls about it).

  • Be prepared to discuss and organise the seperation or collection of any of your possessions.

It could become a drama trying to organise and retrieve your things down the track, after the initial breakup discussion.

  • Be clear that your feelings for them have changed, and explain the reasons for you deciding to end the relationship.

Be prepared to spend time talking to them about each of your reasons for breaking up, if they need to understand more about it. Answer any of their questions as honestly as you can without being nasty.

  • Don't be overly affectionate.

If you're ending your relationship and kissing and cuddling them at the same time, it sends mixed messages and can cause confusion. Keep any affection brief as otherwise they may want to cling on to you.

  • Stay calm.

You may be confronted with wild emotions from the person you're ending the relationship, try not to let your emotions go this way too. It's important to remain calm, even if the other person is angry at you because of your decision.

  • Realise it's normal for you to feel emotional too.

You're ending a relationship which has in the past been important to you too, so it's natural to feel upset about ending this part of your life. It doesn't necessarily mean you have doubts.

  • Stand your ground.

You may know that you've hurt your former partner by ending the relationship, but you don't need to agree to any 'compromises' out of guilt. Agreeing to be 'friends' or 'lovers' at this point only pro-longs the emotional side of the break up - it's not a clean break and can cause heartache for many months to come.

  • Don't involve friends in your breakup.

Don't attempt to discuss your reasons for ending the relationship in detail with the other persons friends especially. This can cause a 'nasty' breakup, as it can become a topic of gossip.

  • Delete them from your online contacts:

If you are 'friends' online as well, you're best to delete them from your contacts after you've ended the relationship, it can cause some distress reading eachothers 'Status Lines' and comments online after a breakup, a 100% clean break is the best breakup.

  • Switch off your phone.

Because you've already spend some time talking about the break up face to face with your ex, you're not required to answer all of their further phone calls about it. If you do respond to their calls, keep your responses brief or you could be in for an emotional war. This is because the other person once knew you well and will know how to 'play' at your emotions if they want to try to get back together with you. Provided you're satisfied that you've discussed the breakup face to face and respectfully, and you have no personal property to collect it's best to ignore the calls.

  • Plan something nice for yourself.

You are starting a new chapter in your life, so instead of moping around feeling guity, plan something nice for yourself after the breakup, like a little getaway or activities with friends or family. This also gives the other person space to deal with the breakup without knowing you're around.

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Comments: 52 comments

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stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Teri,

Even if you didn't have the issues you did in the past you might still be questioning your future with him because at present you are living some parts of your life seperately due to the distance between you and also because you can see a change already coming your way with him about to graduate. You may not feel comfortable taking the relationship to the next level with him, or you may just be afraid. You will need to spend some more thoughts on this and some time with him before you'll realise what you really want. If possible also discuss some of your fears with him, just like you've put it on the page, because you have said you think things have been good between you now, it's just you're concerned of the posibility of the past re-occuring and I don't blame you because there is always the posibility of that happening. Goodluck :)

Teri 4 years ago


I am in a 4-year relationship that is currently long distance and came across your very helpful article. As my boyfriend is about to graduate college and I have one more year left, we have started discussing future plans together. At first, I was comfortable with this idea, but nowadays, I don't know if I can see a future with him anymore. Everything at the moment is as perfect as it can be, but we had a very rough past together, which involved him lying to me, my immediate and extended family, and my friends. According to him, he was desperate to have me and made up terrible yet believable stories that ended up convincing me to stay in the relationship. I found out that these stories were lies three years into the relationship but was able to forgive him as I wanted to try to be understanding. Since then, we have had a very stable and serious relationship, and up until recently, I was able to envision a future with him. However, recently, I've been thinking about my own career plans, and I can't imagine a full future with him. I think this is mainly because what happened in the past is still affecting me and if I we end up getting married, I'm afraid that anything from the past can reoccur again. I don't know what to do because we were able to overcome the past, but I'm worried and so is my family if I decide to settle with him. As a result, at this point, I'm considering ending the relationship, but.... I really don't know what's best. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

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stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Devvv, sorry to hear about your breakup. I think the dumper found it more convenient to tell you over the phone, since there is a distance between you. Yes, after 5 years you probably deserved much more, but since you have had a long distance relationship that's probably the reason you weren't told face to face. Either way, you would still feel hurt though.

Devvv 4 years ago

I know this is from the dumpers point of view, but I am the dumpee and I came searching because after five years my ex decided to end it over the phone. It was a long distance relationship, so I undertsand, but it hurt so much. After five years I felt like I deserved more, or am I wrong to think that? (PS the distance was not that far)

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stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your comment. It's hard to know whether it's a phase you're going through or whether you're starting to feel like you want something different... Usually you'll try to work on a long term relationship prior to deciding to leave, such as working on bringing back the feeling of passion etc, it will involve some honest communication. However, you'll know if you want to end the relationship if/when it comes perfectly clear to you that you want/need something else, or when you feel you've truly had enough, and if that happens you'll decide to end it. Don't worry about what others think either, I'm sure those friends would not like to live in a relationship where there is no passion and chemistry, just meantion that and they're sure to understand. Best wishes.

Lisa 4 years ago

I'm currently in an 8-year relationship and I can't shake the feeling that I want to end it. While I truly love my partner and value what he has brought to my life, I'm increasingly bored in the relationship and cannot see it lasting forever. The hardest part is that anyone looking at our relationship would think that it's a great one, my single friends actually say that it's what they're looking for. It's true that we share a lot in common and we've been through many major life events together. However, the passion is gone from our relationship and I find myself growing annoyed by everything he does, even though these are little insignificant things. He has never done anything to hurt me and I know that he loves me deeply but neither of us seem very interested in sex anymore, it feels like we're more 'best friends' or 'room-mates', only I never really feel like spending time with him these days. At the same time, I've had a very stressful and transitional year at work so I worry that these feelings might be tied to broader discontent with my life that I might be projecting onto the relationship. How do I know if I actually want out? I feel like most people would think I'm crazy to want out of such a 'great' relationship...

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stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Tyler, Thankyou for your message. I've been in your situation, where you feel you match with someone very well, except you're not attracted to them romantically. I remember everyone telling me to give the attraction time to develop, which I did. BUT for me, I ended up ending the relationship because I saw him only as a special friend. Usually time will tell if your feelings grow. If not, unfortunately you'll end up making the decision to end the relationship. Hope this helps. Best wishes.

Brittany 4 years ago

You are Welcome and Happy St Patricks Day To you Too.

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stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia Author

Thankyou Brittany you seem very sweet! And quite mature in the way you're making your choices and listening to your family and friends advice. Well done! And yes just because he's 14 hours away doesn't mean you can't like him...With all the technology we have today too it's not that hard to keep in touch over the distance! Lovely to hear back from you... Happy St Patricks Day for today!

Brittany 4 years ago

Yes i do know there is something special about noah that is why i came back to him and started to think about him again and when i came back home i started to fall for this country boy and he drinks beer and go girl to girl and well my mom told me that i could do better so that was when i started to think about noah again and my sister and my best friend told me that they liked noah better then the other guy and that just because he was 14 hours away does not mean that i can not like him and i just get a good since off of him so i think he is a good guy and i am happy where i am with him and i can't wait till i see him in Aug. Good Luck With All Of Your Hubs And With Your Life!!!!

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stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Brittany, Thankyou for your contact and for asking your question. This Hub topic is about ending a long term relationship, but I don't think you're wanting to do that ;) It seems like you have a crush and that you've started to build a connection with him. It's realistic that you may not have had him on your mind since you have spent a lot of time apart and you have been getting on with your life, but when you see him you know there is something special you have. I don't think you need any help because all you need to do is let things progress naturally. He may ask you out and you may keep in regular contact afterwards (For example on Facebook or via SMS or phone) and talk about the next time that you meet. There is also a chance that you'll find a love interest a little closer to where you live. But either way, just enjoy your life and go with the flow. You have no need to stress about this, right now it just seems like you've made a special friend with someone who is 14 hours away! Wishing you all the best for fun and happiness too :)

Brittany 4 years ago

Hello Stricktlydating, well i dont know what to do i met this guy last july at a family thing and he told me he liked me well i liked him too and i told him i did and we kissed well he lives like 14 hours away from me and i am going to see him this Aug. and i think he is going to ask me out i will only see him 2 or 3 times a year till i am 18. i am going to be 17 in july and i really like him and i can be myself around him not like other guys i have dated and his family is nice and they love me alot and after we left last july to come home it took me a week till i got him off of my mind and he was not on my mind for about 6 months and now he is back on my mind alot some people say that if a guy or girl leaves you and he or she comes back in your mind or life they are yours if he or she dont they are not yours so can you help me?

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stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Confused guy, Good on you for getting the travel bug! You've been with your girl 4 years now, so your relationship should be pretty stable. Have you thought about compromise such as changing the trip to 6mths and that way it's a shorter period of time for her to come with you (Maybe won't resent it as much?) or not too long a period apart if you ended up deciding on going on your own (Maybe she could visit after 3mths about half way through your trip and that way the long distance relationship wouldn't seem to be for so long, and you could have a holiday together too). Just some ideas. Travelling with someone who doesn't have their heart in it is no fun (Especially if it will mean she has to look for a job too), but if she has agreed to it maybe she is looking forward to it and is just a bit worried. Hope you end up with the best of both worlds! Goodluck!

Confused guy 4 years ago

Hi, first off I wanted to say that your site is greay, with relevant and.considered advice.

My pickle, my gf and I have been together for 4 yrs. Recently I went traveling by myself for 3 weeks and have developed a passions for it. I have asked my girls to join me on a traveling adventute for 12 months as I have been offered work and free lodging already. She has said a begrudging yes but I can tell she doesnt want to go. I feel that if I dont take this opportunity it will eat away at me, I also feel that she will resent me if we do go. Ive been home 4 months and have had communication issues since my return and I feel like I barely know her right now. Im torn between regreting not going and regreting losing what ever we have left. I know loved should trump but to be honest and risk sounding selfish I want both

Joe N 4 years ago

Thanks for the advice. I actually managed to create a new relationship with my ex girlfriend - no need to search elsewhere.

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stricktlydating 4 years ago from Australia Author

Hi, Thanks for your comment. I'm not sure why you usually have disagreements with your girlfriend, but as far as your latest one, I can understand. No matter what age, or how long you've been together a female is unlikely to support their boyfriend/partner or husband going away with another woman friend. It would be a deal-breaker for me in a relationship. Even though you've said you have no feelings for this friend, it's the action of going away with another female while the other is at home which is most likely to cause a dispute. Even just going out for a one on one dinner with another female friend is likely to get a poor reaction from your woman. Just emagine if the tables were turned and she decided she wanted to go away for the weekend with a male friend she works with and then you'll know how she's probably feeling about it. There's nothing to be confused about there, we just like men to take us away on a trip and not make it seem like you chose to continue private relationships with other females when you're in a relationship. It's not about trust. She might not trust the other female but, it's how your actions would make her feel, it's also probably a bit embarrassing for her if others knew. It just doesn't make you look good, and makes her feel bad. If if you're at the point your relationship where you feel you need a bit of time to yourself and she know this, going away with another girl is not really the way to do it. Do you have feel good hobbies, sports and social activities which give you time out? If not, maybe try taking up an activity which you can do on your own (Something like join a Gym, take a tennis class etc). If your arguments continue, there is a chance you'll get to the stage where you feel like you've had enough and you want something different for your future, but only time will tell if that will happen. I hope this helps! All the best!

2.5 month relationship 4 years ago


I'm only 18 years old but I've been with my girlfriend now for about 27months. I know it doesnt seem THAT long, but its the longest i've ever been in a relationship and we've become very dependent on eachother, especially her on me.

I honestly do love her, for the last 6months-1year it feels like we've been arguing at least once a week, and pretty much always over the same things. the most recent one was the worst, and it boils down to the fact that she doesnt trust me to go away for a couple of days with a girl who is my absolute best friend and i have no feelings for at all. She's away herself at the time, and all i want is to get out of the city for a couple of days. The argument which ensued really led me to question everything a she really really doesnt trust me & gets angry at me for seeing my friends instead of her or not seeing her enough etc. i dont know whether or not im still happy, as i often feel relieved when i dont have to see her, or feel like my life would be a lot less stressful without us arguing all the time.

The problem is that i just cant bare to upset her, as i honestly think she would be totally devastated. I really do love her, but we're just not making eachother happy... please help me, im so confused.

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Great advice for 8 year relationship Sapphire77. Thanks for sharing your story.

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sapphire77 5 years ago

My partner was living with me and paying his parents bills which I found quite odd. After a year I gave him an ultimatum at the age of 25. After 8 years it seems a long time for him to be putting his family before his own immediate family. Dont really know how you put up with this but maybe you should point out to him that if you leave him he will have to support you and your kids which could be more expensive. Its all not that easy though especially where kids are involved. Good luck and hope it works out for you.

8 year relationship 5 years ago

Hi. This article has been very helpful, but I'm still confused and need help!

I've been in an 8y year relationship and feel it needs to end only because of his financial situation. His money is all tied up with his family and he doesn't take his fair share. I've tried to explain that he needs to take his half of his money from the family business rather than taking what he needs, which is practically nothing and therefore, never having anything. I feel that I can't relay on him to support our future family if I am not able to work to raise our children. Am I being fair?

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Confussed,

I don't get it! Your worried about hurting HIM yet he is the one who cheated on you! That doesn't seem right. I hope he is not trying to blame something you did or didn't do to try to make you the reason for why he cheated. Cheating is a deal breaker for me, the ultimate betrayal of trust in a committed relationship. He has hurt YOU. You said there has been lies too. You can't keep hurting to try and make things ok for him. He essentially sabotarged your relationship by his actions, and it's not his feelings you should be worried about. It's difficult leaving a long relationship, but sounds like you're feeling like you're ready to move on because he has not come though for you, he's lied and cheated and decieved you, and you know it, but now he has the nerve to crash on your sofa and try and work it out. Too late. Too bad. Focus on your own feelings and what you want, his don't count any more.

confussed 5 years ago

This really hits my problems. I am in a 12 year relationship have asked for it to end a few months ago however took him back after guilt of hurting him. However he cheated on me. again said to him a couple of weeks ago it was over, however he continues to sleep on the sofa he really thinks it can work. I donestly don't I cannot get over the cheating thing & the lies. It is really difficult to do beleive it or not I dont want him hurting but I dont want to be hurting on the inside constantly just to keep things ok :(

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Medusa,

Thanks for your comment. You sound like a really nice guy. I know you said you worry about your ex being alone. I used to worry about my ex being with someone else! There's always something to worry about. Everyone's going to feel a little lonely and guilty for a while after a breakup, it's normal and we all get through it. You did the right thing by not making contact with her and allowing her to move on. You can't help her get over you, and it doesn't help even in the slightest way when you contact.

You sound like you're in a pretty good place to move foward from, and I wish you all the best for the future!

medusa525 5 years ago

Great article, i have recently eneded a 3 year relationship and i am finding it really difficult to get over the guilt of ending it.

I am plagued my thoughts of my ex being alone and thats not because i think of myself as being impossible to get over!

Its because i know my ex and she will stay herself she doesnt have any family to turn to for help.

I tried my very best in the relationship and we split up a few times,i went back because i felt so guilty at leaving her and i went back thinking i could forget my wants and needs but i couldnt manage it and i have ended up hurting her even more.

At the moment i fight with myself everyday not to contact her to make sure she is ok.

It was recently her birthday and i didnt contact her because i didnt think it was right to say happy birthday....because i figured what would be happy about it!


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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Lily, It mustn't be much fun for you at the moment being with someone who is depressed and stressed, but prolonging ending it probably won't change his reaction, whether you do it now or do it later. Actually, delaying it could make things get messy. I would tell him before his winter break starts so that he has that time coming up to deal with it, and so that you aren't stuck in a situation you don't want to be in. Life is too short. Just be honest with him, tell him you've been worried about telling him because of what's going on in his life, but you can't stay in the relationship any more. Best wishes for the future.

lily 5 years ago

Great article. I've decided to end my 7-year relationship. It has taken about 2 years to get to this point and I finally feel I have been able to make this decision. However, at the moment my boyfriend is in a depressed mental state, he has isolated himself from his friends and his life is very stressful at the moment due to his work. I feel like telling him how I feel might really be too much for him to handle at the moment. Yet at the same time I can't stay in the relationship for him. What do I do? (should I maybe wait til his winterbreak starts?)

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Rosemarie, Yes it's probably because you have a child together, it's harder to leave the relationship when you have children together. I have not been in that situation myself but what I do know if it's not working you will end the relationship, when you are at the stage where you really, truly feel you have had enough, and you see a different life style for yourself. When you get to that point it's much easier to leave the relationship behind.

rosemarie 5 years ago

Great..but how come on my part I still cant achieve the ending of our it because we now had a baby?for 7yrs. he is the only guy i was with,on and off relationship we had & i am working financially for the both of us so does my child needs. can u pls. give me advice?

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Hi Lizard Lips, thankyou for your kind feedback, and I wish you all the best.

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Lizard Lips 5 years ago from Western New York

Great article. This is such a difficult subject to bring up but you did it in a way to make the reader feel confident about making such a decision. I couldn't have stumbled across it at a better time--Thanks!

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks minutecreature! Best wishes!

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minutecreature 5 years ago

What a great hub!

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stricktlydating 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks shanaya, always lovely to hear from you!

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shanaya 5 years ago from Living in my Own Dreams:)

It's hard to find these kind of advice.however you sound like you already know what you're speaking about.BRILLIANT i always say.

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getexbackhelper 6 years ago from Germany

Very good tips, i hope could write as well.

Have a nice day.

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Hi TornBwtweenTwo, thanks for your message. You said you're 'Thinking about leaving him' for his best friend. Think hard about your decision before you take any action, because if your not really sure and it involves his best mate it might be difficult for you to get back together if you have ended it but then change your mind. If you decide to leave him for his friend I think either yourself or his friend will probably have to tell him, as he'll find out eventually and it's better to have come from one of you first. As painful as it may be for him, at least he doesn't have to find out via rumours etc or feel like other friends are lying to him etc. Wish you goodluck with your decision.

TornBwtweenTwo 6 years ago

it sounds like good advice, but im actualy thinking about leaving him for another, should i tell him about the other? (btw its his bestfriend im going with, i know im horrible)

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks Ictodd1947, I appreciate your comments!

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lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

This is really sound advice. A lot of times other people are involved and it only causes un-necessary advice. Getting out of something that is not good for one is not that easy but it is necessary sometimes. Thank you for the hub.

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stricktlydating 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thankyou kindly for your comment Chris, I agree with you, it is hard to say goodbye. Wishing you all the best.

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christalluna1124 6 years ago from Dallas Texas

Excellent article. I am in the same position now and its hard to say goodbye even when the relationship is no good.

warmest regards,


hattersmen 6 years ago

excellent advice. Yes the switch the phone part is a muct do. Especially if it'a a guy !!! They can be obsessive - sorry guys ;)

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Teresa Laurente 7 years ago from San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.

Thank you for your posts. They are very helpful and informative. More power. Hope to see you in my hubs as well. Take care.

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stricktlydating 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thankyou for your comments Lady_E and blakamiaCA, it's great to have your input! Best wishes.

blakamiaCA 7 years ago

Interesting hub full of interesting advice. In my experience long relationships die down until both parties recognize there is no point in continuing. Then it's quite obvious what should be done, but not easy :(



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Lady_E 7 years ago from London, UK

Very good, practical advice. One has to be firm and it's always nice to get away somewhere afterwards.

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stricktlydating 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks Health Tip, great to hear from you.

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stricktlydating 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks shamelabboush, yes I agree, it's a heartbreaking thing to end a long term relationship.

Thankyou creativeone59.

Mayrapink, I appreciate your comment. It's not easy being in this kind of situation, thinking of you and hope you find the answers you need.

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MAYRAPINK 7 years ago from texas

great i said i am in the process of deciding where my 3 year relationship is going... its hard but reading hubs like these sure do help :)

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creativeone59 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Great hub, great advice, thanks for sharing. creativeone59

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shamelabboush 7 years ago

Very useful tips, though it is a heartbreaking thing to end up a long term relation... I wonder who can do this? Thanks dear.

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stricktlydating 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks Animika S, it's a pleasure to receive your compliment!

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