The end is just as important as the start, if not more so. This applies to many areas in life especially relationships, where a bad end can have lasting damage. Relationships usually start with great care. Even if there are a few minor hiccups, the start must be reasonably good for the relationship to survive and thrive. But if things sour midway leading to the end of a relationship, the end is rarely as good as the start.
Everything has a start and an end. With each end comes a new beginning. This is the way of the world and the natural order of things. But here lies the problem. If an end is not really the end, then the new beginning cannot really be a new beginning. This is especially so for romantic relationships.
Thus, if things have degenerated to a point where there must be an end, then it is best to end things well. Only by doing so can both parties move on and have a fresh start. Before we look at how to bring about a good end, let us take a closer look at why a good end is important.
Responsibility: The Need to End Things Well
Closure is important for both parties to let go and move on. It is vital that they work together to tie up all the loose ends before they can begin their lives anew. Done right, they will bring very little emotional baggage to their next relationship. If possible, both may even remain good friends.
Yet this ideal situation is rarely the case when many relationships end. Often, one party may want to move on while the other party tries to hold on. As you can imagine, this often leads to a messy state of affairs.
The easiest way out is for the party who wishes to leave to just leave. He or she can just cut off all contact and avoid the party who wants to hold on.
But this is not the responsible thing to do. After all, part of the pain and anguish the other party is going through is because of the person who is leaving. In any meaningful relationship, there must have been good times shared with deep love and care involved. To leave the person whom you once loved without ending things properly is cruel.
Ghosts of the Past
A relationship that has a bad end makes it hard for a new beginning. It is hard for the parties involved to close the chapter on their past and move on. For the party that leaves and cuts off all contact, there might be guilt and regrets. For the party left behind, the experience may hurt him or her badly causing deep wounds that take a long time to heal.
Both parties may have emotional baggage of various kinds due to the unresolved issues. Past hurts that are not fully resolved may resurface repeatedly. This can carry over to their next relationship and may affect their choices and actions. This is hardly fair to their new partners. Who knows how many lives and relationships bad ends have affected?
How then does one go about ending things well?
How to End Things Well
1. Do Not Run Away
The first step is not to run away. In any awkward situation, especially one that involves conflict, running away seems like the best option. It may be so in the short run, but running away resolves nothing in the end. If you wish to end a relationship well, then running away is not the answer.
A conflict may seem frightening at first, but it is rarely as bad as you imagine it to be if you manage it well. Instead, when the time is right, muster your courage, steel yourself and face the music. Do your best to resolve matters. It will not be easy, but it is worth the effort in the end. By saying all you need to say in a firm but tactful way, you can help to reduce the pain and begin the healing process for all involved.
Clarity is vital if you want to end a relationship well. First, you must know why you need to end things and how to go about it. Next, you must know what you need to do and when to do so. Finally, you must also factor in the other party’s likely reactions based on your understanding of them and plan accordingly. If you do not bother to plan and leave things to chance, things could end up badly.
3. Say All You Need to Say
Not knowing why can cause us to imagine all sorts of things. This is especially so for relationships. Without knowing why a relationship ends, we may take a long time to let go and move on.
So if you need to end things, say all you need to say tactfully, calmly and without blame. What you say may seem obvious to you, but the other person may not realize its full importance. Or they may not even be aware of it in the first place. If the communication between the both of you has always been open and honest, this should not come as a shock to them.
As far as you can, clear all the doubts that the other party has in mind. By making everything clear, they will have no illusions to hold onto. This will make it easier for them to let go and move on.
A breakdown in communication occurs because no one is really listening. So, it is vital to listen here, if not for your sake, then for the other party’s sake. The trouble is that many people never allow others to say all they need to say. They always stop them halfway or place constrains to limit the outpouring. If you do not allow them to let things out fully, they can never have the closure they need. This will lead to all the problems I have mentioned earlier.
So, really and fully listen to all the other party has to say. Let them get everything out and off their chest. Even if the other party is screaming and shouting at you, they cannot keep it up forever. Once they have let it all out, there is nothing left to say. It would be pointless to go through all the same points again. When they have said their fill, they can really begin to let go.
5. Accept Responsibility
In any relationship, both parties must share part of the responsibility if things go wrong. No one party is fully to blame for relationship problems. If it is possible to avoid the issue of blame, avoid it because it is a volatile topic. But if there is no way to avoid it, be willing to accept and acknowledge your share of the blame. Pinning all the blame on the other party is unfair and hurtful. Shouldering all the blame yourself is unwise. Recognize where you could have done better and apologize if needed.
6. Be Patient
The longer the time and experiences shared, the harder it is to end things and move on. There is great inertia to overcome as both parties struggle to rebuild their lives. So be patient. The transition from the old to the new will not arrive quickly, but it will arrive. It helps if you work to guide things along.
In the meantime, if there is a need to talk things out again, do so. If you really let them say all they need to say, once should be enough. If not, then twice at most. This depends on the individuals and the relationship.
Relationships that end do not have to end badly. A good start to any relationship requires care and effort. The same applies to a good end. When you ensure that the ending is as good as the start, you will have greater harmony in your life.
Do you think the ending is just as important as the beginning? Have you ever had to end a relationship before? How did you handle it? Do you have any advice on how to manage this difficult situation? Do share your thoughts and comments below!