By Deborah Gantos

The topic of this editorial, at first glance, does not seem like a positive topic, but it really is. Please keep on reading. The theme is one that can change your life for the better: ending a relationship. There are many types of relationships. We can have them with people, things, ideas, animals and so on. Today I am focusing on the ones associated with people. Those relationships can be personal, social or business oriented. We all have heard of heartless ways to end connections. The one I recall was a friend who was terminated from his job and came home devastated, to tell his wife the bad news. She responded by informing him she wanted a divorce. Talk about kicking someone when they are down! Another less favorable action is to stall and prolong the agony of an association that makes you miserable or is unfulfilling. Let’s take a look at some situations of how individuals end relationships.

Probably the worst way is the blunt force trauma way mentioned above. Another less desirable way to end a personal commitment is by total withdrawal of all communication without any explanation. Someone who does this basically goes AWOL. (Given the military theme of this publication, I could not resist using this term!) Waiting for the “right” time to break ties and asking for a temporary separation is also a solution, but not the best one because it usually delays the inevitable and lengthens the amount of time of getting on with your life.

Moving up the harsh-to-kind scale of disengagement, becoming increasingly nasty and unpleasant as a way to perhaps make the other person take action is certainly not a kind way of ending a relationship. A less hurtful approach is using someone else to break the news, or trying to set up your partner with someone else. Next comes taking the blame and explaining why you are leaving. One of the best ways to end things, however, in my opinion, is to be openly and kindly direct. It means trying not to hurt the other person’s feelings or blame them, even though they may be the one who caused many of the problems. It means really thinking about how you want to convey the news so the other person hears what you are saying but does not destroy them in the process.
No matter how a relationship ends, research has shown that ending things in a compassionate way tends to make those involved stay connected. This is especially the best way if children are part of the dynamic.

I hope this will help some of you when the sad event of ending a relationship, which happens to us all, happens to you.

Deborah Gantos is Editor-In-Chief of Surplus Today.