How to Leave a Bad Relationship, Part 2: Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts

21 Jun

Disentangling two lives is not an easy process, nor can we expect it to be instant.  This “Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts” provides some recommendations for the period of time it takes you, whether suddenly or gradually, to remove your ex from your life.


DO articulate, clearly and honestly, the reasons why you are splitting up. You can be somewhat general (e.g. This relationship isn’t working/healthy/satisfying my needs; I don’t feel loved/respected in this relationship) but also be direct and specific enough for them to know you have made up your mind.

DO delete their number from your phone. See Part I: Cutting Communication.

If you have a smartphone, DO install an application (e.g. Mr. Number Call Blocker) to prevent them from reaching you.

DO take all their stuff (clothes, shoes, records, skateboards, etc.) out of your space (room, house, car, office). Stuff holds memories and easily invokes emotions that can interfere with the splitting-up process. It can also be used as an excuse for them to come back (see also: Alpha Male). If they don’t come back for it, inform them where you will be leaving it should they wish to pick it up (à la Fe-mail #2: Property).

DO start planning and carrying out your day-to-day activities free from them and their influence. Remember how good it feels to make decisions that make you happy, without worrying about what someone else wants to do.

DO take them off the pedestal. You might be tempted to reminisce about the way they look, smell, dress, or do certain things, but ultimately this is time wasted. And who wants to waste any more time on a bad relationship?

DO replace contacting them with an alternative. You have to learn to kick the habit. While some may use the rubber band-on-the-wrist tactic, we prefer positive reinforcement. Even deep breathing can be a positive exercise, if you consider with each breath how much better oxygen is for you than the toxic relationship you have now left.

DO acknowledge that it’s going to take you some time to extract yourself from your relationship. Be gentle with yourself. Let yourself cry, then, as best you can, get some fresh air, exercise, stretch, breathe and allow yourself to physically, mentally, and emotionally relax. Tell yourself that you will find happiness again. And that true happiness really does come from self-love.

DO put yourself first, and remember, this is for the best.


DON’T be vague as to your reasons why you are ending the relationship. DON’T give them false hope for getting back together in the future when this is not your intent.

DON’T let them persuade you once you have made up your mind to make the split. This may be very difficult, especially when you are dealing with sweet-talkers or other manipulative people. But trust the instincts that told you that this was not working, and be firm.

DON’T let them make you feel guilty or bad for splitting up with them. They do not deserve more of your time, attention or care. They are not worth it.

DON’T blame yourself. As much as you may be tempted to reminisce on your ex’s good qualities during this time, you may also be inclined to forget your own. Resist this temptation as much as you can. If anything, reflect on the ways they made you feel low, inadequate, or unloved. Then tell yourself why you deserve better next time. And there will be a next time.

DON’T overdo it on the coping mechanisms. Whether it’s running, shopping, food, alcohol, ganja or another substance, some things can make us feel good temporarily but are shit when overdone or in the long run. If you know or suspect you have a problem, help is available.

DON’T contact them, or respond to them reaching out to you. Use the strategies we have outlined, like the Par List, to keep yourself from speaking to them. We understand you may slip up. But adherence to the guidelines ensures the greatest chance of success.

DON’T meet up with them and don’t make plans together. This may be extremely difficult, especially if you have friends, groups, and children in common. But the more you see your ex on a romantic basis (no make-up sex!), the harder it will be for them to stay your ex and the longer it will take for you to get over them.

DON’T tie your sense of self-worth to this one relationship. Just because you are not with your ex anymore doesn’t mean you are not desirable and/or lovable. You are lovable. You are so lovable, in fact, that you should show yourself some love by ending this bad relationship once and for all.

Read on – Part 3: Moving On

Back to Part I: Cutting Communication

18 Responses to “How to Leave a Bad Relationship, Part 2: Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts”

  1. Chimaobi June 22, 2011 at 1:36 pm #


    Waiting for part 3 around here, whats the ETA ?🙂 Incredibly helpful tips around here. Will internalise this for next time I feel down, or when I need to talk someone through a break-up.

    Love the systematic and orderly approach!

    Much Love and Respect,

    from a black male would-be feminist.

    • sistaresista June 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

      Thanks for your comments! We’re glad you appreciate the tips — and the approach🙂 We will get Part 3 up asap — likely within the next few weeks or so.

      You can always subscribe for immediate updates, or link with us on FB/Twitter (see side column) and you’ll be among the 1st to know.


  2. ashley December 5, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    Helpful tips, I’m I. A bad relationship., but kids are involved. My bf forces me to be dependent on him financially. Hell make me pay all the bill except for rent so then I’m tapped out n broke then hell threaten to not pay rent wen he’s angry. Everything is in my name. He won’t put anything in his. I’ve left once but was talked into comming back. Our daughter loves him n I didn’t want to take her from him. Any advice on how to get out? He’s also verbally abusive..

    • Sista Resista December 14, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

      Hi Ashley,

      Sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds like a very difficult place to be. It is really typical of an abuser to make you feel like you are alone and dependent on him, but is there anyone else you can turn to for support, financial or otherwise? We recommend that you cut off communication with him as soon as possible, and if that means leaving again and bringing your daughter with you, that may be the best thing for you both. In the long run it will be better for her if her mom is healthy and happy, and also, he should should not be given a chance to abuse her as well. We recommend that you leave him, find somewhere else to stay for now and begin building a new life without him. Cancel the services in your name, cut the contracts if you can and get out now.

      About the verbal abuse, abusers are usually very unstable, and they lie in order to break and control you. Remember this when he is being abusive, don’t take his words to heart and get out as soon as possible.

      Contact your local domestic violence hotline/women’s aid group for more specific resources in your area, and please, do this asap! We wish you all the best. Write back if we can be of any more help.

      With love,

  3. Stefunny Richards December 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Just stumbled across this while doing research for a book I am writing. I love you guys!!! And thanks so much for the time and effort involved in the creation and support of strong women everywhere! xx

  4. alongtimecoming May 8, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    This is what I need to get through this very stressful relationship I have been in for the past 22years. I’ve tried everything and now I feel its time to move on. If a man has to go outside his marriage to find happiness than that means he was never happy at home from the jump. So yes iam good with the choice iam about to make and move on with my life. I won’t rush into another relationship but I will be looking while I heal from this one. I feel better already.

  5. Your Love Guru July 29, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    We’re a gaggle of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with useful information to work on. You have performed a formidable task and our entire community will likely be thankful to you.

    • Sista Resista August 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

      Hi, thanks for your comments. That’s great news that you will be able to bring the work to your community and that you will be continuing to build on what we have created here. Stay in touch with us if you can and let us know about your initiatives and what you are up to in the future! Good luck and keep up the struggle!

      All the best,

  6. Sue McD January 29, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I just came across this article when I googled “how to leave a bad relationship” – kind of weird to google this…but I’m in desperate need for guidance as I’m in a bad relationship as well and I KNOW that I need to leave but always let him convince me otherwise. Amazingly, I am SO sure that I want/need/should get out but as soon as I start communicating with him again (and often because I just can’t stop contacting him) – I leave the conversation completely sure that he is a good man. I seem to completely forget how disrespectful, nasty and demeaning he acts with me and how often I’m a total mess unable to do anything in my life that I need to (and I have children!)
    His good qualities are the ones of a dream man…he gives me exactly what I never received from any other man (and that is my big problem!!)….but his bad qualities are devil-like and are starting to ruin my personality and self worth.
    I read this article and only reading it HELPS me so much…I will print this out and have it with me like a bible and every time I get weak I will read your words. This is exactly what I needed to read – no other page that I found came close to helping me as much as this one does. Right now this is the best thing that could have happened to me. It gives me hope and strength to do this!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

    • Sista Resista January 29, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

      You are doing the right thing to cut contact with him! He is bad news. So glad you found the article helpful. Good luck, and stay strong!

      With love

  7. Dream July 29, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    Good read.

  8. adeniran abisola olaitan June 15, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

    i ave one guy, but i love him like seriouly,but the not make me happy just one second! Point of my world is that i want leaving him i need ur advise pls

  9. adeniran abisola olaitan June 15, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    i want to leav my guy

  10. adeniran abisola olaitan June 15, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

    i want to leave my guy

  11. adeniran abisola olaitan June 15, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    i love my bf like seriouly but him know make me happy for one sencond am tire for all dis i give anything he want i dont what i want to do again ooo!i ave told one of my friend she said i should him but am confuse i need adives pls

  12. darrell ball July 27, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    This is Tammy. I want u to read this.


  1. How to Leave a Bad Relationship – Part 1: Cutting Communication « sisters of resistance - June 21, 2011

    […] How to Leave a Bad Relationship, Part 2: Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts […]

  2. How to Leave a Bad Relationship Part 3: Moving On « sisters of resistance - July 17, 2011

    […] Part 2: Splitting Up – Do’s and Don’ts […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: