How do you end a relationship with a woman still madly in love with you?
Imagine the awkwardness, hurt, and disappointment playing out like a heartbreaking movie scene. Should that gut-wrenching possibility stop you from telling her how you really feel?
"When one has fallen out of love, regardless of whether you are male or female, you are entitled to the feeling which goes with wanting to break free and go on separate ways," says Dr. Maria Lourdes Ramos-Laydia, a registered clinical psychometrician and psychologist from University of Santo Tomas. "One does not have to suffer in silence just for the reason that you would want to consider the feelings and reactions of the other person."
Before you close the door on your relationship for good, though, stop for a moment, and spend time to evaluate how you truly feel about her. You may realize that you really haven't fallen out of love, but just need time to work out your relationship issues with her.
The former head of Calayan Educational Foundation, Inc's Psychology Department believes reflecting on the aspects you find bothersome in your current relationship will help you come up with the best possible decision in the end.
"Ask yourself: Is there something wrong with you or her? Or is it just because of stress, difficult circumstances, or the people around you that make your thoughts and feelings clouded, and lead you into perceiving you've fallen out of love?" says Ramos-Laydia. "The key is knowing and being aware of yourself and your feelings."
Rehearsing what you plan to say ahead of time also ensures that you are calm and composed on the day you break the news to her. Blindly going into the conversation without a plan is risky because you may end up blurting out more than you intend to, hurting her in the process even more.
Remember, no matter how you end the relationship, it will still be painful. The best thing to do, Ramos-Laydia says, is to "do it with sincerity. The golden rule is, break it to her the way you would like it to be done to you if you were in her place."
Take into consideration the years you've spent together. This gives you an idea of how she deals with frustration and rejection. Imagine how she handles a bad situation and what makes her feel better.
"You know your girlfriend more than anyone else," Ramos-Laydia says. "You have to respect what she would say and express when you breakup with her. If she cries, allow her to pour it out, especially if it'd make her feel better. Though estranged from this time on, it is okay to still offer your shoulder for her to cry on. If she gets angry, let her be. That's understandable."
Whatever her reaction, always make sure no self-harm is imminent, the expert adds.
"Avoid unfinished business that can influence her future relationships with other men," she concludes.