How to say goodbye to someone you love? (5 Steps & 11 ways)

By: Naveen B

How to say goodbye to someone you love in a relationship?

It’s a sad fact of life that sometimes we fall in love with people who don’t feel as strongly about us. Or maybe we know from day one they aren’t right for us, but we stay anyway. 

Sometimes whether because of time or circumstance, we have to say goodbye to people that are important to us.

Often this is because the other person doesn’t love you back, but it can also happen because of your location, the country where you live, your family, your work or simply by growing apart. Whatever the reason, it hurts and leaves you sad and crying over the past memories that will never return again.

Perhaps it is because of fear—we don’t want to be alone, and we convince ourselves that we can change them. Whatever your reasons for staying where you don’t belong, recognize that you deserve better than a relationship without mutual devotion and respect.

You will feel so much lighter once you accept your true feelings and tell yourself that letting go is what will allow you to find real happiness. Here is a guide on how to say goodbye someone you love in 5 simple steps:

Recommended reading: 10 Questions to ask yourself before breaking up or ending a long term relationship

5 steps to say Goodbye to someone you love

how to say goodbye to someone you love in a relationship How to say goodbye to someone you love? (5 Steps & 11 ways)

Step 1: Preparation is Key.

The first step in any great experience is good preparation. It’s no different when it comes to saying goodbye. Proper preparation helps ensure that your separation is dealt with with class and dignity.

All too often people leave things open ended or just not prepared at all for a parting that they never imagined would come. In all honesty few of us do imagine our time with those we love coming to an end. 

That is why proper preparation can be so helpful. If you prepare properly, your exit will be more graceful than if done improperly.

Knowing how to properly prepare yourself for saying goodbye will help ensure that everyone has one less thing to worry about during what might already be a stressful time for them too.

A couple key things to focus on here are written documentation and some careful thought on how to best deliver some news via phone call or face-to-face conversation. Before moving forward it’s important to know what kind of relationship you have with the person you are trying to separate from.

Each relationship is unique; there is no blanket solution that works with each case. One size does not fit all, that is for sure.

Also read: When is it time to leave a long term relationship? (complete guide)

So ask yourself who are you dealing with really? This question may sound simple but it is actually quite complex because how someone chooses to deal with something as serious as splitting up says a lot about their character.

Are they going to get emotional and teary eyed about it right off the bat? Will they demand to hear exactly why you think it is happening?

Are they going to accuse you of not loving them anymore or betraying a sacred bond that only exists between two people?

Are they going to take it lying down or do they have a temper that could get ugly should you cross them wrong?

Whatever type of personality lies before you let yourself try and figure out ahead of time how they might react. If you are ending things with a family member then understanding how they view familial relationships is very helpful.

Step 2: Be Prepared to Explain Why This Is Happening.

There is no getting around it. If you are breaking up with someone you care about, telling them exactly why will probably be inevitable. And if they ask for an explanation (which most people will) then at some point or another they will need to hear what your reasons were in full detail.

Even if they choose not to believe them, explanations can still make things less tense and stressful for everyone involved.

That’s because once one person is aware of why something happened, even if they disagree with those reasons, it helps them move forward and adjust their understanding of a situation.

So when the talk comes you should prepare yourself as best as possible by having a couple good stories at hand that can defend your reasoning without sounding defensive or mean spirited.

Remember that timing is important too; sometimes it might be wise to wait until after you both have had time to calm down from all of the emotion surrounding your parting before bringing up these details.

But other times there might be some specific aspect of why you left so sticking on addressing it sooner rather than later may help cut down on confusion during parting talks. It’s always better to try and stay logical instead of being defensive anyway.

Also read: How to know when to end a relationship?

The more drama you bring into a discussion, especially when ending relationships, the more likely it is that both parties walk away feeling unsatisfied. In fact it could lead to further problems between you going forward because anger clouds judgement and makes it harder for us to look at situations rationally. But don’t let any of that scare you.

Ultimately you have to do what feels right for you but preparedness is crucial here. Good communication skills are key to avoid adding undue stress into your departure whether positive or negative.

You never know how others will react either way, but just making an effort to clearly state your feelings will go a long way towards alleviating hurt feelings on both sides during emotionally charged breakups which definitely helps make saying goodbye easier when leaving people who you care about.

Step 3: Be Honest About Yourself and What You Want.

Honesty is always hard when breaking up with someone for one reason or another. But when it comes to leaving your love behind in order to pursue happiness, its importance can’t be understated.

It’s critical that you are honest with yourself about what it is that you need in your life right now. And it goes without saying that if your answer involves another person, then honesty becomes even more important.

They deserve to know where they stand and why at all times. So while it may not be easy to tell them I just think we should break up for a while so I can figure out my own stuff first before we see each other again rather than I just met someone else.

And I want something more exciting than what we have going on here. It will keep any kind of resentment from forming later on since everyone knows where they stand.

Step 4: Leave Behind a Piece of Yourself When You Leave.

When breaking up with someone you love, it is probably going to be difficult if not outright painful. But there is something that will help ease those feelings as much as possible and that’s just remembering that no matter how close you were, no one really owns anyone else or their emotions.

So while maybe there are things about your partner that made you happy, those same things might now be part of what makes it hard for them to move on and find happiness as well.

Be happy knowing that whatever we gave each other we shared together and because of our time together helped make both our lives better.

Even when we leave behind pieces of ourselves in relationships like friendships and romantic ones, they can still continue to live inside each other long after we’re gone.

Step 5: Just because it’s over doesn’t mean it never was.

So remember that no matter how bad you feel now or will later, there are people out there who have gone through much worse breakups than yours.

And they survived because deep down inside they know that just because something ends doesn’t mean it wasn’t real.

The love and memories we share with another person live on in our hearts long after we turn away from them and face a new horizon of opportunities for friendship and love.

Know that your presence in their lives made a difference and helped shape them into what is going to help them go on from here into a life full of possibilities both good and bad.

They may never see it that way but know that you helped make all those moments happen even when your time together had run its course.

Also read: Can you ever stop loving someone who hurt you?

11 Ways to say Goodbye to someone you love in a relationship

10 ways to say goodbye to someone you love in a relationship How to say goodbye to someone you love? (5 Steps & 11 ways)

Here are 11 ways on how to say goodbye to someone you love in a relationship:

1. Tell them how much they meant to you:

The best way is to talk with them and let them know how much they mean to you. Acknowledge what they have taught you, and show gratitude for any lessons in life that they have shared with you.

Remind them that no matter what, your choice of saying goodbye doesn’t reflect anything but your freedom of will, and it isn’t a rejection of their teachings.

Show respect by not giving any reasons for why you chose not to stay in touch. In fact, if they ask for a reason, don’t give one.

Let go of every memory with them so that there is no room in your mind or heart for doubt about your decision and no ability for regret (when thinking back) to change it.

2. Say what’s on your mind:

If there’s something that needs to be said, don’t hold back or bottle it up inside. You might feel like you’re making things harder on yourself, but it could also help either of you get closure and relief from having gotten all of it out in one place.

It can also go a long way towards helping both of you move forward. This is especially true if there are any unresolved issues between yourself and your loved one, so don’t ignore them just because they’re difficult to talk about.

Rather, let them out so they can be dealt with head-on instead of being left behind as baggage that holds both parties back in some way or another over time.

3. Remind them you truly love them and always love them:

Reassure them that it’s not their fault: Often, when people leave each other, they can sometimes feel guilty or think that they did something wrong.

In order to prevent that from happening, reassure them that you’re not blaming them for anything and simply aren’t a good fit anymore.

As a result, it might be easier for them to move on in a positive light rather than harboring any resentment or ill feelings towards one another. And remind them that they are loved and will always hold a special place in your heart.

4.Make sure it’s okay for them to go:

It can be easy to get caught up in your emotions when saying goodbye, but don’t forget that your loved one might not want to leave. If they want nothing more than for you two to stay together, it will make things worse if they feel like there is no other option.

Be sure that it’s okay for them to go before doing anything else, or else it might not be worth bringing up at all.

Also read: How long does it take to get over someone you love?

5. don’t keep in touch if they don’t want to be:

 Don’t keep in touch After saying goodbye, it’s hard to know what happens next. Although your loved one is gone, they’ll always be in your heart and mind.

If you’re having trouble coping after saying goodbye, consider talking with a doctor or another trusted professional who can help guide you through your recovery.

Also, keeping a journal or writing about how you feel can be therapeutic and allow you to cope more effectively with how much they meant to you.

Although losing someone close is painful, don’t keep yourself from moving on and living a happy life just because of that pain.

6. let go of every memory with them:

Make sure your relationship is truly over: This might sound harsh, but it’s important to make sure that you are ready to let go of them before you do so. If there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not they are right for you, then it’s best not to commit yet.

Before you go, let them know that it’s time for them to move on and find something new. Saying something like You need a fresh start and so do I. Goodbye can be a great way of doing so without sounding dismissive or unemotional.

 Remember that although your relationship may be ending, both parties still deserve respect and kindness. If it feels right, consider writing a letter letting them know everything they mean to you and how much their friendship has meant to you over time.

Be sure not let anything important slip through your fingers – share any thoughts or feelings that may have been left unsaid before now.

7. let yourself feel whatever emotion comes up:

Let yourself feel whatever emotion comes up On your way out, let them know you’re leaving. It’s important that they understand why and that they aren’t left wondering if it has anything to do with them. 

Let them know that even though you’re not there physically, they will always be in your heart. If possible, give them something physical like a letter or something else that symbolises what it is you want to get across before leaving. 

Otherwise, take some time writing it down on paper or typing out an email after saying goodbye in person. 

8. Spend time with them before your departure. 

While you can’t force yourself to change how you feel about their leaving, spending more time together will help you get used to being separated from them in general, which may make it easier for both of you when it comes time for goodbye.

Find special activities that are just between the two of you or spend time doing things that remind both of your happier times together. Be prepared with a checklist of things to do before they leave.

Being organized is important if you want everything taken care of quickly and efficiently, so make sure your loved one knows what they need to do in order for their home, car and other personal affairs are in order before their departure date arrives.

Also read: Should we break up? 10 things to consider before breaking up

9. show no regret for your choice:

Recognize that saying goodbye can be difficult. It’s natural for both of you to feel sad and regret when you have to part ways.

How much sadness and heartache is likely will depend on how close your relationship is, but no matter what it’s still normal for feelings of regret or sadness.

However, even though it may be difficult, try not to prolong your goodbyes or make them any harder than they need to be because both of you may feel guilty about letting go after time passes.

10. Keep an eye on your emotions: 

You’re likely feeling very mixed up at this point, which is only natural. The people we love are significant parts of our lives, and letting them go comes with a huge emotional cost.

However, if you want to be able to say your goodbyes properly, then it’s important that you don’t do so while you’re still struggling with your emotions. Instead, it’s best if you hold off for a few days until things have settled down somewhat.

11. Take your decision slowly:

The main thing is not to rush and break up emotionally. You need to do is give yourself enough time for a proper good-bye.

You may be anxious to leave, but rushing through an emotional moment can create undue stress and sadness for both of you. With that in mind, give yourself at least one hour—and possibly even longer if circumstances allow it—to have a proper conversation.

If it’s possible, hold onto your loved one’s personal effects until after your departure so they can accompany them as they move on with their life.

Some of these are meant for those saying goodbye to their loved ones, while others are best used if you’re on the receiving end.

These activities can help your loved one feel your support as they leave, which will likely make it easier for them. Being able to show support in some small way might also make it easier for you when they leave too.

You can also use these ideas if your partner or family member is moving away permanently; these suggestions won’t work in that case, but they might still help both of you better cope with such a large change.

Recommended reading:

Psychological facts about soulmates

Psychological facts about thinking of someone


  • Naveen B

    Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry. His expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in medium and substack to name a few. To be updated with his latest work, connect with him by following his social media accounts.

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Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry. His expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in medium and substack to name a few. To be updated with his latest work, connect with him by following his social media accounts.

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