How to End an Unhealthy Relationship

Photo taken by Bailey Beller

What defines a relationship?

For most of us, a relationship is a connection between two people, whether that be platonic, romantic or otherwise. We typically want these connections to be equal, and like feeling as though both people are receiving the same amount as they’re giving.

But how do we know when a relationship is unhealthy?

A relationship can become unhealthy for any number of reasons: someone being too controlling, unequal amounts of effort being given, emotional strain, people simply no longer clicking and countless others.

Anna Eason, a sophomore studying Public Relations, offered her insight into knowing at what point a relationship needs to end.

“I think when someone is not making you a better person, it’s time to go. If you feel like you have to hang out with someone, that’s also a sign,” Eason said.

Knowing when a relationship is unhealthy depends entirely on the individual. Healthy relationships typically don’t cause anxiety, mistrust, emotional stress or disrupt the lives of people involved. If you’re spending hours, days, weeks or any prolonged period of time stressing about a relationship, one of two things likely needs to happen. One, you need to have a conversation and set boundaries, or, two, you need to put an end to the relationship.

For now, the second instance is what we’ll focus on. When we need to end a relationship, what do we do?

Ending an unhealthy relationship is possible for everyone, and there is no one right way to do it. For some, finding a smoother way to transition out of the connection may be easiest. For others, setting a hard boundary by directly telling the other person they want their relationship to end is best.

If you want to end an unhealthy relationship but live around the person, have friends in the same circles or see them frequently to where the relationship’s end would be problematic, I suggest using the less direct method.

The less direct method essentially entails writing out your thoughts and feelings, explaining why you want to take a step back from or totally end the relationship and ultimately letting them know you don’t want things to continue as they have. After making your feelings clear, all you need to do is go about your life interacting with them as you would with anyone else, or even as you would a stranger.

With all this said, the direct method to ending a relationship is what I prefer. This method entails being direct and firm with your feelings and wanting an end to the relationship.

For me, being completely honest and direct with someone, and telling them why I don’t want our relationship to continue, relieves the most stress the fastest. When I communicate to someone the problems I have with our relationship and why I want to end it, that’s it — it’s done.

Depending on the relationship, you could hear the other person out and try to see their side of the story, but when worse comes to worse, they know exactly why you’re ending the relationship and there are no further questions asked.

Recognizing and ending an unhealthy relationship can be difficult, but doing what’s best for us is important.

Communication is key in every relationship, but sometimes certain people just don’t work well together, and that’s okay.

Do what’s best for you and don’t let unhealthy relationships taint your well being.