Your Way Out of a Dead-End Relationship

Things going nowhere? Consider this your guide to finding the off-ramp.

Your Way Out of a Dead-End Relationship

Individuals stay in relationships that have passed their expiration date for many reasons, such as a fear of being alone or the shame of having another ex. “If in your heart you know the connection isn’t strong, then settling shouldn’t be an option,” says Jennifer Kelman, a certified life coach for more than 20 years. “Ask yourself, ‘Do I feel enhanced by being with this person, or am I depleted by it?’ ” She adds, “If there is constant arguing and poor communication, it’s time to call it quits.”

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Like with any touchy matter, setting the wheels in motion can be tough. “I had accepted the fact that my relationship was over in October,” says Lana, 31. “But with the holiday obligations, I postponed the breakup. Then the Monday after New Year’s Eve, faced with the sober reality of another draining year, I knew it was time to stop postponing the inevitable.”

According to statistics published by, January sees more legal separations than any other month, but the sooner you voice your dissatisfaction to your partner—in person—the better. Shockingly, a 2011 survey conducted by market research firm Lab42 found that about 33% of people have been dumped electronically. Show your soon-to-be ex some respect; end things face-to-face. 

“Begin with honest communication and feedback as to why you need things to end,” explains Kailen Rosenberg, relationship expert and author of Real Love, Right Now. “This is not a blaming session; it is a chance for each of you to grow from the experience so you are more skilled at love the next time around.”

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