Breaking up is hard to do -- especially if your lover lives far away. Do it graciously with these tips.
Step 1: Be honest End things as soon as you realize it's over for you. Don't let your partner go on thinking everything is fine just because you don't have to face them any time soon.
Step 2: Consider the relationship's length Consider the length of the relationship. If it's been less than a year, a telephone call may suffice. Longer than that, and the honorable thing is to tell them in person, if at all possible.
TIP: Don't wait until their next visit to end things. They won't appreciate that they invested time and money to get dumped.
Step 3: Weigh the circumstances Weigh the circumstances. If the relationship has been petering out on both sides for a while, there's probably no need to make a big song and dance about it. You might even be able to start the conversation with a direct but kindly worded e-mail.
TIP: Texting the news is not appropriate under any circumstances.
Step 4: Follow traditional rules Follow the same rules of civility that apply to a non-long-distance relationship: Don't ditch them close to their birthday, Valentine's Day, or the winter holidays.
Step 5: Have a clear phone connection If you're breaking the news by phone, make sure you're in a quiet place with good reception; a bad connection or dropped call will only add to the agony on both sides.
Step 6: Return their stuff Return their stuff, packing it with care. It's the least you can do.
FACT: One study of long-distance and geographically close couples found that about 40 percent of people in either group eventually break up.