#ASKALEX: How Do I End A Relationship I Know I Need Out Of?

Q: I’ve been in a relationship for 3 years, and to say that it’s been rocky would be an understatement. I know that I have a lot to offer people and that I’m not a bad person, but my partner looks at me so negatively that it constantly rubs off on me. At the same time, he’s my partner. I’ve grown so close to him that I genuinely can’t imagine not having him in my life romantically. A lot of the time, he doesn’t treat me or my feelings with respect, and I know there isn’t anything I can do to make him change. I just don’t know where to pull the strength from to leave, I’ve tried breaking up with him before and we always end up together again, because we’re so miserable apart. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t see the point in wasting time on someone who won’t give me with the same respect and love that I give them, but I don’t know how to leave. Morally, I know it’s a toxic relationship. But I can’t help but think about how happy we can be if he were to just open his eyes for good and mean it for good when he says he’s sorry. It’s a hurtful cycle. I guess what I really need help with is being strong enough to say goodbye, and staying strong enough to be okay on my own and keep him out of my life. Right now, I’m terrified. – Serena

{ Need some guidance too? Click here to send me your #AskAlex question. } 

Hey Serena,

I feel you. When I broke up with my last boyfriend we had been together for four years and I was totally terrified. I couldn’t imagine my life without him, but I also couldn’t see myself happy with him any longer. It was a very confusing, tough time, but you know what? Of all of the experiences I’ve had in my life, that one taught me the most. I realized I had a source of strength greater than anything I ever could’ve imagined. And Serena, you have the exact same strength inside of you too, I promise.

The break-up process is a tough one. But it’s also beautiful. So often those things in life that we believe are happening TO us are actually happening FOR us.

Approach this break-up with an open mind and open heart and you will learn so much about yourself, your strengths and your gifts, that you will emerge from stronger, happier and more alive than you’ve every felt before.

To help you navigate this tricky time and come out of it stronger than ever, I put together 10 steps for you to take in order to end your relationship with grace, dignity and respect. It begins with some inner prep, then moves into how to handle the “break-up” conversation, and finally how to nurture your heartbreak and take care of yourself afterwards.

I truly hope that this serves and strengthens you during this confusing time.

With SO much love, 



10 Steps to Breaking Up with Dignity + Grace 


Phase 1 Inner Prep

Step 1: Get clear.

Why do you want out of this relationship?

You mentioned in your question that “morally, I know it’s a toxic relationship,”… how do you know that? What morals does your relationship compromise?”

Who do you want to be? Are you able to be that person with your current partner?

Spend some time journaling about your feelings. Get to the core of why you feel you need to end this relationship. When you feel it, know it and see it in writing it’s easier to find the courage to actually carry it out.


Step 2: Decide.

Indecision – the space it seems like you’re in right now – is the destroyer of all peace. When we over analyze in our mind, we create stress.

My intuition tells me based on the tone of your email that you know you need to end this relationship. So why do you keep jockeying back and forth between the two points? What are you afraid will happen if you leave him? Explore this question. What comes up for you?

These are clues on things you need to do to support yourself. Are you afraid he’s the only guy who will love you? Are you scared you won’t know what to do with all of your extra time?

Now ask yourself, are your deepest fears really true? How can you know for certain they are true? You’ll find that most of those dark, scary what-ifs you’ve been carrying around in the back of your mind are just illusions.

Now that you’ve addressed your fears head on, and you know you’ll be okay when your relationship ends, you’ve got to make a decision.

It’s important that you don’t break up reactively. When couples tend to fall into the pattern of break-up, back together, break-up, back together, it’s because most of their “break-ups” are in reaction to fights or arguments.

By MAKING A DECISION to end the relationship before you even start a conversation, you know what the outcome will be. It will keep you on track and focused during the tough break-up conversation, as well as the healing process that follows.

Phase 2: Conversation

Step 3: Communicate clearly and respectfully.

Once you’ve made the decision to end your relationship and are super clear on why you’re taking this step, it’s time to have the talk.

This conversation is not a place for you to bring up a laundry list of your partner’s faults and shortcomings. It can be tempting to validate our decisions with evidence and examples of past poor behaviour, but it’s important to be as loving and compassionate as possible during this painful conversation.

Be clear with your intention to end the relationship, share your feelings and hold a space for him to communicate with you.

But stand your ground. If at anytime you feel yourself wanting not to go through with the break-up, think back to the inner prep work you did. It’s likely your desire to stay is a reaction to seeing someone you love in pain. Stay grounded in your why’s for leaving.

For more tips on how to have tough conversations, read this.

Phase 3: Healing Your Heart

Step 4: FEEL your FEELINGS.

Don’t try and be a hero by holding back tears, bottling your emotions or numbing them with drugs and alcohol. Instead, embrace them. Feel them. Cry. Scream into a pillow. Vent to your girls. Just don’t keep everything pent up inside.

It’s so important to release our emotions by actually feeling them. If we ignore them, they never get released. They stay inside of us, festering and growing into bitterness, resentment and anger. That’s not the energy you want to carry around with you! Know that with every good cry you’re one step closer to a healed and happy heart. Let it out girl!

For more on this, check out this post on how to handle a break-up. 

Step 5: MOVE your BODY.

Just like tears, sweat is a form of emotional release. Exercise is a form of healing. Lovingly set an intention to move your body once a day. Take a walk, go to yoga, or dance all night with your girls – doesn’t matter how you move, just move.

Not only does exercise help you release stress, it fills your brain with endorphins, which in turn increases your happiness. It will also help keep your ego in check, as women tend to beat their bodies up, when going through a tough time, because who doesn’t feel great after working out?

Step 6: Create a Support System.

Support yourself. Surround yourself with people who love you. Put yourself in a high-vibe space. Buy yourself some flowers, or spend the weekend at mom and dad’s for some nourishment and TLC.

Make an effort to open up and confide in the people you love and trust. Think about talking to a counselor or a life coach when you’re ready. The more people you have supporting you, the more love you’ll feel and the quicker you’ll heal.

Step 7: Love Yourself UP

I mean it! Take EXTRA special care of yourself after your break-up. Cook your favourite dinner or order your favourite take-out. Watch a marathon of your favourite TV show or download your favourite movies. Buy yourself a cute new sweater or pair of boots. Whatever you can do to make yourself feel beautiful, special and taken care of – do it. For 21 audacious + crazy ways to love yourself, check out this post. 

Also make sure you’re taking a really sweet, gentle and loving tone with yourself at all times. We’re often our own worst enemies, especially when we feel vulnerable. The ego voice inside our heads gets so nasty sometimes, it’s really important that you keep that b*tch in line.

Imagine your little sister, best friend or imaginary future daughter just had her heartbroken. How would you treat her? Extend the same love and compassion to yourself.

Step 8: Cultivate a Spiritual Connection.

I’m not sure what your spiritual beliefs are, but when we’re going through painful times in our lives — like break-ups or losing loved ones – opening up to a higher power is transformational.

Set an intention every morning or pray to God, the Universe, Source, Mother Nature, the name really doesn’t matter, to guide you through your day. Next spend a few minutes in stillness. Meditation is a beautiful practice to begin at any time in our life, but especially when we’re in the middle of a rough patch.

Then pay attention to the guidance you receive. The universe communicates with us in many ways. Sometimes it speaks to us through other people or through books or articles we randomly find ourselves reading, but most often it speaks to us through our own intuition.

Step 9: Trust Your Intuition

I’m of the belief that there are no black and white rules for break-ups. I’m sure you will receive all kinds of advice from friends and family about what to do and what not to do to get over your ex. Be grateful that you have some many people who care about your happiness and know that their intentions are loving.

But the advice that’s going to mean the most to you comes from within. Trust your intuition. If your girls are urging you to go out and party, but you don’t feel ready yet, listen to YOUR wisdom. If your ex starts pressuring you into talking to or seeing him, but that doesn’t feel right to you, listen to YOUR wisdom.

You know what’s best for you. Your heart knows how to heal itself and is sending messages to you constantly. Tune in, listen and trust your heart’s guidance.

Step 10: Stay in Your Own Game.

Your healing journey is deeply personal and customized totally to you. It can be tempting to feel like you should already “be over it,” especially if you hear or see things on social media about your ex moving on. Don’t get caught up in that.

Instead, stay in your own game. Make it your mission every single day to have the best, happiest most loving day possible. Don’t spend your precious energy creeping Facebook and getting all worked up about a post on his wall, and don’t waste your powerful thoughts on wondering what he’s doing, who he’s talking to or whether or not someone new is one the scene.

Every time you feel your mind wandering out of your own game and into his, send him love, then re-focus your thoughts on what you need to do for YOU in that moment to feel happy.

What advice do you have for Serena?? Leave a comment below. 

{ Need some guidance too? Click here to send me your #AskAlex question. }