It's difficult to know how to end a long term relationship or marriage on good (or at least 'manageable') terms. It may include not only having to separate from your partner, but also having to seek a divorce. It's far more difficult than ending a short-term relationship.
First of all, of course, you really need to be absolutely sure that you want an end.
If by any chance you don't know what to do for the best, then this Stay or Walk Away Relationship Test can help you make that difficult decision.
If you've landed here because you're worried that your partner may be wanting to end your relationship or marriage, then I'd like to help you to be prepared. Have a look at How to Have the Best Chance of a Reconciliation so that you have the best chance of winning him or her back.
I really think it's also worth asking yourself whether or not you've done all you can to Save Your Relationship...?
Having realistic expectations is important. I'm afraid it's not worth thinking that you can end a long term relationship without any stress or upset... this is just a fantasy (sorry!).
I can understand that it's much more comfortable to pretend it's going to be okay. You might just find it excruciating to think of your partner being upset, or to see it happening. Particularly if you feel that you're the cause of the pain.
However, I know that you can manage it, if you prepare yourself well before the start of the emotional roller-coaster.
The process of ending a long-term relationship is likely to take a little while. There are identifiable stages: from telling your partner, through to the various stages of the legal divorce, the final division of property and moving house if you're living together.
If your marital problems are leading to divorce, you may also be interested in my pages on divorce. They also have lots of useful information if you want to know how to end a long term relationship.
The first step is accepting that it may take more time and energy to create a 'good' ending than perhaps you'd hoped.
...then hop over to my page with a review of The Magic of Making Up. This'll help you to avoid pushing your partner further away.
The second step is to approach each stage with the right mindset. This means that come what may, you're mentally prepared to stay calm and polite and do what you'd have wanted for yourself - however difficult your partner may make it for you.
I promise you, if you need to engage a solicitor - that second step will help keep your costs down. You won't be creating another layer of conflict on top of the one you're already dealing with. (For help choosing the right lawyer see my page: How to Find a Lawyer)
Even if - for whatever reason - the breakup is unlikely to be amicable, you may just manage a reasonable breakup. You'll feel better for it and it may also help your partner to get over the ending sooner (I hope that still matters to you, if only a little).
If you have children - the whole drama will be so much more manageable for them, if the two of you can (at the very least) talk politely. Do take a look at my page about Divorce and Children to make sure you're prepared for how your kids might react, and what you can do to help them get through this process too.
Do all you can to stay as calm as possible. Stay in touch with family and friends and take time out for yourself to help you relax.
Even if you're the one instigating the ending of your long term relationship, I won't be surprised if you feel sad, disappointed and lonely. Probably too you might feel angry and perhaps be suffering sleepless nights.
Of course, what you're going through does depend to some extent on why you married or stayed with this partner in the first place. Assuming that the two of you were together out of true love, you may find that the whole split is going to be more painful than you'd anticipated - even if you have been falling out of love over a period of time. You may have already experienced that or it may happen later, when it's over and all the 'practical' stuff has been dealt with.
If the split and/or divorce is what you wanted, it may be a relief when you've finally done it. However, you may have been so focused on all the trouble and the actual separation that the meaning of the end has barely registered. No surprise then if it 'hits' you a little later.
Unfortunately you'll probably have to deal with loads of unwanted negative emotions during the breaking up process. But I can help you with this a little. I recommend hypnosis downloads to help calm your troubled mind, and the Ending a Relationship can really help.
Here's what you'll need to keep in mind when considering a relationship breakup. It's very easy to make an already difficult situation even more unmanageable by doing any of the following: