When To Walk Away From Someone You Love & How to Do It

Leaving someone you care about is never easy. Once you’ve decided to do it, it’s always a good idea to have the conversation with them face-to-face, even though this might feel a lot harder. During your conversation, be sure to set boundaries that are right for you. It might be that you don’t want them to contact you at all for a few months while you straighten your thoughts out or that you don’t want to remain friends. Figure out what boundaries will be the best for your mental health and wellbeing and be super clear about them.

It’s also important to set up a self-care plan for after the breakup. Because as you can probably guess, walking away from someone you love can be unbearable. Make sure you’ll be surrounded by a loving support system in the days and weeks following.

And how do you know when it’s time to walk away from someone you love? Below are some of the most common situations in which it’s probably best to put an end to things.

  1. When they’re not emotionally available You deserve someone who is available to put their all into a relationship with you. No matter how much they care for you, it’s just not good enough if they can’t emotionally invest in the relationship the way you are. Think of Carrie and Mr. Big. All those years that she loved him but he was emotionally unavailable and cold? She got majorly hurt until she finally decided to cut him out of her life.
  2. When they’re not making you happy Love is one of the strongest forces in the universe, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Happiness, specifically your happiness, is really important. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing in life, what’s the point of it? So it doesn’t matter how much you love someone. It’s just not worth it if they’re not making you happy.
  3. When they’re causing you any physical, mental, or emotional harm Often, people who are stuck in abusive relationships struggle to leave because, despite it all, they still love their partner. And they believe that their partner will eventually change. But this way of thinking keeps people trapped. Love is not enough of a reason to stick around when someone is causing you harm, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. No type of abuse is ever okay.
  4. When you’ve lost yourself Sometimes, the decision to leave someone you love will actually have nothing to do with them, but everything to do with you. If you find someone you really love but you end up losing yourself along the way, you might need to step away from the relationship to find yourself again. This might be because the relationship is so consuming. Or because there are other things going on in your life that have caused you to lose yourself. You’ll know this is the case because you’ll feel like you’ve lost your sense of purpose, your sense of direction, and your sense of who you are.
  5. When they love someone else Open relationships are in a lane of their own here, and it’s up to the people in the relationship themselves to decide what’s okay in terms of loving other people. But when you’re in a monogamous relationship with someone, knowing that they love someone else is just too painful to put yourself through. It might be an ex that they still love or a friend that they can’t have. Knowing that they feel that way is usually a sign that it’s time to rethink the relationship. You don’t deserve to be second-best.
  6. When your needs aren’t being met We all have needs. In a relationship, it isn’t up to the other person to completely take responsibility for all of your needs. At the same time, it’s important to consider your partner’s needs and play your part in bringing something to the relationship that enhances their life. For example, your partner might ignore your need for a stable relationship by coming home at all hours, sporadically disappearing, and never following through with their promises. It might be time to reconsider things if your needs aren’t being met.
  7. When you can’t trust them For many people, trust is even more important than love when it comes to a relationship. Even if you love your partner, it might be time to walk away if you can’t trust them. That’s not just when it comes to being faithful, either. You should be able to trust your partner to have your back, to act in your best interests, and to keep their word.
  8. When your relationship is based on memories only People change and so do relationships. Just because your relationship was once amazing doesn’t mean it has the potential to last forever. Take into account your current relationship rather than just what your relationship once was. It’s not a good sign if the only time you’re happy together is when you’re reliving memories from the past.
  9. When you can’t agree on major values and life decisions When you and your partner fundamentally disagree on how to live life, love might not be enough to save your relationship. Things like moral values, political and social beliefs, and even religion shouldn’t matter, but in some cases, they do. If staying means that you’ll be betraying your beliefs and living in a way that’s inauthentic to you, you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.


Vanessa Locampo is an Aussie writer who’s equally obsessed with YA fiction and pasta. Her time is divided between writing all the things, reading all the things, listening to Queen, and bopping her cat on the nose. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and has written for sites including Hotsprings.co and Discovering Montana, and currently works as an editor at Glam. You can keep up with her on Instagram @vanessaellewrites.