Most self-help authors won’t tell you how to end a relationship. But I’ve learned that in order to have the relationships we long for, we have to get really honest. And sometimes, that means admitting that a relationship just isn’t flowing anymore.
It’s not about fixing, forcing it or manic-manifesting it. It’s about embracing change, and letting go with love.
But this is a difficult topic. Many people just don’t know how to end a relationship. Especially when they care deeply for the other person.
Well, my friend, that’s where this episode of the Dear Gabby podcast comes in.
Dear Gabby, Can You Tell Me How to End a Relationship?
People want to know how to end a relationship. But before I tell them what to do, there’s one thing I tell them NOT to do …
“Don’t end it like an a–hole!”
I’ve been hearing a lot about the phenomenon of “silently quitting” lately.
Some people are “silently quitting” their jobs. This means they show up for the gig, but their heart’s just not in it.
The same thing can happen in relationships. Let me ask you this: Have you ever been ghosted … or have you ghosted someone else? Some people think that’s how to end a relationship!
A Spiritual Adjustment
I understand why it may seem easier to slowly back away from a situation, rather than addressing conflict head-on or ripping off the Band-Aid.
But in reality, ending a relationship this way creates a whole lot of chaos. It can really lower your energetic vibes. And it’s not fair to the other person.
So on Dear Gabby, I’ll offer a spiritual adjustment for anyone who’s tempted to “silently quit” a friendship, a romance, or any other kind of connection. If you want to know how to end a relationship with grace, just press play.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- A cathartic writing exercise to help you find closure in a relationship
- Why relationships don’t have to be completely over when they end … and how to leave the door open for future possibilities
- How to practice nonviolent communication (this is the method I swear by when I need to have difficult conversations)
- How to create deeper connections with your friends
I hope this episode serves all your relationships. And I have a lot more relationship advice where that comes from …
The Relationship Challenge
I’m so excited about my new Relationship Challenge! This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever put out there, and I am OBSESSED with sharing it.
My close friends are even signing up! (These people who have me on speed dial—but they want to find all my best relationship advice in one place.)
But one night, someone very close to me put me to the test.
“The challenge sounds cool,” she said. “But what will it solve, exactly?”
I looked her in the eye and I made a heartfelt promise that the Relationship Challenge would change her life forever.
My Promise to You
I want to make the same promise to you. If you sign up for the Relationship Challenge and commit to it for 14 days, you WILL:
- Change your patterns in relationships, so you STOP attracting the same drama!
- Feel more confident in relationships
- Release TONS of anxiety
- Improve your communication skills
- Finally relax and just be yourself—in romantic relationships, at the office and even with difficult family members
I’ve done all of that ^^, thanks to the exact methods I teach inside the Relationship Challenge. I really want to share them with YOU!
Here’s what you’ll get when you sign up for the challenge:
- Healing meditations to release insecurity and judgment so you can feel more confident in relationships
- Spiritual exercises to learn how to honor your feelings and improve communication
- Proven techniques to create healthy boundaries and protect your energy
- Gentle methods to ease anxiety and develop deeper levels of trust and acceptance
- A LIVE Relationship Q&A Workshop with me on October 14 at 1 PM/ET
Trust me, you do not want to miss this! I hope you’ll allow me to be your relationship coach for 14 days in October. And I hope today’s Dear Gabby helps you feel grounded and confident, even when the relationships in your life feel unstable.
Get More Gabby
The following are helpful resources and books I mention in the episode:
If today’s episode of Dear Gabby served you, I hope you’ll join my Relationship Challenge! Inside, you’ll get 14 days of life-changing lessons that will transform all your relationships. I’ll be your coach every step of the way.
Sign up for the Relationship Challenge now!
The following episodes of Dear Gabby will give you more insight on topics I discussed today:
82: Meditation for Connecting to Your Higher Self
76: Spiritual Solutions for Confrontation
83: Stop Taking on Other People’s Energy & Emotions—BIG Talk with Wendy de Rosa
My latest book is Happy Days: The Guided Path from Trauma to Profound Freedom and Inner Peace. In it, I share nine transformational, yet untapped, techniques for serenity and genuine happiness—from ways to reparent yourself to bodywork practices for freeing the stuck energy of past trauma.
If you feel you need more support, please refer to this list of mental health resources. I’m proud of you for being here.
This podcast is intended to educate, inspire and support you on your personal journey toward inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.
The following podcast is a Dear Media production.
Hi there, Gabby here. This podcast is intended to educate, inspire and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do...
The following podcast is a Dear Media production.
Hi there, Gabby here. This podcast is intended to educate, inspire and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from a psychological or medical condition, please seek help from a qualified health professional.
Listen up, my friends. Check this out. This is so cool! My 14-day Relationships Challenge is starting in just a few days; it’s starting on October 1st. It’s not too late to join. We’re going to also keep the doors open October 5th. So make sure you get in there if it’s something you feel like you want.
And now more than ever we’re all just in this place where we want more love and connection. We want to feel closer to our loved ones, to our partners, to our work relationships. And that’s why I just jumped in head-first and created a 14-day relationship challenge that’s designed to help you release the most common blocks in your relationships. And this is including friendships, family, work relationships and your lovers. Everyone. Even your kids.
So in this 14 days, you will learn how to release insecurity and I’m going to teach you how to set healthy boundaries which so many people get hung up about. And this will open your heart to a deeper connection. So it’s time to stop worrying and obsessing about all your relationships. And you can start now, attracting that love and that connection that you really deserve.
So join the relationship challenge now. Head over to deargabby.com/relationship to join us.
Hey there. Welcome to Dear Gabby. I’m your host Gabby Bernstein. And if you landed here, it is absolutely no accident. It means you are ready to feel good and manifest a life beyond your wildest dreams. Let’s get started.
It’s always good for me to host a Dear Gabby Live when shit is going down in my own life. So, welcome back to the show. Welcome back. Our own experience offers us the greatest opportunity to teach and so, in this moment, IRL, in real life, I am dealing with a relationship issue. A work relationship. And, it’s the end of an era. Truly. And it’s something we all have to face at certain times. Relationships that once served us may not be the same in a few years. Whether that’s a work relationship. Whether that’s a romantic relationship. Whether that is a relationship with even a family member. Sometimes we change; they change. When the match is no longer a match, it’s not a match. And we have to know when it’s time to let go.
And I remember watching a video from a prior Dear Gabby when I said something like, if you think you’re trying to force a relationship, then it’s meant to end. Because if we’re in that place where we’re trying to force something to happen, it’s not in anyone’s best interest. So I think that all of us right here right now could probably raise our hands and say yeah. At some point in time or even right now, maybe you’re trying to force a relationship.
Maybe you’re trying to keep something going that really isn’t serving you anymore. Or you’re noticing that this connection may not be serving the other person. I’ve been hearing a lot about these folks that like do the silent quit. You know, when someone’s checked out, in whatever form that is, whether it’s in the relationship romantically or it’s in the work relationship. Where a boss is no longer excited about working with you. Whatever the dynamic might be.
It’s never healthy. Who wants to silently quit their relationships? Who wants to silently quit a job or a romantic relationship or you keep somebody employed when it’s just no longer working? So it’s really about today, busting through the myth that it’s better to be silent. It’s better to be sort of let things roll and see how it works than it is to just rip off the bandaid and say, What’s up? How’s it going? And if it’s not going to work, how can we find a better solution?
And that’s hard, and that’s frustrating and that’s annoying, but in my life—as you guys know—I practice radical honesty. And so when things aren’t flowing, I identify the lack of flow and just what adjustments can be made to make it better.
And so, I’m sure there’s many of you out there right now, ready to be Dear Gabby’d feeling that feeling of yeah. I think that I understand that. I know what it’s like when maybe there’s a relationship that’s no longer serving me.
Look, the other thing I want to emphasize is that relationships, while they change, they don’t necessarily have to end. And when you have a professionalism, when you have a level of respect for humankind, when you have a connection to someone and center into that self-energy that we always talk about on the show. The calm, compassionate, courageous part of ourselves. When we’re in that energy, and we end a relationship, we actually leave the door open for the relationship to be whatever it’s meant to be in the future.
Whereas, when we end a relationship with an attitude or we end a relationship abruptly, unnecessarily, unprofessionally because of our own wounds and our own triggers, we completely shut off the opportunity for what it could be. And when relationships change, it doesn’t mean that they have to be over forever. It doesn’t mean that they don’t exist anymore, it just means that they’re moving into a different direction.
And so, I really want to emphasize that done doesn’t have to be done. It can just be done in this way. And I love the concept of silently quitting your relationship. I’m wondering if people out there have done that. And I want to talk about this because so many of the relationship topics that we’re going to be bringing up right now as we enter into the 14-day relationship challenge where I’m your relationship coach, and I’m very well-equipped to be that, by the way given all of the commitments I’ve made to myself in relationships and others.
When we get ourselves grounded in that place of self-awareness and connection to that self-energy, connection to that respect for ourselves and for the other, we actually can allow relationships to change and flow and shift. And not necessarily be over or be destructed or taken down or contentious, whatever form they could be.
And today, I want to really open up the opportunity that things can be new or different. That they don’t have to be over. You don’t have to ruin it. You don’t have to end the connection. I like this because oftentimes, so much just crumbles when we’re not in that connected energy facing into conflict.
And so, today let’s talk about conflict. Let’s talk about changing relationships. Let’s talk about how to handle the conflicts in our relationships. Let’s just talk about what it means to step away, walk away. When to know it’s time to walk away.
Bring it to me today. I wanna hear from you. I’m definitely going to take you further with this as we go into the Relationship Challenge. 14 days I’m going to totally coach you to the level of completely resurrecting the way you perceive yourself in relationships and the way that you show up in your relationships because it begins with you.
If you are not taking care of your side of the street then it ain’t gonna work out. You’re gonna always feel like the victim. Or you’re going to blame others so you don’t have to face how you showed up. So my job here is to coach you in showing up in relationships in your highest and best whether they stick around or not.
I hope you’re loving this episode. And if you’re seeing any clips of this episode online, you’re noticing that my makeup is beautiful and well-done. And I’m gonna brag about that right now in a major way. My makeup is amazing because since 2020 I actually had to become my own makeup artist. And yes, I do have the luxury of having people come out to do my makeup at this stage because we are out in the world a bit more.
But most of the time, whenever I’m recording a podcast, or whenever I’m doing something quick on-the-fly, I am doing my own makeup. And that’s where today’s sponsor comes in.
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GABBY: Talk to me, my love. How’s it going?
CALLER: Hi, there! I actually was on about seven months ago. And we talked about how best to deal with my family dynamic and relationship with a borderline/narcissist mom. And so, your advice was super, super helpful. And I’ve actually started IFS myself and found a really cool therapist, uncovered stuff, some really really crazy awesome things.
GABBY: Beautiful. Amazing. Excellent. What she’s referring to is Internal Family Systems Therapy. So, if you’re listening, you can go back and listen to our episode with Dick Schwartz or any of my episodes on Internal Family Systems—just for those who are new to that conversation. Okay, carry on.
CALLER: So I think anxiety is just something that’s been prevalent in my life for as long as I can remember. I’m married to a fabulous man, but I think we’re more friends and roommates than we are in a relationship any longer. And so, that’s driving a lot of anxiety for me. And it’s, I think, causing me to use marijuana a lot more than I have. And so that’s something I seek help with through IFS but in other ways too. But I’d just kinda love your thoughts on how to kind of…yeah.
CALLER: Go from there! [laughs]
GABBY: Well, the using marijuana from an Internal Family Systems therapy perspective is it’s a part. So there’s part of you that’s turning to the drugs in what sounds like somewhat of an addictive way, an unmanageable way.
GABBY: I’m just gonna say right now, that’s a protector that’s doing some work for you.
GABBY: While we recognize that it’s in an extreme role and we want to relax that part of you, let’s not judge it. Okay? So you’re in a relationship that is great in many ways but it’s not the way that you want it to be for a marriage. Go sign up right now for the Relationship Challenge.
Go to deargabby.com/relationship. Don’t walk, run. Because that 14-day challenge, 10 minutes a day, will uncover for you what parts of you need to relax, what parts of you can shift so that what’s necessary for the relationship can be revealed.
GABBY: It’s a challenge for your relationships but frankly, it’s a challenge for you to recognize what it is within you that’s showing up in these ways. And how you can self-soothe, and how you can be compassionate, and how you can love yourself more so that your relationships can greatly benefit and thrive as a result.
And some people might end the relationship challenge with, “Alright. Maybe this relationship isn’t right for me or maybe this relationship isn’t right the way that it is.” Not right or wrong, but just isn’t serving our highest and best anymore. That’s a great outcome too. I’m not suggesting that’s yours, I’m just saying that anything’s possible.
GABBY: When you take that mirror and you start looking back at yourself, and begin to be the witness with a lot of love and compassion and no judgment, be the nonjudgmental witness of your internal parts. And through the IFS work that you’re doing, through the relationship challenge, and through any of our other episodes on relationships. Start doing that work, you’re gonna have all the answers revealed to you.
And when you start to heal your inner world, you no longer will need that firefighter part that’s running to the marijuana. So let’s not judge that part. Let’s say thank you for doing whatever you had to do to keep me safe at this time. But I would love to get a little bit curious about what’s beneath that firefighter.
GABBY: So that I don’t have to be in such an extreme way.
CALLER: That’s fair. That’s the next step. It’s what I’m working on with my therapist in our next session. So that’s the perfect segue. [laughs]
GABBY: Yep, yep, yep. Go take that challenge.
CALLER: I will.
GABBY: Go to deargabby.com/relationship. Do not miss that, please. This is for you.
CALLER: Thank you so much, Gabby.
GABBY: I’m really proud of you. You’re doing great work. You may say oh I’m running from this or that. No, you’re doing great work. Everything’s beautiful. You’re right on track.
CALLER: Thank you so much.
GABBY: Alright who’s next, Sammy?
CALLER: Hello, Gabby. How are you?
GABBY: Really good, thank you. What’s going on?
CALLER: So I have a fiancé and we have a daughter together who is one years old and I absolutely believe that he is my person. We had a fast like we were friends for a year and then a romance happened fast and quick and so I feel like when…oh and then we got pregnant.
GABBY: Oh yeah, that happens.
CALLER: Which has been such a blessing and we absolutely believe in God’s plan is better than ours and we’re so grateful for the timing that she’s come into our lives but we definitely lost out on that time where couples I think like learn to navigate life as a couple like go from being individuals.
GABBY: Yeah, it’s fast.
CALLER: And so our biggest struggle has been I feel like healthy boundaries and setting I think just healthy terms of engagement in terms of how do we protect this relationship? How do we create a safe space in terms of our boundaries with outside people?
And we have very different views of what that looks like and it’s gotten to the point where I would say I’m struggling with trusting him at times. And it’s not that I think he’s maliciously trying to do anything like I know it’s not cheating but it’s hard because I just feel like I have a certain standard of how I protect a relationship and what that looks like.
GABBY: So I’m hearing that obviously it’s a lot to sort of enter into a relationship and have a child immediately and that’s a lot. But it’s amazing that you’re here because it’s very very very necessary to start practicing what we’re talking about here today.
Which is if you guys are having any disconnect around your own boundaries your own personal beliefs about connection, then it has to come to the forefront. Because you can’t silently quit your new relationship with a newborn, right?
GABBY: So you gotta really, now more than ever, bring that level of respect to yourself and to him to the table. And so, this is really about speaking truth from a place that isn’t triggered.
Again, we’ve got a lot of episodes on this kind of topic. There’s the whole boundary episode. So re-listen to that, but identifying that there’s a disconnect. Hey, I am noticing that there’s a disconnect between us, and let him know how that makes you feel.
And I feel… And in this relationship I need…to feel safe. I need you know whatever, and then very gently say here’s my suggestion of how we can move forward.
Let’s go to therapy or let’s read this book together or let’s get a coach or let’s just tell the truth all the time or whatever it might be. But I’m noticing so noticing the situation calling it out. I feel this is nonviolent communication. I feel this feeling. Then this is what I need.
You know, it’s very cool to say hey I need this I think that damn respect, right? So I want you to consider what that would look like for you. I’m noticing I’m feeling I need this and then in addition to that I need, I think you do you want it then say that I have for moving forward.
Why don’t we try this? Or why don’t we try this coach or I read this book or here’s a nonviolent communication book that I really recommend you go buy. Whatever that might be. Because creating that foundation early particularly with a child is mandatory to thrive in your relationship.
CALLER: Absolutely. Perfect. Thank you.
GABBY: Gorgeous, thank you, my love.
Now for a quick word from our sponsor, Better Help.
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GABBY: Alright, who’s next?
CALLER: I’ll say that I have silently quit a lot of friendships since I started my healing journey, and I used to feel like I would have to make a big statement boundary to say: this is what you did or this is how I didn’t feel supported. And the silently quitting it really has felt better because you’re not making that jump to the other side.
And then when and if that relationship is going to come back into your life, you know it’s not gonna be hard to come back in and there’s different seasons for different times of our life. But you know it still hurts a little bit that you’re not as close with those people.
GABBY: I have a little spiritual adjustment for what you’re saying. So, here’s the story sweetheart. While it might feel easier to silently quit and not make a big thing out of it, just sort of letting some thing fizzle. While that might seem easier, it’s actually not. Because while nothing’s been said, energetically, it’s not clean.
And that’s the sadness that you’re feeling, that’s the disconnect, that’s the separation. And I genuinely believe that anything can be said or healed when you’re in that compassionate, courageous energy—that self energy. So I want to encourage you guys because if anyone’s listening to the show that means you’re a miracle worker means that you’re here to do big work in the world personally professionally. You’re here to show up as your highest and best.
And so, I may consider sending you off to look at those relationships that you silently quit and to get centred in to all that you love about them, and all the compassion you have towards them, the connection that you’ve felt towards them, and that calm energy that you possess. And maybe just in your journal, write down an alternate way of expressing how you feel to them.
And then when possible if you feel called, write him a note, send them a letter. I know that we haven’t been in touch a lot lately and I believe that there’s things of change between us but I just want you know I really care about you and you know there’s no reason to end like an a**, right? And while you have not ended like an a**, you’ve just fizzled. It still feels off I imagine, right?
GABBY: Yeah. So the more that we take care of our side of the street. That’s a beautiful 12-step slogan. You know, take care of your side of the street. The more than we take care of our side of the street, the better we feel about ourselves.
And somebody quit a job at our company kind of abruptly a little while back and I thought she was really good at her job and I really liked working with her. While she may have quit abruptly because of whatever was going on for her. I don’t want to end it that way no so instead of being like screw you, I texted her and I was like, listen it was such an honor to work with you and you’re really bright young woman and I’m so excited to see what you do with your career.
And it wasn’t bulls**t. That was truth. I genuinely enjoyed working with her and I wanted her to know that. And so, not only did that make me feel better as the adult employer that was like you’re awesome. Sorry it didn’t work out, you know. But it also allowed her to settle whatever might’ve been going on for her.
Because you have to remember, people have their own stories right? You may think that they’re charging you were but they’re like in their own problem, right? Or they create a story about this. So the more honesty and clarity and clarification and calmness and connection that we can bring to these relationships that are changing, the better it is for us energetically.
We’re not carrying the baggage of unresolved communication.
CALLER: I got you I do have a question I’m in the sense of relationships. I wasn’t getting the reciprocated energy. And so, while to me it felt like I was silently quitting. It was more ultimately was reflecting back.
GABBY: Right, go to protector mode. You were like oh you’re not gonna give me energy I’m gonna withhold my energy, but what I wanna adjust here is getting you into that adult resourced self, that doesn’t need to protect anything. Like I can just very calmly, and in a connected way say I’m noticing things are changing and that’s cool. We can totally move in different directions.
I just want you to know I appreciate you and or I want to see you know this is this is how you feel and you don’t even have to respond. I just want to say it so I take care of myself. I wouldn’t recommend any of these conversations if they’re not in that self heart-centered place—the 8-C qualities of self. There was a beautiful episode called Spiritual Solutions for Confrontation. I think that’s gonna really nicely accompany this episode. That would be episode 76 and I recommend it if there is some silent silent quitting in relationships. I love that then that would be one to go look at so you can face the conflict with a lot of love.
And when we talk about self, we’re talking about the internal family systems therapy work of your adult resourced, undamaged self, and we can make decisions speak from that place our highest self then we can say anything. And it will be heard. It will be respected, and we can trust in it. Self can say hey, you know it’s been tough to be friends lately and I just want you know that. And I also really love you.
CALLER: Gabby, I appreciate you.
GABBY: Thank you, my love.
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Well, this has been a good show. This has been an important show. This is clearly a topic that I don’t think is brought to the forefront because we’re always giving advice in the how-to space of this is how you fix the relationship or this is how you make things better, but we don’t often talk about how to lay it out, how to tell the truth how do you stop hiding. How to stop shutting down but instead to just be in the pursuit of truth and connection and resolution, however that may come.
And relationships can end, but they don’t have to be over. They can just change it have to be done, and we have the power within us to express how we feel with nonviolent communication, have our needs respected, heard and met, and we have the ability to create deeper connections by just empathizing in a very healthy way. Yeah, I’m feeling unsafe and I’m noticing you’re unsafe too. I wonder if we could connect more on that.
And just grounding ourselves as much as possible and that seat of self energy. I really recommend everybody go back and listen to episode 82. It is a meditation for connecting to your higher self before any conflict, before any interpersonal conversation that needs to be addressed. I want you to practice that meditation, really practice it every day.
Hope you’re really proud of yourself for sticking around until the end of this episode. Because this is really big stuff; it’s scary. It’s sometimes very threatening to our internal system to consider telling people how we feel, speaking up for ourselves. But I hope that this episode gave you some more confidence that you have it in you. And some tools to really take the next steps forward. Thanks for joining me today on Dear Gabby.
If you made it to the end of this episode, that means you’re truly committed to miracles. I’m really proud of you. If you wanna get more Gabby, tune in every Monday for a new episode. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the guidance or special bonus episodes. Your experience of this show means a lot to me.
So I really wanna welcome you to leave an honest review and you can follow me on social media @GabbyBernstein. And if you wanna get in on the action, sign up for a chance to be Dear Gabby’d live at deargabby.com. See you next week.