If it's well and truly over, make sure you walk away with your head held high.
It may have been coming for a while, with both you and your partner fully aware that the end was nigh. On the other hand, it may come as a complete surprise to one of you.
Whichever it is, the sad fact is that relationships do end and their death throws are seldom pretty. But there are ways to make sure you both walk away with dignity and self-respect intact. Here are some expert pointers.
When you split up with her
If you're the one doing the breaking up, the first thing to remember is this: be kind.
It could be that your soon-to-be ex had no idea she was about to be dumped. It could be that she had no inkling of the extent of your unhappiness. Or she may have been desperately trying to cling to a relationship that was clearly sinking under the waves.
Whatever it is, remember that you love, loved or at least really liked this person once. You shared plenty of good times as well as the more recent bad. You owe it to her to treat her with respect when you split up.
"First of all, you need to think quite a bit about yourself and why you're breaking up the relationship," says relationship educator Francine Kaye. "You need to know why you have reached this impasse, because you owe it to your partner to be able to explain it to her."
Don't beat yourself up
Relationships end and it's not your duty to stick with a partnership that is making you unhappy. But in Kaye's words, "you need to complete the relationship, without blame, rather than split up."
In other words, by understanding why you want it to end and by explaining that clearly to your partner you are offering the chance for both of you to grow. You're giving both of you the chance to learn lessons. By doing so, your ex can take something positive from a painful time.
"Gain an understanding of why you've fallen out of love, explain it without blame, and you give her the chance to move on with dignity," says Kaye.
It may be that you have different interests, or you feel you can't communicate with her. Either way, remember that her interests are still perfectly valid, and that any communication issues may be as much to do with you as her.
"Even if you think your needs weren't being met in the relationship, it could easily be that you weren't articulating your needs well. Take some responsibility. It could be that this is no-one's fault," says Kaye.
You need to let her feel she has completed the relationship that it has come to a natural end. So after talking through the issues you may have had, ask her if there's anything else she needs you to explain. To avoid going round in ever more bitter circles, agree a time limit for your talk and then agree to meet some time later maybe in a month to clear up any loose ends.
Nobody is suggesting that this will make her happy or make breaking up pain-free. But it will give both of you something positive to take from the relationships. OK, it didn't last a lifetime most relationships don't but you will both learn important lessons for the future.
When she splits up with you
To some extent, the same applies if she's doing the splitting and you've been caught by surprise.
At some point you need to ask her to explain why she feels the relationship came to an end. Again, avoid apportioning blame, and try to get to the core issue whether that's money, sex, social lives or anything else so you can avoid repeating mistakes next time.
But when you're the one facing that long dark night of the soul, you need simple, practical advice too. You need tips to get you through the emotional torment of being dumped by someone you love.
Kate Taylor, relationship expert for match.com, says the most important thing is to talk about it but not to her.
"Female friends are perfect, as they'll be sympathetic and supportive and will encourage you to get everything emotional out in the open," she says. "Later on, your male mates will come into their own, teasing you to cheer you up and taking you back out on the town."
Then do the practical stuff that will help to keep your mind off you-know-who while at the same time slowly expunging her presence from your life. De-ex your flat or room. Get rid of her stuff and, if the whole place reminds you of her, move furniture around or give it a lick of paint.
Then hit the gym to get happy hormones rushing through your system and ask for new tasks at work, says Taylor.
"Our minds can't hold more than seven thoughts at a time," she explains, "so fill your brain up and slowly squeeze out thoughts of your ex. Ask for new challenges at work, tougher assignments, overtime anything you can get. Not only will it break up your daily routine, but it will be a positive distraction."
This is the fire-fighting stuff, the things you need to do in the first days, weeks and months of a relationship ending to make yourself feel better, if only a bit.
After that, you can start thinking about lessons you've learned and how they may help in future relationships. Then you can start taking positive messages from a painful time.
Don't get us wrong. Splitting up is never easy, whether you're the one doing the breaking-up or the one being broken up with. But the main thing, says Kaye, is this: "No relationship is worthless. Even when you're hurting, you are learning. If you can see it as a chance to learn and grow, you can both walk away with your dignity intact."
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