Habits can be hard to break, just ask any smoker who has tried and failed to give it up, but what about emotional habits?

Familiarity, security, insecurity, routine, fear of being alone, are just some of the reasons why people around the world find themselves in relationships that make them unhappy and have gone stale and lost that spark. The reasons above also relate to people in relationships that are bad for them, violent, destructive, based on lies and deceit; but there are also relationships where nothing has specifically gone wrong, when nobody has hurt the other person, but the realization niggles away that this person is no right for you, and the desire to find true love, and a real soul mate pushes you to almost end the relationship - but then the fear kicks in and the question arises "Can I really do this?"

The answer is yes you can.

If you have worked hard to make your relationship work, yet have still reached the conclusion that is simply is not working and this person and the relationship you have is not right for, nor making you happy, steps can be taken to break the habit of this relationship and move on for good.

It can be too easy to have "little breaks" time apart to think things through, a few meaningless one night stands and disastrous dates in between, convince you that the grass is not greener, and so you return to your "bad habit" vowing to make it work, only to find a few months later, you are restless once again, looking to make that final, and lasting break.

If you are in a position where your partner does not feel the same way, and still wants to be with you, either they are in denial about the state of the relationship and are also scared to break the bad habit or sadly, they genuinely love and want to be with you. Mutual break ups are easier to deal with, as it's a mutual agreement and no party is left feeling "guilty." However, if you find yourself in the position where you are scared of hurting someone you care about by leaving them, ask yourself, is it really fair on them to be with someone, who does not love them as much as they love you? Despite their protests at first, in the long run, they too will realise that you did the right thing and will be grateful that you ended things when you did. A short period of unhappiness is not a bad price to pay, for long term happiness.

There are examples of relationships where one person refuses to let the other go, and through guilt and fear of hurting someone, we can find ourselves sacrificing our own happiness, to keep somebody else happy. This may continue for a while, until the resentment sets in, then you may find yourself in a situation of power, being able to do anything you want in return of continuing the status of "in a relationship."

This is a dangerous and destructive path to go down, and also no good for either of you - a total clean break must be considered, and below are steps towards this:

• Make the decision to leave and stick to it
If you live with the person, it can be difficult as there are financial commitments and ties, but once you have made the decision to end the relationship after careful though and consideration, try and stick to it, Tell yourself it is over, and begin to plan how and when you are going to tell the other person.

• Have clear reasons for ending the relationship

This will help when explaining to the person why you have decided to end the relationship. If your reasons are not clear, you are open to waver when challenged and be may persuaded to give it another go.

• Choose an appropriate time and place to tell the other person its over

Text/phone/email are not an option, no matter how worried you are about dumping them, it simply is not fair, they deserve a proper explanation, face to face. A quiet spot, when both of you have free time and do not have to be anywhere else afterwards is a good place to start.

• Do not fall for tears, guilt trip, begging and pleading, stay strong.

Ok, so you would have to be pretty heartless not to care, nobody wants to hurt anybody, let alone someone they care about. However, stay strong, and explain that in the long run this is for the best. You have to be cruel to be kind, tell them they deserve someone who really loves and wants to be with them. It is hard, but eventually they will get over you and the tears will stop. It may continue over the phone/text/email for a few weeks, leading to months - reply if you like but be firm and do not show any signs that you might re-consider/change your mind. This will only give them false hope and is cruel if you then change your mind again.

• Limit/cut contact

At first, you will probably still be in touch with your now ex quite a lot, as discussed at the beginning, it can be hard to break a habit or a routine, but gradually you need to aim to limit/cut contact, to ensure both of you move on and make clean breaks. If you have agreed to stay friendly, agree you need a moving on period, and a friendship will only be possible once both of you have fully moved on. Agree to speak in 6 months time via email/phone and see how that goes. You may find once you have both moved on, there is little need for keeping in contact, as you will no longer have a lot in common, apart from mutual friends perhaps. A general catch up email every few months is all that is needed.

• Never be tempted in moments of weakness to call them/go back

Months later you have not found anyone else/are feeling lonely/miserable/you have had disastrous dates and found nobody who understands you, you are drunk.... the list could go on for those moments of weakness where you reach for the phone, and tell your ex you think you made a mistake and want them back. This will undo all the progress you have made so far, so resist, and delete their number if you have to. Remind yourself of why you ended the relationship in the first place, and tell yourself you can be, and are happy alone. Spend time with friends, family, focus on your career, travel, you do not have to find another partner straight after ending a relationship. You will meet different people, in different situations constantly, and who knows when one of those people might turn out into a date, two dates, a long term relationship - but do not obsess and focus on this, and certainly do not be tempted to go back to your ex for fear of never finding anyone else.

• Be proud of yourself

You will know when you are finally over your ex, or rather the habit of being with them. When you can think back to the relationship and have happy memories of the good times, but relief that you are no longer involved with that person. 12 months on reflect on your journey and be proud of yourself. You may be in another relationship by then, but even if you are not, hopefully you will be in a happy place and pleased that you got out of your stale relationship once and for all.

About Author / Additional Info: