Web Culture

3 Polite Ways To End Online Relationships Without Getting Stalked

Tina Sieber 03-01-2010

ways to end relationshipsLet’s be honest: ending a relationship is difficult.


Now, when you are in an online relationship, breaking up seems so much easier. Since all means of communication are electronic, you literally just pull the plug. It’s easy to simply ignore someone – out of sight, out of mind.

If you’ve ever tried that, you’ll know it is definitely not one of the easiest ways to end relationships. Because what will probably happen is that your ex won’t get it or won’t want to let it go that easily. As a result you will be flooded with questions and messages through eMail, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and whatnot. You’ll be fed up with it quickly and you’ll respond aggressively. That’s when things can get ugly.

So are there polite ways to end relationships online? A way without hurting or confusing your ex to the point where they will either hate or stalk you? Yes, there is a polite way to break up. However, there are no guarantees that it will work out the way you’d hoped. But least you will know you tried your best and you won’t have to feel guilty. That’s worth a lot, isn’t it?

Once you are 100% sure that you want to break up, prepare. How are you going to tell your ex, what are the reasons, do you have to give all the reasons, can you remain friends?

There are three polite means of communication through which you can end an online relationship. BUT you don’t just pick the one that is most convenient for you. Rather, you should pick the one through which the two of you have been communicating the most. It’s like in a traditional relationship, you won’t just text your ex-to-be, but you will sit down and talk (if you’re polite anyways).



This is by no means the easiest way to end a relationship as you are not able to foresee their reactions and act accordingly. Thus your eMail will require a lot of thought.

Begin with the positive memories, what was gained in the relationship, what did you enjoy, and why did you appreciate being with your ex. Then explain why the relationship is no longer working for you. Although this is the negative part, be polite and don’t point out all the mistakes your ex has made. If there have been things that annoyed you, only mention them if your ex can change anything about it. For example, they cannot change their passions. They can, however, change habits. But whatever you write, don’t leave room for hope. Don’t encourage them to beg you to give them a second chance. You have to be determined to end this relationship and then pull through.

Try to find the right moment to send the eMail. Send it when you know they will have time to read your eMail and think about it.

ways to end relationships online


Whichever way you choose to break up, there are three golden rules to follow:

  • Respect
    Respect your ex, do not make accusations, only blame yourself. It will make it easier for them to realize their own faults.
  • Politeness
    Are there very specific reasons for breaking up? Only talk about them if your ex can actually change them. Be nice when expressing these reasons.
  • Determination
    Do not send mixed messages. Be straight forward and to the point. Don’t leave room for hope. End it and mean it.

Instant Message / Chat

Again, you must find the right moment to chat. Ask them whether they have some time now because you need to tell them something very important. Reschedule in case they are in a hurry.

Basically, conveying your message in chat works the same as writing an eMail, only that it’s an actual conversation. Because of that, you have to prepare very well. You don’t have hours to ponder what you want to say when your ex is glued to the screen. Also, you don’t have time to evaluate possible answers when they interrupt you with questions.

In any case, follow the three golden rules from above and be polite.


Voice Chat / Phone

Breaking up over the phone is probably the most inconvenient way. However, the rules don’t change. Be prepared, make sure it’s a good time to talk for your ex, be respectful, polite, and determined.

When talking, it’s easier for your ex to interrupt you. Ask them nicely to let you finish and say you will listen to them afterwards. Above all, be calm, patient, and positive and express it with your voice. Don’t sound rude, angry or bored. Even if what you say is perfectly polite and respectful, your tone of voice can ruin the message.

ways to end relationships

Be prepared for questions and be open! Answer as nicely and honest as you can once, as in one eMail or one chat session. Then terminate the conversation. If you want to remain friends, at least ask for a break. If you don’t, tell them that you are going to delete all of their information and ask them to do the same. Finally, tell them that you do not wish to be contacted again. Stick to it.


The title of this article contains the conclusion “without getting stalked”. As I said in the introduction, there are no guarantees things will go your way. Maybe you are ending the relationship because your ex has been way too attached to you and you barely had room to breathe. Chances are they won’t take it lightly.

When you follow the advice in this article, you’ll reduce the chances of your ex-lover becoming your stalker. However, if it happens anyways, know that you are no longer dealing with a friend. You are now dealing with someone who is obsessed with you. In other words, handle them like a stalker, not like someone you once cared for.

That means you may never encourage them in any way. Do not feel tempted to comfort them. Never ever respond! Change your contact information, block or ignore the person, delete their information from all your accounts, turn off your “online status” report, lock them out by making accounts private or shared with friends only. If ignoring them doesn’t help, report them. Stalking is a crime. You will receive further help through the Stalking self-help page.

For any future online relationships, know that this could happen with anyone, anytime. Hence, limit the amount of information you share about yourself. At least until you fully trust that person.

Has someone broken up with you? Do you want to respond, but don’t know how to do it right? You might find this article on How to Write a Goodbye Letter helpful.

What was the worst way someone has broken up with you?

Image credits: spekulator, naraosga, ba1969

Related topics: Email Tips, Online Chat, Online Dating.

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  1. andy
    January 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm


    either change the about us. or better still.

    Use the technology to create a vote for what users actually want to read on this site.

  2. UGH
    January 5, 2010 at 3:50 am

    I hope MakeUseOf cuts down on such articles this year and focuses on quality. Entries like this are filler bordering on being condescending.

    "Breaking up over the phone is probably the most inconvenient way" .... hahhaa.

  3. Ryan Dube
    January 4, 2010 at 9:21 am

    This article was very well done Tina - I have a feeling there are a lot of people out there who struggle with this dilemma, and hopefully your last few paragraphs in particular will give them the resolve to avoid responding and allow the relationship to end in a healthy way.

  4. Amy Guth
    January 4, 2010 at 7:54 am

    "Stalking" is yet another powerful word that is losing its true meaning due to casual overuse.

    Further, what happened to being straightforward? When did that die, exactly? Again and again, I hear women lightly whining about "being stalked" when in reality, she is simply being pursued by a man and hasn't have to confidence to say "no." While stalking is a crime that should be taken seriously, when I hear complaints of "stalkers" I always ask right off the bat, "Have you told him that you aren't interesting in dating him?"

    Being upfront is not being ill-mannered. Lying and leading on, however, is terribly rude.

    • Tina
      January 4, 2010 at 8:15 am


      thank you very much for your comment. I think you are absolutely right.

      I hope it's also clear from my article that the wish to no longer be in touch and not be contacted again must be stated clearly.

  5. jack
    January 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Very lame article .Who the f .. cares about online relationship.There's nothing serious to actually end

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 4, 2010 at 9:22 am

      A lot of serious relationships can be made online and people can go on from one to become married. So I wouldn't be so quick to diss online relationships. I am going to marry my fiancee in May and originally we met online.

    • Aibek
      January 4, 2010 at 10:10 am

      I know a couple of couples who are happily married and first met online!

      • Aibek
        January 4, 2010 at 10:12 am

        oh and great article Tina!

  6. Mathias
    January 3, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    WTF is an "online relationship"?

    • Aoi_sora9x
      January 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm

      I think it's a relationship where people have dates on electric wires - aka On Line.

      Oh wait, it should be On Lines...

    • Ryan Dube
      January 4, 2010 at 9:19 am

      It's a relationship many people are forced to have when they're in love and live thousands of miles apart. Or was the question rhetoric? I guess I don't get the point of your question, have you seriously never heard of an online relationship?

      • Aoi_sora9x
        January 4, 2010 at 10:59 am

        I'm just being sarcastic. This article does not need to be labeled "how to end an ONLINE relationship".

        What the author covered, in my opinion, are just things u need to do when you want to end a real relationship, albeit they are in digital format.

        Being honest? Check!
        Having a long talk? Check!

        So, why is there such a need for an article on a Tech-site?

        Everyday i check makeuseof.com for computer tips and new technologies, i don't go here to ask for opinions about how to end a relationship, being it online or offline.

        And please, just because ppl don't like your articles doesnt mean that your fellow writers need to reply to every single comment out there to "correct the commenter's attitude so that he/she will like the article"

        Be a tech site, makeuseof.

        • Tina
          January 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm

          I'm glad you agree that ending an online relationship should be treated just as respectfully as ending any relationship.

          We realize that not each and every article is interesting to each or our readers. Since you don't appear to require the advice provided in this article, we hope you'll find some of the other 50+ articles published each week helpful.

          Just to make this clear: I never asked any of my fellow writers or my bosses to defend me. Thus I ask you to please not belittle their motives!

        • yup
          February 20, 2010 at 10:44 am

          I don't work for makeuseof, so I don't have to be as polite to you. You're a punk. Nobody likes sarcastic assholes.
          F you.

      • Mathias
        January 4, 2010 at 11:47 am

        Relationships that are purely online, between individuals who have never met, aren't real romantic relationships. You and I have an online relationship.

        What you describe is a long-distance relationship. People meet, fall in love, but are separated and see each other only occasionally. The "meeting" part is essential, though. How else do you know the other person isn't a man/woman/bot?

        • Tina
          January 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm

          As unlikely as it may sound for some of you, there are many people who seriously fall in love online before they meet and continue the relationship offline.

          How do you know whether the person is who they claim to be? Ever heard of webcams and microphones? The rest is trust. Not a single romantic relationship on this planet would work without it.