Splitting up with an ex is hard, but leaving his family might be harder. Here’s how to cut the cord for good, without the hard feelings.

By Sofia Quintero

1. Cut the cord

“Cut all communication-calls, email, texting, everything!-for a few weeks,” psychologist Dr. Melissa Laracuenta says. “You need time to determine what you want and need without them in your ear.” But Lisa, an educator from Los Angeles, says giving family members a heads-up helps. “I disappeared from their lives totally for a couple of months,” she says of leaving her beau- and his family-of four years. “This affected his mom, and him, pretty badly.”

2. Accept that blood is thicker than water

If you have kids with your ex, a permanent goodbye may be impossible, but your relationships with his relatives will change. “His family has feelings about what happened too,” Dr. Laracuenta says. “Expect conflicts and nip them in the bud.”

3. Just let go

Hanging on to an ex’s family will keep you connected, like it or not. “I have had clients suffer from anxiety and depression over a breakup that’s taking too long,” Dr. Laracuenta says. “Life is passing you by as you spend all this emotional, spiritual, and intellectual energy on a relationship that’s over.”

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