The clock is ticking.  The holidays are fast approaching, and your fuse is as short as daylight in December. You’ve got many things on your to-do list and not enough time or money to get them done. So, you lash out at your partner, finally telling her what you’ve been thinking about for a long time — that you want out of the relationship. Since she’s just as emotionally fried as you are, she responds by threatening to hurt herself. Or worse.

IMPORTANT: Threats of suicide can be very real. Make sure you get in touch with a suicide prevention and/or support group immediately, and in the case of a dire emergency, dial 988.

Now back to you. I’m going to guess you’re feeling guilt, anxiety, sorrow, anger, and possibly some fear. All of these emotions are honest. And they’re probably what’s holding you back from getting out. You might be feeling as though you’re a prisoner in your own home. Held captive by a person you no longer love. You are feeling emotionally blackmailed, and you’re impatient to get on with your life.

As with all conflict, resolution begins with conversation.

So, talk to her. Be kind, but firm. And most of all, don’t argue. Begin by telling her that you care about her, and that you don’t want her to hurt herself. She’s a wonderful person, just not the right person for you. But that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t be right for somebody else.

If you sense the conversation is moving towards an argument, don’t take the bait. Remember to make this about you. Start your sentences with “I feel . . .” and not “You make me feel . . .” Take ownership of your decision. After all, it belongs to you, doesn’t it?

Also, take ownership of the conversation. Remember to circle back to your reasons. Maybe it’s that you’re not willing to give up your goals and dreams. Maybe it’s that you need more peace and less volatility. Maybe it’s that you’re feeling a loss of control over your own life. Then reassure her. She’s got a lot of things going for her: she’s smart, loving, kind, and funny. Remind her that many people care about her. Remind her that she is responsible for her own choices.

It’s of the utmost importance that you remain kind and calm. Adjusting your tone and your volume can be of major significance in any emotionally charged situation. Take a breath and dial it down.

As you’re ending this conversation, be prepared for a repeat performance. Obviously, you’ve had awhile to get used to the idea of life without her. Most likely, she hasn’t had the same benefit. So, offer some thinking time. Suggest that you take a break for a few days to give her a chance to get some support from friends and family. Schedule a date and time to resume the conversation. In the meantime, understand that she needs time to adjust.

And while she’s adjusting, please read this again.