In a relationship, one has to be ready for anything. All those songs and movies about happily ever after and forever may seem nice, but there is often very little proof, to support it. Therefore you have to be ready should the day come when things go sour and the two of you will have to part ways.
Now parting ways, no matter how one tries to do it, it is never really going to be beautiful. For the sake of civility, others will just say that they were able to end it and became friends because of how things were communicated. In reality, it is still painful no matter how it is done.
And on the subject of parting ways, often there are two types of people. Those who find the courage to say what they mean and utter the words "it's over and goodbye" and those who drop clues and hints and then just put leave and place a physical distance from their partners. Of these two, the first one comes across as harsh and rather insensitive, while the other is subtle and is the preferred way of some.
For me, I would often opt to hear goodbye. If my relationship is ending let it be stated with finality. It might seem blunt, and it is definitely going to hurt. However, the pain will be dealt with immediately and soon after recovery, acceptance, and moving on will follow. One cannot rely on hints and clues, because sometimes even if you put the pieces together it fails to create a clear image. Therefore the other party is left hanging on, confused, and more often than not become a victim of false hope, which prevents them from living their lives and letting go.
So, if one of you out there are contemplating on how to close the curtain with your partner, go forward like a vicious murderer and stab him with your goodbye. Clarify that it is over once and for all. Don't think you are being merciful just because you did not say anything and left your partner to figure things out. Trust me, he or she may not forgive you right then and there, but she will appreciate the candor, and the sooner things are cleared the faster both of you could start anew.