Relationships play a fundamental role in our lives, especially considering that we’re inherently social beings.
Considering this, ending a relationship can be, without a doubt, one of the most difficult things we can face.
It is a tough pill to swallow, and for a moment we may think our joys are gone forever. We’re not wired to end relationships.
Hence, we need a clear understanding of when it’s the right time to end the relationship before we take the next step.
Here are 20 signs to know when to end a relationship or a marriage:
1. You don’t feel safe around your partner anymore.
Healthy relationships are about security, stability, understanding, autonomy and independence, and genuine connecting.
Feeling threatened or unsafe around your partner can signal manipulation or abuse within the relationship.
It might be time to end this relationship if your partner represents a threat and harm instead of a reliable and loving person to you.
- You can’t seem to trust yourself or your vulnerabilities to your partner;
- You feel fear in their presence;
- You’re scared they might hurt you – physically or emotionally.
2. You can’t freely communicate to your partner about your feelings, needs, or wants.
Communication is a crucial part of the love base of a romantic relationship.
It contributes to some of the core foundations of the relationship, including intimacy and connection.
When the communication starts dying out the relationship faces a lot of problems including resentment, toxic communication, or misunderstandings.
Not feeling free to talk to your partner about your feelings, needs, or wants, can also signal an emotional barrier – leading to the deterioration of the relationship.
When resentment and other negative feelings start building up for one another, the relationship creates a space for toxicity and negativity.
3. You can’t seem to trust one another anymore.
Trust is a crucial factor in all types of relationship dynamics, including romantic ones.
Lack of trust in a relationship often resembles emotional distance, betrayal, and poor communication patterns.
This is why, if you can’t see one another being truthful it can make room for
- controlling behaviors,
- and frequent fights.
That creates an ‘unsafe’ environment that can turn out to be harmful – proved by studies – for your physical and mental health in the long run.
4. There’s a harsh contrast between your values, morals, goals, and aspirations.
Unfortunately, love isn’t the only requirement for keeping a relationship alive and healthy.
If there’s hardly any compatibility in your values, morals, and ethics to the point where it starts taking a toll on your happiness, then it’s time to end it.
We can deeply love one another. However, we have to put ourselves first if their behavior, thoughts, routines, or values have negative effects on us and our joy.
The love can be there, but if their happiness means you’re going to be unhappy, the relationship will turn harmful for both of you.
5. There’s toleration instead of excitement.
Your presence annoys one another and you tolerate each other instead of being excited to have one another.
It can feel like you’re two strangers sticking it out a little longer for the sake of a factor that got you together.
According to psychology, that factor tends to often be the good times at the beginning of the relationship, fear of change, children, a complicated work situation, etc.
You’re tolerating rather than cherishing each other’s presence if:
- There’s resentment & contempt between you;
- You’re happier when you’re not around each other;
- You genuinely don’t like the time you spend with one another.
6. You don’t seem to care that much for one another.
Healthy couples stick together and face difficulties as a team. They’re there for one another emotionally, physically, or even financially.
It could be time to end your relationship if your partner doesn’t care about you, vice versa, or if neither of you cares about the other.
Care is one of the great pillars of the foundation of love. It’s composed of empathy, love, sympathy, and compassion for one another.
You’re likely to not care about one another if
- seeing your partner unhappy doesn’t invoke sadness in you or vice versa,
- your partner is no longer on your priority list or vice versa,
- your behavior is ruthless regardless of it potentially hurting your partner or vice versa.
7. Fighting seems to be the new norm.
Any connection has its ups and downs and it’s alright if a couple fights now and then, science shows fighting can even benefit your relationship.
But if the fighting is established in an unhealthy manner and the fights or arguments get massive and frequent, then the relationship may be facing issues.
You’ll know your arguing isn’t healthy if
- the focus is on winning the argument rather than conflict resolution,
- there’s a lack of empathy and compassion when arguing,
- you purposely say hurtful and disrespectful things to one another,
- you cross each other’s boundaries when fighting.
If you continuously insult, play mind games, belittle, and hardly apologize to one another then you must, at the very least, reconsider the relationship – if not end it.
8. You no longer feel fulfilled or happy in this relationship.
Betrayal or other hurtful things shouldn’t be the only reasons to end a relationship.
There are ‘lighter’ reasons for ending a relationship, that in our society, tend to be swept under the carpet.
One of those reasons is not being fulfilled or happy with the relationship.
Yes, it’s okay to end a relationship if you no longer feel content with it and if you don’t sense relationship satisfaction.
You don’t have to necessarily feel unhappy. Not feeling content can be all it takes.
Romantic relationships are meant to be fulfilling, helpful in personal growth, and one of our greatest sources of joy, hence if you don’t feel it, it’s better to end it.
9. Future plans are coming to an end.
You sense the resentment from both ends, and you just can’t seem to picture a future where you’re both happily involved, right?
If this is how you feel about one another, then it’s time to reconsider your relationship if not end it entirely.
- You can’t stand the idea of having this partner part of your life a few years from now – and vice versa;
- You don’t involve your partner in your plans because you naturally assume they won’t be part of your life by then – and vice versa.
10. There’s no effort.
The effort is a reflection of the commitment level in a relationship. When the effort is gone, in many cases, so is the relationship.
Effort symbolizes care, love, and willingness to make things work and keep your partner around for as much as you can.
Ultimately, when you stop trying and putting effort into the relationship you consciously let the relationship die out.
This can be a symptom of a deeper-rooted problem, however, if one or neither of you stops putting effort into the relationship then you’re bound for heartbreak if you keep yourself in this relationship.
11. You’re not feeling worthy of your partner.
Whether not feeling worthy of your partner stems from insecurities or mean (passive) comments from your partner, you’ve got to reconsider this relationship.
If you don’t feel worthy of your partner because they made you feel so, you risk getting into a vicious cycle that can take a toll on your mental well-being.
It’s time to end your relationship if you’ve noticed that negative thoughts and ways of treating yourself are highly influenced by the presence of your partner.
A relationship isn’t healthy when the sole presence of your partner makes you have insecure, negative, pessimistic thoughts and approaches to yourself.
12. Recurring infidelity.
Statistics have shown that
- 20% of relationships end after one partner is caught cheating,
- 72% try to work things out,
- but only 7.2% succeed to work the entire relationship out.
Depending on the circumstances, in most cases, infidelity is a choice.
It can be a need fulfilled outside the relationship, or something exciting not thought through, however, it’s done secretly, and it’s considered betrayal.
It’s one of the most difficult things to go through in a relationship, and in a lot of cases, the damage is unfixable.
13. You feel relieved when your partner is away.
If the thought of breaking up with your partner brings you relief, then you might as well do it.
A happy and emotionally fulfilling relationship won’t leave room for thoughts of breaking up with your partner.
On the contrary, in a happy and emotionally fulfilling relationship, the thought of losing touch with your partner is saddening.
If you feel happy when your partner isn’t around then you might be in a relationship that is
- emotionally draining for you or both of you,
- not meeting your needs,
- controlling and very demanding,
- taking too much effort to make it work.
14. You don’t feel like trying anymore.
Once the will and desire to work things out in the relationship are gone, then it could be time to end it.
- You let loose and don’t care what happens next because you’re exhausted.
- Love seems more like something distant that you had in the past, now you’re in the relationship waiting for it to end.
Take the first step.
Relationships are about nourishing, caring, accepting, and supporting one another.
Once the relationship becomes draining, unfixable, filled with resentment, and feels like a trap, then it’s time to end it.
15. You’ve tried working things out but still: Their presence in your life brings you negativity.
Dating the right person makes you feel safe and secure when you’re around them.
You’ll know you have to end a relationship when instead of feeling security, your relationship feels like it’s standing on shaky ground that’s about to break any minute now.
- You keep hoping that they’ll change, hence you get those “I’ll keep up with it a bit longer, I’ve got a feeling it’ll work out this time.”
- Your negative thoughts about the world and yourself seem to stem from your partner’s presence in your life;
- It’s as if the minute your partner entered your life, it turned into chaos.
If you’ve tried working things out, and yet, you can’t seem to establish a stable and safe ground with this partner, then it could be time to end the relationship.
16. You feel the need to pretend so that you can please your partner.
If you’re impersonating a person or a character to be loved by your partner then you might be feeling unaccepted or insecure because of your partner.
A healthy connection is also about accepting one another as you are, cherishing and supporting one another.
Pretending to be someone else, to be happy, or fulfilled just to please your partner can be very unhealthy and very draining for you and your mental health.
It will lead to more pretending and more exhaustion for you.
They’re not the partner to be with if they won’t accept you as you are. Feeding their fantasies of an imaginary version of you will not benefit either of you.
17. It feels more wrong than it does feel right.
We have a tremendously strong sense of communication and sensitivity when it comes to nonverbal signals we give and receive with – and to – one another.
In a romantic relationship, you’re connected to the person on a level that goes beyond the superficial. It’s intimate, dynamic, and impactful.
Since a romantic relationship plays a huge role in your life, you’ll surely notice differences, you’ll sense when things are ok, amazing, and wrong.
- You sense the relationship isn’t where it should be despite your attempts to improve it.
- You’re more unhappy than you’re happy with one another.
- You’re dragging the relationship along: you’re forcefully pushing through for the sake of satisfying another factor within or outside the relationship.
18. The relationship got very toxic and it seems unfixable.
A toxic connection generally represents a connection that harms one or both of the people involved.
Harming can be physical or emotional and it’s very difficult to get back up and stand strong once the toxic behaviors start kicking in in a relationship.
Not getting any good from the relationship will stop you from providing any good to it.
- You’re both unfulfilled, drained, or even emotionally damaged from the relationship;
- There’s a lot of passive aggression;
- The relationship seems to highly negatively impact your lives, performances, and connections outside the relationship.
- Despite your attempts to better the relationship, it seems unfixable.
This is where the red flags come in. There is no more room for consideration. You must end the relationship for the sake of your emotional well-being.
19. There’s been emotional and sexual distance for a long time.
The emotional and sexual distance leads to you feeling like strangers to one another.
It makes it difficult for you to take the first step and break the ice so it creates a coldness and distance between you.
It can happen for various reasons, but it’s a pretty huge indicator that there’s something wrong within the relationship.
You either have to end it or try to work the issue out if you haven’t already.
20. You sense the relationship would or could be better due to something unrealistic.
If you keep relying on unrealistic factors for the relationship to improve, you must reconsider the relationship with this partner.
If you’ve reached this point in the relationship, it is likely to mean that you’ve gone through all you could, yet the relationship didn’t work.
Now, the only thing left to rely on seems to be the false hope that things will eventually get better if you stick around long enough.
You’re deserving of a fulfilling relationship that meets your needs and wants. This is not that relationship.
|Helpful suggestions:Break-up Rituals;|
Signs that your relationship won’t last;
Dealing with broken trust.
What steps should you take before ending a relationship?
Considering the aftermath of a breakup – it can lead to depression – ending a relationship should be a decision you think through before making.
Here are some of the advised steps you must consider taking before ending a relationship:
1. Try to find the issue(s) and evaluate it next to your boundaries, core values, and feelings.
When the relationship is barely working, it’s easy to get caught in break-up thoughts.
But, once it comes to making the decision the good memories come into play blurring your vision of the present.
Identify the issues that are pushing you to consider breaking up and see how they stand next to your boundaries, values, and feelings.
If those issues are crossing your boundaries, making you feel unhappy, unloved, unwanted, or undervalued, and contradicting your values, then it’s time to end it.
2. Think about whether a compromise could fix the issue(s) in your relationship.
If it would take compromise to fix the issue(s) in your relationship, you can give it a try if the love and the willingness to work things out are still there.
If it would take more compromise on one end than on the other, continuing the relationship isn’t a good idea.
The partner who ends up compromising more is likely to subconsciously start resenting the other.
It can lead to more issues, making the relationship more problematic and difficult for both of you.
3. Rethink your standards and boundaries.
Most of the signs mentioned on the list are part of the extremes that potentially ruin a relationship. However, that doesn’t have to be your standard.
Consider your boundaries. Not cheating, or not arguing doesn’t have to mark the border or boundary.
If the relationship doesn’t make you happy despite the fidelity and respect you have for each other, it’s a relationship that needs reconsideration.
It can sound like a selfish way of doing this, but it’s not. If the relationship doesn’t match your standards and it crosses your boundaries, it’s time to end it.
4. Calmly and healthily communicate with your partner.
See if your partner is on the same page about it, see how they respond, and if they’re willing to work this out or not.
If not solving the problems, a conversation will, at the very least, help you come up with a decision to which you both agree.
Here’s how you can approach this conversation:
- “I’d like to talk about our relationship and the issues we’ve been facing recently. Do you have a minute?”
Avoid making your partner feel attacked. Try approaching this conversation as calmly as possible.
When addressing your concerns, be very specific and try using more “I,” “I feel,” and “I want(ed).”
How to end a relationship?
Society puts an immense pressure on us when it comes to relationships.
When in a relationship, we’re exposed to societal validation or even admiration. That can influence our decisions and the process of making them.
It makes us hesitant to end a relationship because we’d lose all the ‘glory’ and ‘status’ we once had when in a relationship.
But no, not every relationship is fixable. That’s been a myth for so long.
It doesn’t have to be a big reason, it doesn’t have to be someone’s fault to end a relationship. It’s okay to feel the need –-or to want–- to end a relationship.
Here’s how you can end a relationship:
- Sit down with your partner and communicate your decision to them as clearly as possible;
- Avoid ‘therapy speak’ when they express their feelings or thoughts on this;
- Try to respect their opinions, and thoughts when you communicate your decision to your partner;
- Prepare yourself for a strong reaction, begging, pleading, or threats;
- Show determination in your decision and emphasize how ending this relationship will benefit both of you;
- Turn to yourself and start taking care of yourself by relying on external support (friends, family, professionals), practicing physical activities, spending time with loved ones, etc.
A breakup is never easy no matter who decides to end the relationship.
Regardless of the feelings involved, a breakup – a lot of times – can be the logical and rational decision to make for your well-being.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process. Don’t forget your boundaries, values, and feelings.
It can be a tough thing to go through, but it’ll be for the best for both of you.
You’ve got this.