How to Know When it's Time to End a Relationship
No one enters into a relationship expecting it to fail. But the harsh reality is that not all relationships are meant to last.
Relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, and communication. These are the foundations that make a relationship strong. Without these things, a relationship is likely to fail.
If you're struggling to decide whether or not to end your relationship, here are four signs that it might be time to call it quits.
1. You're no longer happy in the relationship.
If you find yourself constantly anxious, unhappy, or unfulfilled, it might be time to reassess your relationship. A healthy relationship should make you feel happy, supported, and loved. If your relationship no longer brings you joy, it might be time to let it go.
It's normal to feel like your relationship isn't everything you want it to be from time to time. After the initial "honeymoon" period wears off, it's common for couples to start bickering more, feel less connected, and generally become more aware of their partner's flaws.
If you're currently in a relationship that's not making you as happy as you'd like it to be, you might wonder what your options are. Should you stay and try to work things out? Or is it time to call it quits?
The truth is, there is no easy answer. Every relationship is different, and what works for one couple might not work for another. However, some general principles can help you figure out what the right decision is for you.
First, it's essential to take a step back and assess the situation objectively. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment's emotion and make a decision you'll regret later.
Ask yourself the following questions about your happiness:
Do you generally feel respected and supported by your partner?
Do you feel like you're able to be yourself around them?
Are there more good days than bad with your partner?
Are they someone who makes you feel like a better person?
Of course, even if your relationship is mainly positive, there will still be times when you don't see eye-to-eye with your partner. That doesn't mean the relationship is automatically doomed—it just means that conflict is inevitable.
The key is learning how to deal with conflict constructively. That means being willing to listen to your partner's perspective, being open to compromise, and working together towards a solution that meets each of your needs.
No relationship is perfect—but some relationships are worth fighting for. If you're struggling in your relationship, the most important thing is that you figure out what's best for YOU. Don't stay in a situation that makes you unhappy just because you're afraid of being alone or because you think things might just get better on their own.
And don't leave a relationship without giving it everything you've got—sometimes, all it takes is some honest reflection and effort from both partners to turn things around.
2. Your physical/emotional/sexual needs aren't being met.
If you're feeling unsupported, unimportant, or invisible, it might be time to look closely at your relationship.
Ask yourself the following questions about your level of support from your partner:
Do you frequently feel unsupported?
Do you find yourself constantly being the one to reach out?
Are you constantly initiating plans or contact?
When you do reach out, does it feel like you're always the one doing the heavy lifting emotionally?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be a sign that your needs for support and connection aren't being met.
Ask yourself the following questions about your level of importance to your partner:
Do you feel unimportant or invisible?
Do the people in your life make an effort to include you?
Do they remember things that are important to you?
When something big happens in their lives, do they reach out to let you know, or do they go through it without involving you?
Feeling unseen and unimportant can be painful and isolating and make you doubt your relationship.
Is your relationship one-sided?
Do you find yourself giving and never receiving from your partner?
Do you pour your energy into making sure the other person is happy without ever thinking about your own needs?
One-sided relationships can be emotionally and mentally draining.
If this sounds familiar, it might be time to reassess your involvement.
It's normal to feel like your needs aren't being met sometimes. Still, if you consistently feel unsupported, invisible, or like your relationships are one-sided, it might be time to seek help from a therapist or counselor.
3. Your relationship is abusive.
No one deserves to be abused and treated poorly, whether it's physical, emotional, verbal, or psychological abuse.
You might feel scared, alone, and helpless right now, but help is available. Remember: you are not alone. Abuse can take many forms, and it's not always easy to spot.
What Is an Abusive Relationship?
An abusive relationship is one in which one partner tries to control and harm the other. Physical abuse is the most visible form of abuse, but it's important to remember that physical violence is just one aspect of a larger pattern of abusive behavior. Other forms of abuse include but are not limited to emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse.
Abusive relationships often follow a similar pattern known as the "Cycle of Violence." This cycle consists of three phases: the Honeymoon Phase, the Tension-Building Phase, and the Acute or Crisis Phase.
During the Honeymoon Phase, things might seem perfect, and the abuser might apologize for their previous wrongdoings and make promises to change.
However, over time old patterns will start to resurface, and things will begin to unravel again during the Tension-Building Phase. This phase is characterized by increased tension and stress.
And finally, there is an explosive outburst of violence during the Acute or Crisis Phase. After this cycle, things usually return to the Honeymoon Phase—at least temporarily—before starting again.
Where to Get Help
If you're currently in an abusive relationship or think you might be in one, reaching out for help as soon as possible is essential. Here are some resources that can assist you:
-The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides crisis counseling 24/7 and information on safety planning and local resources. They can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or via chat at www.thehotline.org.
-Loveisrespect offers 24/7 live chat support for teens and young adults who may be experiencing dating violence or know someone in an abusive relationship. Visit www.loveisrespect.org or text "loveis" to 22522.
-The National Sexual Assault Hotline provides confidential crisis counseling 24/7 for victims of sexual assault and their friends and family members. They can be reached at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Remember: you are not alone in this—help is available if needed.
4. You're not growing or changing together, and the critical word is "together!"
A relationship is a partnership, and partners grow and change together. If one person evolves while the other stays the same, it can create tension and imbalance.
And let's be honest, getting stuck in a relationship rut is easy. You're not growing or changing together. The same arguments keep coming up, and you're bored. And you're not sure how to get out of it.
Don't worry; you're not alone. All relationships go through phases, some good and some bad. It's normal to have ups and downs. The important thing is how you handle it when things are down. Do you give up? Or do you fight for your relationship?
If you're feeling stuck, here are some things you can do to try and get out of your relationship rut.
How to Work "Together" on Your Relationship
Talk to each other about what's going on.
This one seems pretty obvious, but it's worth saying anyway. Talk to your partner about it if you're stuck in a rut. Tell them how you're feeling and why you feel that way. Chances are, they're feeling the same way too. Getting everything out in the open can help break the tension and give you a fresh start.
Make time for each other again.
When was the last time you had a date night? If you can't remember, then it's been too long. If you're stuck in a rut, one of the best things you can do is make time for each other again, as you did when you first started dating. Go on dates, spend time together without distractions, and enjoy each other's company again. Rediscover why you fell in love with each other in the first place.
Be honest about what's not working.
It's not always easy to admit when something isn't working, but if you want to get out of your rut, then it's something you need to do. Be honest about what's not working and why it's not working. Then come up with a plan to change things together. This could mean anything from going to couples therapy to making small changes in your everyday life. Whatever it is, make sure you're doing it together as a team.
Getting stuck in a relationship rut is normal, but that doesn't mean it's fun or easy to deal with. If you're feeling stuck, talk to your partner about it, make time for each other again, and be honest about what's not working. These things will help get you out of your rut and help your relationship grow more robust than ever!
5. You don't see a future together.
You're in a relationship but don't see a future together. Maybe you've been dating for a while or just got married. Either way, not seeing a future together can be tough to process. After all, society tells us that relationships are supposed to be about growth and shared experiences. So what does it mean if you don't see a future together?
It could mean that you're in a relationship with the wrong person.
If you don't see a future with your partner, it may be because they're not the right person for you. It's possible that you're incompatible or that your relationship is based on unhealthy patterns. If this is the case, it may be time to consider reaccessing the relationship.
It could mean that you have different goals.
It's also possible that you and your partner have different goals. Maybe they want to settle down and start a family, but you're not ready for that yet. Alternatively, maybe you're ready to get married and buy a house, but they're happy with things the way they are. If you have different goals, it doesn't necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed—but it does mean that you'll need to figure out how to compromise.
It could mean that something is holding you back.
Finally, something may be holding you back from seeing a future with your partner. Maybe you're afraid of commitment, or you're still dealing with the aftermath of a previous relationship.
Not seeing a future together can be daunting—but it doesn't have to be the end of the world, and it may simply mean you need to do some soul-searching. By reflecting on why you don't see a future with your partner, you can figure out what steps to take next.
And remember, therapy is always an option if you need some help sorting things out! If you can't see yourself having a future with your partner, it might be time to talk to a professional therapist or counselor, and they can help you figure out what's holding you back and how to move forward.
Deciding whether or not to end a relationship is never easy - but sometimes, it's necessary. If you're struggling with the decision to end your relationship, pay attention to how you're feeling and what your gut is telling you. In most cases, you'll know deep down whether or not the relationship is right for you.
At the very least, talking to a therapist can provide some much-needed clarity and insight into what's going on in your relationship. They can also give you tools and strategies to cope with your decisions. So if you're feeling lost and uncertain about your relationship, please reach out for help; we want to see you in a happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationship!
Barbara (Blaze) Lazarony, MA is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #127882, Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor #10253, Couples Coach, Transpersonal Coach, Author & Speaker.
Click here to learn more about Barbara Lazarony.