No matter how great a relationship is, people will tell you that they take some work and effort. But how much work to keep a relationship going is too much? If you’re feeling like your relationship has run its course, chances are, it has. This may be difficult to admit, and even more difficult to act on, but if you’re having doubts, there are some signs to look for to see if in fact, it might be time to end your relationship.
Breaking up sucks, but sometimes, it may be necessary. Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a psychologist and marriage counselor, says that there are some definitive signs that your relationship is in trouble. If you’re experiencing any of these things in your relationship right now, it might be time to take a hard look at whether or not you need to end things.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but people in abusive relationships often don’t know that they’re in one. It can be one of the hardest problems to identify, because people in abusive relationships can become co-dependent, making it difficult to cut ties. Dr. Fisher says that “Any level of physical, emotional or sexual abuse is one of the most obvious signs that a relationship needs to end.” There are many signs that you may be in an abusive relationship. If things like the constant use of sarcasm and unpleasant tone of voice to belittle you, unreasonable jealousy, withdrawal of affection, guilt trips, making everything your fault and isolating you from friends and family—and of course, any form of physical violence is happening to you, you need to end that relationship as soon as possible.
This situation isn’t always a black and white issue. On one hand, if one partner cheats then that’s often a pretty clear sign the relationship needs to end. If you are the one who has cheated, you should also evaluate what lead to your actions, and whether or not you’re really invested in the relationship with your partner. “However,” Dr. Fisher says, “if the cheating partner takes full ownership for their behaviour and demonstrates sincere remorse then the relationship could be recovered.” If cheating is a problem in your relationship, you need to ask yourself if you can trust your partner again, because if you can’t, that’s probably a sign that you need to end things.
Feeling torn down
“If you feel never good enough in your relationship and like no matter how hard you try you never measure up to your partner’s standards,” says Dr. Fisher, “then that could be a sign the relationship needs to end.” Relationships are made and broken by compromise and mutual respect. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re always working to please your partner without them ever meeting you halfway. Having a partner is just that—a partnership. You need to be able to compromise on things you don’t agree on, instead of one person submitting to the other all the time. It might be over, if you’re feeling like your relationship is a one-way street.
Not feeling accepted
Dr. Fisher says that if you feel like your partner is “continually trying to turn you into someone you’re not to fit their mold,” you need to re-evaluate your relationship. Being with someone means that you were attracted to them because of whatever qualities they possess. While it’s true that no one is perfect, trying to completely change someone to be a different person is unhealthy and unfair. If certain qualities you’re noticing in a partner are deal-breakers, then you need to end the relationship and move on. Asking someone to make changes in certain negative behaviours or traits is fine, but expecting someone to be exactly the kind of person you want them to be in unrealistic.
You’re feeling disconnected
Another sign that your relationship could be over, is if you continually feel lack of emotional connection with your partner. Everyone has off days, and it’s certainly normal to feel disconnected sometimes, but if you’re always feeling this way, “regardless of how many times you try,” Dr. Fisher says that “it may be a sign to end the relationship.” Relationships are built on strong emotional bonds you have with your partner, and if that just isn’t present anymore, you may need to move on from that person.
At the end of the day, if you’re not sure if you’re at the point of no return with your partner—talk to them! Let them know how you feel and ask if they’ve been feeling the same way. This might be a good opportunity to take a look at your relationship and come to a mutual understanding about what you need to do to improve things, or if it’s time to call it quits. Relationships involve two people, so before you make any sudden decisions, it might be a good idea to discuss things with them first.