Calling it quits on a relationship is not an experience anyone wants to have to go through.
When you’ve invested time and emotions into building a relationship with someone, and perhaps even falling in love, learning to face life without them in it can feel impossible.
You get so used to having someone in your life that you can’t imagine not having them there, ready to talk to or see every day, even if your relationship isn’t a happy one.
But just because breakups are difficult, it’s not a reason to stay in a relationship that isn’t good for you. It’s worth the heartbreak if you have the freedom to be the best version of yourself and have the chance to meet someone who is a better match.
When you’ve hit a rough patch in your relationship, it can be hard to know if it just needs time before everything gets better again or if you should call it quits. You might find yourself hesitating to break it off because deep down you hope things will get better even though they never do.
If you’re not happy in your relationship, and you’re not sure when the right time is to call it quits, read on for some signs you shouldn’t ignore.
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1. You’re not making each other happy anymore.
A relationship should make you happy. If it’s bringing you more stress than joy, then you know that something is wrong.
When the bad times outweigh the good in your relationship, then it’s no longer the right one for you.
You shouldn’t be living for the good moments and spending the rest of your time miserable. Your partner is meant to bring out the best in you, so if that isn’t the case, you’re better off without them.
When you first got together, you might have had a great relationship, and now you aren’t sure what’s happened to turn it sour. Over time, people change and so do their relationships. There’s not always a reason for it other than you aren’t the people you once were.
Every relationship will have its ups and downs, so don’t worry if you’ve had an argument or an off day. But being happy should be your priority, and if your partner isn’t adding to your life in a positive way, it’s time to call it quits.
2. You don’t trust each other.
This can work both ways. You might feel stifled by your partner’s controlling attitude because they don’t trust you. Or you might feel anxious whenever your partner is off somewhere because you fear that they’ll do something to hurt you.
Either way, this isn’t a healthy relationship to be in.
You can’t live your life worrying that your partner will make a mistake when they’re not with you. Without trust, you have no relationship. The good times together aren’t worth the difficult times apart if you live in fear of your partner hurting you.
Equally, you should be in a relationship where you have the freedom to be your own person. If your partner is always thinking the worst of you, accusing you of seeing other people, and getting irrationally jealous, then this is toxic and a sign that one partner is trying to dominate the other.
If either of these scenarios are a reality for you, then it’s time to quit and move on.
3. You don’t share the same future.
No one knows exactly how the future will play out, but it’s good to know that you’re at least working in the same direction as the person you’re in a relationship with.
If you have fundamental differences over where you see your relationship heading, then you need to question whether you’re right for each other.
Maybe you thought you could convince your partner to think differently over time and eventually you’d agree on what you wanted from life. It could be that one of you doesn’t want to be married or have kids while the other one can’t imagine life without either.
You shouldn’t be with someone in the hope that you can mold them into someone who they’re not. If you’ve been together for some time and the direction of your future is still an unresolved subject, then you need to be honest with yourself about what truly matters to you and call it quits before you’re forced to give your partner an ultimatum you won’t win later down the line.
4. You’re interested in other people.
We can all appreciate if a person is attractive or you have a connection with someone, but if you’re in a happy relationship then these aren’t thoughts you would ever consider acting on.
If you’re finding yourself flirting or entertaining the idea of seeing other people, even if you don’t think it’s serious, then your relationship is in trouble.
Lusting after other people or imagining yourself with someone else suggests that you aren’t feeling completely fulfilled in the relationship you’re already in. You need to decide if this is something you can work on with your partner by identifying what it is in your relationship that needs some attention, or if it’s time to call it quits.
If you don’t see a future with the person you’re with, then it’s fairer to break off your relationship before trying to meet other people. Don’t stay with someone because it’s easy or safe or all you’ve known, stay with them because there’s no one else you’d rather be with.
Ultimately, if breaking things off is the right decision, you should just rip of the Band-Aid. In the end, you will both have the freedom to find someone better suited to you.
5. You’ve given everything you have.
If you can honestly say that you’ve given everything to your relationship, and you still feel as if you’re the only one who’s putting in any effort, then you know it’s time to call it quits.
Breaking off a relationship is a big decision. You don’t want to look back wondering whether, if you’d approached the situation in a different way or not given up so quickly, things could have turned out better.
If you can honestly say that you’ve tried everything you can think of, reached out for help when you needed it, and given the relationship your all only to get nothing in return, then you can walk away from it knowing you did everything you could.
If you get nothing back from your partner and feel as though the future of the relationship rests solely on your shoulders, then the pressure of it all is going to become overwhelming. A relationship is something shared, not something managed by just one person. If your partner isn’t giving back the same as you’re putting in, then you know it’s time to give up—it’s not you, it’s them.
6. You’re lying to each other.
If you know that your partner is lying to you or you are lying to them, then this relationship is already falling apart.
There shouldn’t be a reason to lie to your partner. As a couple, you both need to feel safe and able to express your needs, fears, and emotions to your partner and be confident that they will take you seriously and be there for you.
If you’re keeping things from them, then you’re not being your whole self when you’re around them. Equally, if they’re keeping things from you, even if it’s something that seems inconsequential at the time, how can you trust that they aren’t keeping much larger, more damaging secrets from you too?
Finding out that your partner has been lying to you can be heartbreaking, so whether it’s you or them, call it quits on your relationship before you end up doing some real emotional damage.
7. You’ve stopped making an effort in your relationship.
A relationship shouldn’t be hard to make work, but you do have to put in effort to keep it going.
It takes time and attention from both you and your partner to make a relationship successful; there can’t just be one of you taking on the responsibility of keeping the spark alive without getting any reciprocation from your partner. Eventually the pressure of trying to keep a relationship going when you’re not happy and not being supported will become too much and everything will inevitably fall apart.
No one should feel as though the success of a relationship rests on them alone. A relationship is a partnership that requires time and attention from two people.
If you’re the one that’s stopped putting effort into your relationship, think about why that is. Do you really want this relationship to work? Or is this a sign that you’re already starting to move on?
On the other hand, if you’re the one who feels let down by your partner, then trust that you are worth more than the way they are treating you and start putting yourself first.
8. You don’t look forward to seeing each other.
At the start of a relationship, waiting for the next time you get to see the person you like feels exciting. Maybe you remember the butterflies in your stomach every time you first saw them, or the sexual chemistry you felt every time you were near each other.
If you live together or have been in a relationship for some time, you probably don’t get those same butterflies every time you see each other now, but you should at least look forward to the moments you get to share and miss your partner when they’re not around.
We all need time to ourselves with our own circle of friends or family, away from our relationship. And when it’s time to return to your partner, you want to feel some anticipation. You should look forward to coming home to the person you’ve chosen to spend your time with above anyone else.
If you find yourself not looking forward to seeing your partner or not even caring about when you next will, then something isn’t working for you. No one is forcing you to spend time together, so if you don’t want to, then maybe you shouldn’t.
9. You’ve stopped making an effort with yourself.
Rather than just focusing on your relationship, how are you feeling about yourself?
Do you feel as motivated and happy as you used to? Do you see your friends as often or still make the time to do things that you enjoy?
Do you take pride in your appearance? Are you happy with how you look and feel?
If you honestly answer these questions and your response isn’t a positive one, you have to think about the effect your relationship is having on how you feel about yourself.
If you’ve noticed that you’re not the person you were when you first started dating your partner, and that you’ve lost interest in your own happiness, then something needs to change.
It might be that your partner isn’t supporting you in the way you really need them to and plays on your insecurities more than you want to admit. Maybe your relationship is changing how you see yourself because your partner is too controlling and influencing how you feel and what you do in an unhealthy way.
Of course, the way you feel about yourself might have nothing to do with how your partner treats you. Still, it could be a sign that you need some time alone to reconnect with yourself again before you can fully connect with someone else.
You need to be the best version of yourself to get the most out of your relationship, and no one can help you to be that but you.
10. You’re feeling trapped.
A relationship isn’t a life sentence; you’re meant to be with your partner because you genuinely want to spend time with them, not because you feel like you must.
If you’re feeling trapped in your relationship, then the expectations your partner has of you could be too much pressure for you to handle.
If they’re ready for more serious steps in your relationship—like moving in, marriage, or even children—and you’re not on the same page, then it’s best to be honest rather than go along with something you’re not fully committed to.
A relationship is something you should enjoy. You want it to feel natural so you can take the next step to become more committed to each other. Feeling trapped means you’re feeling uncomfortable and aren’t being honest with yourself or your partner. If this feeling isn’t going away, then maybe it’s because you know that this isn’t the right situation for you.
11. You can’t stop fighting.
Most couples are used to having disagreements and even the odd nasty argument over the course of their relationship.
But being with someone who you can’t seem to avoid getting into a fight with is definitely not something you should be experiencing in a relationship, and it is a big sign that you should think about calling it quits.
Constantly fighting and arguing with your partner suggests that communication between you has broken down. If you can’t resolve a simple issue without descending into an argument, then how can you hope to face any future struggles together?
Your partner is your ally and your cheerleader, not your competitor or enemy. The stress of an argument isn’t good for anyone, and it is certainly not going to make a relationship last.
At a basic level, it’s just not nice to continuously be in an argument and not feel as though you or your partner are happy. Stop spending all your energy on arguing and start putting it to better use by leaving your relationship and finding happiness elsewhere.
12. You’re not together for the right reasons.
When you’re in a relationship, it can stop being just about sharing a life with one other person and become centered around everything and everyone else that depends on it.
Your family, your pets, your home, your friendship group, would all be affected if you were to break up, so you think it’s easier to just stay as you are rather than risk losing the safety net around you.
All these different elements of your life that depend on your relationship are not a reason to stay together. If the only reason you’re together is because you don’t want to rock the boat or start again, or you’re worried about what other people will think, then you need to reevaluate your priorities.
You are the ones who will have to live through this relationship every day of your lives. No matter how many people or things there are in your life that depend on you, you can’t be your best for them if you’re not happy at home.
It might not be easy to adjust, but if starting fresh is what is best for you, then that’s the choice you need to make and everything else will fall into place.
If you don’t feel that your partner listens to you and is willing to compromise for your needs as well as theirs, then this isn’t a relationship that’s based on equality.
In a healthy relationship, both partners should feel that their opinions and views are equally weighted. A relationship needs to be a safe place where you are able to express how you feel and be heard by your partner.
Don’t be in a relationship where you feel ignored or patronized. If that’s the case, then you need to call it quits and find someone who makes you feel valued as an equal and the individual you are.
14. You can’t forgive them.
Mistakes happen in a relationship, but sometimes people deserve a second chance to prove that they know where they went wrong and that it’s still your relationship that they care about above all else.
It’s not easy to trust your partner again after they’ve hurt you, but if you don’t want to let go of what you have together, then you might try to forgive and forget.
If you commit to moving past whatever it is that your partner did to hurt you, then you have to do just that, commit to starting fresh with them and not holding any grudges.
It’s easier said than done when the person you love has hurt you badly. In heated or emotional arguments, it’s tempting to bring up the past and use your partner’s mistakes against them, reopening old wounds and hurting both of you in the process.
It’s tough to genuinely put behind you the hurt that someone has caused you and be able to only focus on a better future. Some hurts are just too much to let go of, and if this is the case for you, then you have to let your partner go instead.
15. You’ve stopped talking about a future together.
It’s not something that has to come up all the time in a relationship, but you should at least both be thinking and talking about a future together in some way if you want your relationship to last.
If you and your partner never seem to plan further ahead than next week, and the subject of where you see yourselves in years to come never comes up, then you might want to take this as a sign to re-evaluate how serious your relationship really is.
If you’ve stopped talking or thinking about a future together, it’s most probably because, deep down, you don’t see one. You aren’t excited to make plans or work toward a common goal because you don’t really see this person as your final partner.
If the situation is reversed and it’s your partner who never seems to want to bring the future up, then you should question how committed they really are to you.
It’s a red flag to take into consideration. If you aren’t talking about a future together, then maybe it’s because you don’t want one and it’s easier to call it quits now than waste more time with the wrong person.
16. You’ve stopped making plans.
It’s not a good sign when you realize that you and your partner never seem to plan anything to look forward to together.
If you’re not planning activities or holidays with each other, it’s either because you don’t really want to spend time together or you’re avoiding committing to a plan because you’re worried you’ll break up before then.
You may not even realize that you’re subconsciously pulling away from your relationship. If you can’t fully commit to each other enough to book a holiday together in a few months’ time, then how can you say that this is someone you’re ready to commit the rest of your life to and build a future with?
You’re lying to yourself that you’re happy in this relationship when you know it’s gone stale. Don’t waste your time with someone you don’t want to be with and admit to yourself that this relationship just isn’t for you.
The odd dry spell can happen in a relationship, but if you can’t remember the last time you had sex with your partner, then it’s something to worry about.
Even as you both change over time, there should still be a level of sexual chemistry and physical attraction between you and your partner. If there isn’t, then you’re not going to want to jump into bed together. You could even be tempted to look elsewhere for sexual satisfaction, leading to a messy breakup neither of you want.
When your lives get busy, sex can sometimes come second to everything else. You’re distracted, you’re tired, you’re working late, so you’d rather just catch up on some sleep. But never having sex means that you’re missing out on the opportunity to be physically and emotionally intimate with each other in a way that only the two of you can.
Not only does sex make you feel good and is something to enjoy, but it strengthens your bond as a couple. If you don’t share those moments with each other, then what difference is there between your relationship and that of platonic friends?
If you’ve lost your sex drive, and the sexual attraction toward each other is nonexistent, you need to be honest with yourselves and think about whether what you have together is sustaining enough for the both of you. Life’s too short to not be attracted to your own partner, and it’s better to call it quits now before you start looking for pleasure elsewhere.
18. You’re never satisfied.
Everyone has moments when their partner irritates them, but if this is constant for you, then it might be time to move on.
Irritating each other once in a while is one thing, but if you’re never satisfied with your partner and they always seem to be doing something wrong in your eyes, then this isn’t a healthy relationship to be in.
For you, you’re constantly feeling frustrated and let down. You could be feeling this way for any number of reasons, but the longer this goes on, the faster you’re going to lose trust in your partner’s ability to make you happy at all.
From your partner’s side of things, continuously feeling as though everything they do is wrong or not good enough will wear down their self-confidence and self-esteem. Both of you are going to end up frustrated and upset if you can’t make each other happy. Feeling this way is a recipe for a toxic and unfulfilling relationship.
If one or both of you never seem to be content, then don’t be miserable together, start thinking about whether you’d be happier apart.
19. Your gut tells you something is wrong.
It’s not a scientific approach to a situation, and you may not always be 100% correct, but your gut instinct isn’t something you should ignore when it comes to your relationship.
You can get so swept up with the idea of how you want your relationship to be that you ignore the reality of the situation. If your gut feeling about the relationship is that something is wrong, then generally, it is.
You know yourself and the person you love better than anyone, and if you feel as though something is “off,” even if you’re not ready to admit it to yourself, your natural instinct is warning you that you’re about to get hurt.
Don’t make a snap decision without being able to justify why you feel this way. But if you’re feeling as though something isn’t quite right, then take it as a sign to evaluate your relationship a little more closely to see if the reality you’re living isn’t quite the dream you think it is.
At the heart of it, a relationship is meant to make both people in it happy. Life should just be better with your partner, not some of the time, but all of the time.
Even when you’re at your worst, you want to be with them. You can be confident in your love and trust that they won’t hurt you or let you down, even if they annoy or irritate you sometimes.
You might have to kiss a few frogs before the right one comes along. With every relationship, you learn more about yourself and what you need in a partner. You’ve got to keep looking if you haven’t found them yet.
Don’t be afraid of a fresh start; it’s not a negative thing. It could be an opportunity to be happier and more fulfilled than you’ve ever been before, you just don’t know it yet.
Want to give your relationship one final chance? This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But Relationship Hero can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. Through regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple), you’ll learn precisely how to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship—one that can last a lifetime. Learn more about Relationship Hero and get the kind of tactical relationship advice and ongoing support you need.
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