Look at any relationship between two people, and you would be hard pressed to find one that has not had any rougher patches. Even couples who look perfect on the surface have most likely had struggles, experienced ups and downs.
That is simply how life is between humans.
And that is why you don’t think about breaking up every time there is a disagreement or some tension with your partner.
But what happens when the fights get more and more frequent? Or when you start to feel uncomfortable or insecure in your couple? You might even start to find that your relationship has become boring and unsatisfactory.
On paper, the answer should be simple: if you are not happy in a bad relationship, you should leave.
In reality, things are rarely so black and white.
Sure, things might be difficult now, but they used to be good. You still have feelings for your partner. You two had good times, did fun things, and share strong memories together.
Plus, being in a relationship offers some sense of security and comfort. And the grass is not guaranteed to be greener once you are single.
So, where do you draw the line? Is it possible to know when a relationship is still worth saving and when you should break up?
To help you make this decision, here are 10 signs your relationship has run its course and that you would be better off alone.
People, humans, are not immutable creatures. They change all the time.
You change. Your partner also does.
Your taste in music, fashion, and entertainment are probably not the exact same as when you were a teenager. Just like your character, your outlook on life, and your goals.
In good relationships, lovers tend to change together, to adapt and compromise.
And if you start to drift apart, you usually can pull each other close again and re-learn to do things together.
But sometimes, that is not the case:
And when the bond between you and your partner gets faint enough, you run the risk of feeling estranged. Like you are two different people who do not really know each other anymore, or why you are still together.
Does that mean you should break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend?
But if that distance was built on resentment or bitterness, then yes. It will be healthier for both of you.
You often hear that when a relationship is very intense, you can “lose yourself” in it.
Usually, this means that you are changing for the better. Your love is making you happier, fuller, and more at peace with the world.
Other times – the unpleasant ones – you might wake up one day and realise you do not know who you are. Your friends and loved ones might even tell you so:
If you do not like that strange, unbalanced version of yourself, and if you think it is caused by your relationship, it might well be time to break up and regain your sanity.
Relationships are never split exactly down the middle: at times, you have to put in more effort, and at other times, your partner does.
And that is partly why it feels so good being in a healthy relationship. When one partner feels down or tired, the other one is there to offer a helping hand and help them get back up. Difficult times are not as hard, because, in a way, each partner complements the other.
So, when things become too one-sided, trouble is usually on the horizon. This often means that one partner has given up or does not feel like making any effort for the relationship to survive.
You can probably deal with it in the short term. But if things don’t become more balanced, sooner or later, you will burn yourself out. A relationship is hard work and usually requires two people’s attention to succeed.
What am I getting out of this relationship, compared to what I put in?
If the answer is “not enough”, you might want to start planning your exit.
Note, though, that the reverse also applies here. If you never really feel like – or even care about – making an effort for your partner, it might mean you are ready to move on and it is time to break up.
There is this creative process called “shadow art”, where an artist arranges random objects in a particular way. At first glance, you might only see a pile of knickknacks and trinkets. But if you light them from the right angle, their shadows reveal detailed pictures and sceneries.
You probably already guessed the analogy with relationships: what you see is not necessarily what others see.
There could very well be a “dark shadow” in your relationship, and only people with a different point of view are able to see it. From your perspective, all looks normal.
Pay attention to what your friends and family say, or how they act around your significant other. Do they seem happy that you two are together? Or do they act uncomfortable and uneasy when you talk about your relationship?
Sometimes, your friends might even straight up tell you that you should break up!
These sorts of comments do not come out of nowhere for no reason. They could be confirming something you already know – time to pack up and go – or at the very least entice you to ask your loved ones for more details. You know, an external opinion never hurts.
If you are not sure who to ask for this “outside point of view”, you might want to turn to online communities where people are happy to help each other.
On a website like Vidamora, you can instantly chat with kind and fun people like that. And what’s more, you know they are most likely open to talking and meeting with you!
Your thoughts do not always have to become reality.
Nevertheless, your daydreams and secret fantasies often reveal deep desires – that you may or may not always be aware of.
That is how you can spend hours dreaming about your crush or planning to write your first novel. If you had no interest in either of these things, you would not dedicate so much of your mental bandwidth to them.
This also acts as a motivation to act on your thoughts. To ask that cute guy or gal out, to write your first few pages.
So, what does it mean when you constantly think about being single?
Maybe it is just a fun way for you to reminisce and relive old, pleasant memories. In that case, as long as you are not actively sabotaging your relationship, it does not really hurt to dream.
But also maybe, it is your subconscious mind warning you. Telling you that you are not happy in this relationship, and that you should break up to find something better.
Most couples who face difficulties can resolve them.
But the bigger the obstacle, the more of an effort it is going to take. You need to invest your time, energy, trust, and goodwill.
And the thing that holds all these together is a good communication.
Without the ability to tell your partner your needs, to establish boundaries and to set clear expectations, how would you be able to recover from dire times?
After all, if you cannot communicate honestly with your partner about what you want out of a relationship, who can you talk to?
That is why, when your boyfriend refuses the dialogue or your girlfriend won’t talk to you, your hopes of salvaging your relationship go way down. If you do not want to break up, your first order of business should be to re-establish a good communication.
If you fail to do that, prepare for the worst.
And if you do not want to do that, then yes, you should probably just break up. It will “cost” you less.
The longer you spend time with someone, the more comfortable you tend to get around them.
Asking your partner on a second date might have given you butterflies in the stomach, but by now they are probably long gone.
In a way, this is good. You would not want to spend your whole life dressed to the nines, doing your best to be agreeable, and only showing your good sides. That would be exhausting.
So, if you find yourself unable to relax around your partner, things might have already gone awry.
Here are some signs you should look for:
All this would point to a loss of trust, and a potentially unfair and stressful relationship.
If things do not seem to improve, it will be hard, but you should break up with your partner. Do it before it gets worse.
Remember how your loved ones can be better judges of character than you sometimes? That is especially true since they have more perspective and tend to be less emotionally involved than you.
The issue is that sometimes they will be too polite to tell you that you should break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
But does it really matter if they even say anything?
These people are there for you in rough times. You shared good times with them. They want the best for you, and you care about them. Not to mention, they are your support system if you need help – for example, if you break up with someone and need a place to crash.
You need them.
Hanging out with them, spending quality time together, and having fun will be impossible if they avoid your partner. Because if they hate your partner, you will see less and less of your friends and family.
This implies that even if they never really tell you that you have to break up, you might reach that conclusion on your own anyways.
Well, as long as they themselves are not toxic people, that is.
In some relationships, nothing is really wrong.
There is no verbal abuse, no big fights, no trust issues. No relationship anxiety in general.
But, for one reason or another, you just feel like things are moving too fast.
Your partner might be a great person, but if they are constantly pushing to get you to do things, even though you are not ready for them, there is a mismatch. They will either need to readjust their expectations, or you might have to go your separate ways.
And this is not insignificant either.
If your partner constantly ignores your requests and boundaries, this becomes a matter of respect. And they have too little of it.
Not being on the same page is not always the nail in the coffin of your relationship, but being disrespected should be.
Here is something that might surprise you: you do not always need to justify breaking up with someone.
Of course, you should not be a jerk about it. And your partner will want to know your reasons, but saying: “I want to break up” is also a complete sentence.
Maybe you decided to take some space to think, and found that you liked it.
Perhaps it is your inner voice telling you that this is not a good fit, and that there is no spark in this relationship.
Or maybe that’s just how you feel and there is no need to justify it otherwise.
Lots and lots of relationships end like that. Without any ceremony or big show. And that’s okay too.
As long as you feel this is the right decision for you, go with what your instinct, and your heart, is telling you.
Life is too short, you should try to be as happy as you can possibly be.
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