Deciding when to end a relationship can be very tough. You might feel torn between your good feelings for your partner and the parts of the relationship that make you miserable. 

Even if the relationship has become damaging, staying may feel easier than leaving and starting over. You may hope that things will eventually change and work out for the best – that’s sort of what we’re told to expect from love. 

So you keep trying to make an unhealthy relationship work. But getting too comfortable (even if you are not happy), or becoming too scared to end a relationship can keep you from your right to feel fulfilled and happily coupled-up. 

“The end of a relationship is not always a failure. Sometimes all the love in the world is not enough to save something. In these cases, it is not a matter of fault from either person. Some things cannot be, it’s as simple as that.” – Ashly Lorenzana

How Do You Know When To End a Relationship?

It can feel really uncomfortable even asking yourself: “How do I know when to end the relationship?” You might wonder if you’re really a good fit, or whether your partner treats you in the way you deserve. You don’t know if you’re overreacting, or whether you can find someone better.

And there’s no right way to answer the question, which can make this feel like a helpless situation. But below are some prompts to get self-insights about whether this is a healthy relationship for you.

Try to figure out what feels missing in your partner and your relationship (check out this quiz from Oprah). Consider your relationship when it first started – what attracted you, your feelings, your happiness, your attitude towards your partner and how you felt. 

Has something changed in your behavior or your partner’s? As much as we like to blame our partners, sometimes we can also be at fault. Look to yourself for answers, and question yourself as equally as your partner.

If you feel like your needs are not being met or your relationship is nowhere close to what you need, you may want to consider making changes that will benefit you, your partner and your relationship. 

Remember that if two aren’t very compatible, ending the relationship helps your partner, too – even if they don’t at first see things that way.

7 Signs A Break Up Might Be Right

Breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend is not easy. Every relationship is different, each with its own highs and lows. There are common relationship issues that you can generally deal with and overcome. And we’re told tough times don’t always last.

But what if they do? When have you tried hard enough?

1. Controlling Behavior

If you find yourself experiencing the signs of controlling behavior in your partner, this is a good sign to end your relationship. Controlling behavior can start off as subtle habits, questions, or demands from your partner that seem innocent at first. You may not notice until things have escalated – but then you also feel like leaving means starting over.

2. More Cons, Fewer Pros

Think about the pros and cons of your relationship, make a list if you have to. When you look at your relationship and see that there is more wrong with it than you’d realized, it may be time to break up. 

3. Relationship Anxiety

Constantly doubting yourself and your partner can cause tremendous pressure on a relationship. It is natural to have concerns sometimes – especially with depression. However, when you find yourself always questioning your relationship, even in the long term, your partner may not be helping you feel at ease. You may need to reconsider your compatibility in the relationship.

4. Toxicity

Over time, some relationships become toxic and pretty much irreparable. If you feel that your relationship is heading in that direction, you may need to get out of the toxicity before you get too caught up. Again, toxic relationships may be subtle at first, so watch for the signs before heading deeper into darkness.

5. Family and Friends Think You Should Break Up

Hear me out. If you have family and friends, it’s likely that they know you well; in some cases better than your partner. If they are mostly on the same page that your relationship isn’t working out for the best, they may have your best interests at heart. Of course, in some families, your relatives really may not know you well enough to have a say. But if they point out real red flags, consider giving it a second thought.

6. Taking Multiple Breaks from the Relationship

Are you and your partner always finding reasons to take a break from your relationship? This could mean that you are afraid to officially break up but don’t really want to be together long term.

7. You’ve Started Thinking About Other People

Call it quits immediately if you are thinking about being with other people! “What ifs” may mean that you are likely to develop feelings for someone else if the opportunity presents itself. That is totally not fair to your partner, nor to you! 

If you constantly think you could be happier with someone else, you and your partner both deserve to start looking – after ending the relationship.

How To Get Through The Post-Break Up

This is the part that most of us struggle with – how to feel and how to deal with everything post-break up. You may feel like your entire world has been turned upside down and that’s really okay – because it has. You are now in new territory, away from the comfort, familiarity, and routine of your past relationship. 

Here are 6 ways to cope after ending a relationship:

Remind yourself why you broke up: even if it means you are thinking about the bad days, the tough times and the negative memories. It will help you stay strong in your decision.

Talk to someone about everything: find your people and share your heartbreak with them, if you feel like you have nobody to talk to – you can share your experiences anonymously with people who are going through the same on Supportiv. 

Stop all communication with your now ex. The urge to talk to them again may be strong but if you give in, you may be setting yourself up for the same outcome you’ve just been through.

Put your energy into literally anything else! Anything else good for you, your interests and hobbies that took a back seat to your relationship – you now have time for. Also work on reconnection and bonding with family and friends. 

Go to therapy. If you find yourself really sad or getting into depression, it’s time to talk to a professional (if you are able to afford one).

Let some time pass. Over time you may find yourself thinking less about your past relationship and focusing on building and strengthening new ones. You will not hurt as much as you did before and you will get into a new comfort, a new routine and a new you!

In Summary

“Ending something doesn’t have to be filled with regret , anger, or negativity. We have experiences and memories that serve a purpose.” ― Omar Lee

Remember that it is okay to want to end a relationship that’s not working. It is your choice — when to end the relationship, what signs to look for and how to deal with the break up.

If you have found or find yourself in this situation, you are not alone and you can connect with others on Supportiv’s anonymous chat rooms.