How To Know When a Relationship is Over

If you have ever broken up with someone, you know how painful the process can be. Most people that have broken up with a significant other often wonder why they did not do it sooner. The signs of a failing relationship are always there, but most of us cannot or will not see them.

All relationships have their ups and downs. The question becomes, when is it too far down. You may still care for a partner. That does not mean that the relationship must or should continue.

When Is a Relationship Over?

The problem for those in a relationship is that there is rarely a clear sign that it’s time to leave. If leaving is your inclination, you will tend to see the negatives in your partner. If you want to try to work it out, you will only see the positives.

Even though the decision may not be easy, the signs of when to leave a relationship tend to be unmistakable. What stops people is their fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of missing out. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of hurting someone.

There are many reasons that people do not leave a relationship they think is failing. It could be a fear of being alone. It could be a worry about hurting someone. It could be that you do not want to be the “bad guy.”

Whether the reasons have any validity is not important. The feelings exist and are real to the person in the bad relationship. There is no magic answer to when to end a relationship. There are several signs, though, to when it might be time to end a relationship.

Spending More Time With Family and Friends

A tell-tale sign of a failing relationship is when you start spending less time with your partner. You instead spend more time with friends or family. Behavior like this is a sign that you are putting more energy into other relationships.

This type of behavior is concerning for two reasons. The first is that you are spending time with others instead of your partner. Your partner should be first on your list of people you want to spend time with every day.

This type of behavior can also be because you want to confide in those close to you. When there is dismay from one partner in a relationship, they want to confide in those they trust.

So spending time with friends and family is a sign of both of these things happening. You do not want to spend time with your partner, and you do not want to confide in them about your concerns and worries.

It can be challenging to discuss relationship problems with your partner. If you are never doing that, and instead going to others constantly, it is a sign that a relationship may be over.

You Agree on Everything or Nothing

One way to know when a relationship is over is agreement on issues at extreme ends of the spectrum. When one partner seems to always agree about things, a thought may be that this is a great relationship. The reality is all couples have issues worthy of discussion.

When a partner has lost interest, the amount of negotiation and fighting can decrease. This decrease is because they are indifferent to the relationship. Because of this, they will submit to the partner’s whims. They view this as better than expending the energy to fight or discuss the issue.

The other end of the extreme is hostile screaming matches. Healthy couples find ways to discuss their disagreements rationally. Even an argument is fine once in a while. When every dispute is a screaming match, that is a problem. If you find that your disagreements devolve into this, the relationship is in trouble.

You Do Not Hear About the Big Stuff

When a significant life event happens, your partner is usually the first person you tell. That is what is normal in a healthy and prosperous relationship. If they begin to take a backseat to someone else when this type of news is shared, that is an issue.

There are two problems with this type of behavior. For one, it shows that they were not the primary person in your life. When they are the primary person, you share the big news with them. Also, as you begin to confide in others, those relationships become stronger. At the same time, it begins to weaken your relationship.

Your Boredom Echoes Everywhere

Boredom in your life can be a sure-fire sign of a problem with your relationship. The apathy itself often extends beyond the relationship. If you begin to find that you experience boredom with almost everything in your life, be aware of this sign.

So if you find that when asked about your life you have nothing interesting to offer, this is a sign of boredom. If you used to be very engaging at social events but are now a wallflower at this is another sign. These are symptoms of how to know when a relationship is over. It shows how a bad relationship can seep into every part of your life.

You Are Always Repeating Yourself

It is troubling when you are in the middle of a conversation and you have to repeat yourself. You’re left wondering if the other person is listening. This reaction can be a mild annoyance when speaking to a friend or coworker. It is downright troubling when you are talking to your partner.

If one partner has to repeat themselves to another, that is a sign of interest dwindling. This behavior reveals a partner that is not willing to spend the time to listen to what you have to say. That is a sign that they are not interested in investing time in your relationship.

You’re Sex Life Has Evaporated

A healthy sex life is a vital part of any romantic relationship. It should be one that suits both of your needs. It should also be something that you can communicate about with each other.

If you find that your sex life has fizzled, it might be time to stop and ask why. It is normal to go through lulls. Work gets busy, days get long, and you do not have sex as often. That is different than having no desire for sex from your partner.

If you want to get it back, some professionals can help you and your partner. If you have no desire to go that route, it might be time to decide if this is the relationship for you.

No Plans for the Future

If you started in your relationship with thoughts of where it may go in the long term, you are not alone. Many couples that have been together for some time begin to discuss long term plans. When you are in love, you want to find ways to spend time together. This desire is true in both the short and long term.

That is why many couples find time to get away together regularly. They plan romantic getaways that may be as short as one night. The point is to do something different and unique together as a couple.

In a healthy relationship, you cannot wait until the next one of these getaways. When this becomes a chore or something you dread, it is time to ask why. There is no way to make yourself want to spend this time with your partner. One option is to try something you know you both like as a last resort.

If this starts you back to your desire all the better. If it does not, this is a pretty clear answer to how to know when a relationship is over.

Constant Fights and Annoyance

When you are around someone all the time, you will often point your frustrations at them. That is OK in a healthy relationship. Your partner, among their many jobs, is there to help you through tough times.

In a bad relationship, a lack of communication can lead to you not expressing many positive thoughts. So if you find that you are venting to your partner all the time, this may be a time to assess the relationship. If feelings about your partner always involve anger and hostility, that is unhealthy. It isn’t very good for you, your partner, and your relationship.

This type of contempt for your partner is an almost sure sign of a relationship that needs to end. Contempt is something that is so ingrained you lose any respect you have for your partner. It leads to sustained bitterness and animosity that is hard to overcome.


Cheating can occur even in healthy relationships. Sometimes people make mistakes. It is not an indictment of the relationship. It is something that happens that both partners must deal with honestly.

The issue for couples is that it is not easy to get over it. When one partner cheats on another, it is a test of the trust and love of the relationship. In fact, about 4 in 5 people say that cheating is always wrong. This belief makes this something that is hard to forgive and forget.

If you are the one that this has happened to, you must ask if you can trust and love again. It may be that this incident can make you stronger as a person and a couple. If you have any doubts about whether you can rebuild the trust, it is likely time to move on.

Nobody Wants to Go to Therapy

Sometimes the solution to a troubled relationship is therapy. This therapy could be individual therapy or couples counseling. In either case, having professional help can do wonders. In fact, 44 percent of couples try couples counseling before they get married.

If you or your partner have suggested therapy, but one or both of you decide against it, that is a troubling sign. If you are in a bad relationship, one or both of you should take steps to improve the situation. If neither you nor your partner wants to take steps to improve the dynamic, that is a pretty ominous sign.

You Stay Away From Home

One of the most significant decisions of any relationship is moving in together. This step is the joining of two lives on a 24/7 basis. Even in the strongest of relationships, this decision can cause some anxiety.

In a troubled relationship, you may find that you are avoiding going home. This hesitance may be because you do not want to spend time with your partner. It could be because you would prefer to do things with others. There is also the possibility that the relationship is so toxic, you avoid it at all costs.

Pay attention to times you stay out extra late. Also, take heed of when you find excuses to get out of the house. Leaving your own home at all costs is a sure sign of how to know when a relationship is over.

You Are Not Feeling Affectionate

How often do you miss your partner? At the beginning of any relationship, you often cannot stand the thought of being apart. You watch the clock every second you are apart, waiting to see them again.

This never-ending affection fades a bit in any relationship. The question for you is how much. How often do you tell your partner you love them? How often are you close to them physically? How often do you hold each other watching a movie?

If none of this is happening in your relationship, that is an issue. If you ask yourself if you would miss your partner if they were gone and the answer is no, that is a problem. When you have lost genuine affection for your partner, it may be time to move on.

You Become a Daydream Believer

It is not at all uncommon to daydream. We all wonder what else may be out there for us. Even in a healthy relationship, there is always the feeling of what if. In those strong relationships, you dismiss these thoughts out of hand. You realize that what you have is far better than anything you could have.

When your days become consumed with daydreams about being single, you are already out the door. When you fantasize about whom else you could be dating, you have left your relationship. A fleeting thought is one thing. A constant stream of what-if thoughts is a red flag.

Your Interest Has Waned

The beginning of any relationship is about finding different ways to connect. There are never-ending text threads full of cute emojis. The late-night phone calls that last for hours. You decided to embark on spontaneous dates. He meets you at your office at 5 p.m. and says we are going on a hot air balloon ride.

When relationships are ending, you lose interest in your partner’s day. The spontaneity begins to fade. You no longer look for clever or silly ways to make them laugh. To find a few stolen minutes to spend with them.

If you find yourself looking for things you can do on your own, that is a clue of how to know when a relationship is over. Your interest in your partner should be your top priority, not an afterthought.

Goals Do Not Align

In any relationship that has lasted for some time, the question of shared goals is bound to arise. Do you both want kids? If so, when and how many? What is your career path, and what is your partner’s?

There can be a chance that you have different thoughts on this subject. You usually do not find out about this at the beginning of a relationship. This conversation occurs farther into a relationship.

Having different life goals is not a sign of a failing relationship. There are many subjects where you can compromise or agree to disagree. If you find that none of your goals align, that may be a sign of warning.

Worse still is when you find you are amending your goals to be contrarian. When you start bending your life on purpose to separate from your partner, it is time to move on. Even if you don’t, but you have different primary goals, what future do you have?

You Are Fighting at the Beginning of Your Relationship

The beginning of a relationship should be a time of joy and wonder. You cannot find one thing wrong with your partner. This relationship phase is not the time for fighting. It is especially not the time for nasty and cruel fights.

If you are starting in a relationship and you are already in serious arguments, beware. Do you or your partner look for ways to hurt each other? Do you get into disagreements where you say the harshest thing you can think of? Do you try to hurt the other person at any cost emotionally?

This behavior is never a good sign in any relationship. It is especially troubling in a relationship that is only beginning. If you have only started dating and this is already happening, this is a bad sign. There is little chance it will improve over time. This constant fighting is the sign of a relationship that needs to end immediately.

All The Pieces Are Not There

Most relationships are complex and need many pieces to work. A belief if all these things must be present for the relationship to last.

Suppose you are hot for each other, but you are not good friends? A good relationship exists and thrives simultaneously on several levels. If you feel very connected to your partner as a friend, that is a good start. If you have similar likes and goals, that is awesome. If you are not attracted to them sexually anymore, that is an issue.

You can try to work on the areas in need but make no mistake you need all the parts to be there. A long term relationship will last because of the alignment of all the pieces. If you and your partner have a couple of great parts, but several that are lacking, that is not enough. It can be tough to leave good pieces, but without everything you need, it may be a signal of how to know when a relationship is over.

You Always Feel Alone

It is natural to feel lonely when you are alone. Some people cannot stand the thought of being alone, and thus they continuously look for a relationship. Worse still is when they stay in a relationship that is not working for fear of being alone.

The problem in a relationship is when you feel like you are alone, even when you’re with your partner. This feeling is a clear sign of a relationship that is in trouble. When you have this feeling of disconnection with your partner, this becomes a quiet sign that the relationship is in trouble.

Weight Gain

Are you starting to notice that your clothes do not fit as well as they used to? When we are unhappy in our lives, our weight can fluctuate up and down.

At the beginning of a relationship, this can be perfectly normal. In fact, some people refer to this as “love weight.”

If this is happening to you, it might be time to check in with yourself about your happiness. Gaining weight is often a sign that we have lost care of ourselves in our lives. It can also be that loss of weight can be a sign of depression and helplessness.

If either of these things is occurring to you, it is time to ask yourself if your relationship may be the cause. If you find that your relationship is making you unhappy and leading to this change in weight, this is a clear sign.

Can You Do Better

Over the life of a relationship, both partners are going to grow and change. This growth is a natural occurrence for everyone, not just those in a relationship. The equation becomes more complicated when two people are trying to grow together.

So it stands to reason that the person you met three or four years ago was perfect for you then. That does not mean they are still perfect for you. Maybe they have settled into a comfortable place within your relationship. At the same time, you may feel antsy and wanting. You begin to wonder if there’s more for you out there. You start to wonder if there is someone else that would be a better fit for you now.

If you are questioning your relationship, this is your mind gently nudging you. Is your partner right for you now like they were when you first met? A relationship works when both partners work in a relationship. It works because both partners meet the needs of the other. When one partner does not feel that anymore, that is a sign of trouble.

It is irrelevant how much the other partner might feel a deep connection. A successful relationship requires both partners to feel that connection.

The real trick here is that you need to ask why you feel this way. Often those that leave relationships thinking “the grass is always greener” may find subsequent relationships fare far worse. The point being, if you are unhappy in your relationship it is perfectly all right to leave. The next step is to ask why you felt that way before jumping headlong into another relationship.

The thought of wondering what else is out there is natural. When it becomes a constant thought, that is the scary part. That is a sign that your relationship may not be working for you.

You Only Want to Go on Group Dates

Going on group dates can be an excellent time for everyone involved. When a group of couples with shared interests and friendships spend time together, it can be a great time. The problem in a relationship is when the only dates that occur between partners are group dates.

If this is happening to you, you need to ask yourself why you only want to spend time with a group. If the only social situation that involves your partner must involve several other people, that can be a sign there is a problem with the relationship. This sign is often subtle.

You and your partner may enjoy group dates. Because of that going on many group dates may not seem like a symptom of a problem. The trick is to understand whether these group dates are completely replacing regular dates.

You Focus on the Kids

For those in a relationship that involves children, the dynamics become more complicated. It is natural to put your children first. It is also natural to have the well-being of your children come before the well-being of your partner. That does not mean that you don’t care about your partner. It means that your children need you more and thus you worry more about their happiness. In many ways, that should be a shared goal of two partners with children.

Trying to strike a balance between taking care of your kids, taking care of your partner, and taking care of yourself can be challenging. If you feel as if you are behaving like a single parent, that might be your way of finding a way out of a relationship. This line of thinking is fraught with peril because of a fear of what it may do to your children. Many couples whose relationships are in trouble ask themselves if it is better for the kids for them to stay together or be apart.

If you work to exclude your partner from activities with your kids, this is a sign of how to know when a relationship is over and that you would prefer to go it alone. A relationship involving kids can be challenging. In this situation, the relationship between you and your partner should be a source of support and strength. If it is something you’re trying to get away from by spending time with your kids, it may be time to move on.

See the Signs Clearly to Make Your Decision

There is a common thread in all these signs. They are all gentle reminders to you that the relationship is not working. While many of the signs can be subtle, it is the preponderance of many of them that is the true red flag.

If there are only a couple of signs at play, you need to ask yourself if you want to work on those things. Is the rest of the relationship worth solving a couple of minor problems. When several problems are occurring at once, the solution may be overwhelming. More than that, having many at play at once should be a clear sign to you that it is time to move on from your relationship.

The choice to end a relationship will rarely be easy or clear. All you can do is pay attention to the signs. Be aware of how you are feeling, and make as rational and as coherent a decision as possible.

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