Ending a relationship sucks.
And before you do it, you want to make sure it’s the right thing.
How do you know if you’re making the right or wrong decision? While every situation is different, there’s a lot of red flags you can look for to guide you.
Here, we’re counting 28 signs you should end the relationship.
Recognize these signs? Then it may be time to rethink your partner.
The first and foremost, 100% certain time you should end a relationship is if your partner is abusive—physically, emotionally or sexually. Even if it happens one time, the cycle of abuse predicts that it will happen again, so you should get rid of them.
If it’s not safe to leave, there are resources available where you live. See domestic abuse help in the U.S. and Canada.
Arguing is normal sometimes in a relationship. But if you’re having large arguments every day or really explosive arguments frequently, that’s not healthy. You may try to resolve the issues but sometimes they just aren’t resolvable because you have different views. This sucks but it makes one of 2 things inevitable: the end or misery.
They say opposites attract and that’s very true. It’s nice to have someone to balance out your other qualities or skills. And, some differences aren’t so bad. Like, if your partner is someone who likes the world’s most boring sport—golf—you may have to sit through hours of white men hitting tapping tiny balls, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. However, if your partner disagrees on some important moral issues, it’s going to be hard to stay with them.
For example, say he disagrees with abortion and you disagree with men trying to historically control women’s bodies. If he can’t see the issue with that, it’s unlikely to change and it will be hard to live with. If it’s a moral issue you’re both unwilling to budge on, ask yourself if you want to live with that forever.
Not everything needs to be serious, but when you get into any sort of relationship, you should know what the other person wants out of it. For example, if you want something serious and long-term, you should know if the other person just wants some short-term dating fun.
Or, if you want a hookup, you need to be sure the other person is okay with the same thing so you don’t hurt them.
Another scenario is if you ask the person where the relationship is headed and they give you non-answers. Or, perhaps their actions are different from their words. Like, they say they are serious with you but after a year, you still haven’t met any of his friends or family.
This is a tough one because sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between intuition and anxiety. But if you get a knowing in your gut that something is off about the person, it could be time to either explore that feeling or cut ties.
Let’s be clear: Sometimes, your trust issues are your problem. Nothing is more annoying than a partner who constantly accuses of cheating because your clean and carry mouth wash in your purse (yes, this happened).
Other times though, it’s because your partner is up to some sneaky behavior they aren’t being truthful about or are unwilling to change. If you’ve had discussions about it and it’s not getting better, you deserve to be able to trust someone else. You also don’t want to bruise your “trust meter” more than it already has.
Another scenario is if you trusted someone again after they cheated on you, only to find the trust couldn’t be rebuilt. Sometimes it won’t be. And again, you deserve happiness.
I’m not going to say “once a cheater, always a cheater” is always true. But some of the time, people who betray your trust in such a way are more likely to do it again.
And, even if not, ask yourself if you’re willing to put the time in to rebuild that trust. The crappy thing is, even though it was their wrongdoing, the responsibility is still on you to help repair the trust bond. That sucks and it’s why you should just probably dump them. You deserve better.
Simple. Some people are straight up jerks. Other people have “good hearts” but they’re still an a-hole in their behavior or words. You probably can’t change that and even if you could, you can also find someone who’s a lot nicer and less abrasive.
If you’re serious with someone or are looking for something long-term , you should know whether they want kids.
If they want something different than you do, you need to decide whether you’re open to that. If not, it’s unfair to ask that they change, so ending the relationship to find what you truly want is ideal.
For example, I’m pretty sure that I don’t want kids, so I need to make sure that the guys I date don’t care to have them either. Because they deserve to have what they want. And I do too.
Tacking off the point above, there’s probably a speed you have in mind when you think about a serious relationship.
Perhaps you want to feel it out and go slow because you want to spend time making sure it’s long-lasting and meaningful. Or maybe you’re in a hurry to speed things up because you want babies and you’re worried about your fertility.
In any case, you need to make sure your partner is on the same page. If they’re not, there’s people out there who are.
Cheating is not the right thing to do. Period.
If you’re lost feelings for your partner and it’s led you to look for excitement elsewhere, at least be honest with your partner and break up with them first. Cheating will hurt them a lot more.
If you like or love your partner and you can’t pinpoint the reason you’re thining of cheating, it could be time to take a step back too. You may want to spend some time alone thinking about what is driving that behavior. If you can’t figure it out, professional help like a counsellor is a good option. Hurt people hurt people. We can all try to end that cycle.
Anyone who is rude to service staff (or sends perfectly good food back), is not a good person in my books. There’s something to be said about people who are nice to you but not nice to waiters, retail staff, cashiers, etc.
If you’ve worked in these jobs, you probably have a longer list of red flags. Like someone who orders a dish with 10 substitutions. Or someone who complains to the cashier about the price as if they own the store. Or people who snort white powder in the bathroom between beers and mysteriously turn into a raging beast.
If it’s early in the relationship. Of course, this doesn’t apply. And, it’s also worth noting that people have different times of saying “I love you.” Some people say it the first week, months or year. However, in my opinion, if it’s been longer than a year and they can’t say the words, they have another problem that’s bigger than you.
One of my exes said that he really cared about me but he couldn’t say “I love you” because he “didn’t know if love even exists.” Big. Red. Flag. Run.
Do you ever feel like you’re the only one putting effort into the relationship? Like it’s your job to plan dates, initiate conversations, cook dinner, do the dishes, etc.?
If you’ve asked the person to step up and they are unwilling to, it’s time to get somebody who cares more. Do you really want to live your life constantly outputting without any help? Nobody is worth that.
Of course, actions speak louder than words. If your partner has no problem spitting out the words but can’t show it, or has a bad way of showing it, that’s not okay. You should know your partner loves you and be able to point to obvious signs that he cares and he’s in it.
Another of my exes would constantly not show up, randomly text me insults in drunken or high hazes and then insist we sweep it under the rug. Still, he had no problem saying “I love you” or “I love you so much I’d never give up on you that easy.” Still, not okay.
A lot of the times, we spend time hoping that actions will get better. Sometimes they do. But so often, they don’t and it’s healthier for us to move on.
There’s seasons of life that are a lot busier than others where it may be hard to see each other. This can be especially true if you live a part or further away from each other.
However, if it seems like your partner never has time, you both need to look at what those priorities are. It’s okay if someone want to put work first and devote their life to it for a few years. But maybe it isn’t the right time for a relationship then. Don’t let someone make you feel bad because you want to see them. Your needs are also valid. And someone else can meet them.
Another scenario is if your partner says they don’t have time but then spend that time doing other unnecessary things.
I had one ex who said he had such a busy life that after getting off work at 3pm, he was too tired to see me even one day out of the week. He’d instead spend that time watching TV on his couch. Don’t get me wrong, it’s his right to do that. But if you’re more motivated by a TV than your gf, we’re both in the wrong relationship. Or, maybe he needs someone who is okay seeing him once every 2 weeks, despite living in the same city. Either way, it wasn’t for me.
Everyone’s needs are different.
This section doesn’t apply to people who are driving partners away by being “needy” to fill their own insecurities. However, it does apply to people being gaslighted as being needy when their needs are, in fact, valid.
Maybe you need more romance and effort in the relationship and your partner won’t try. Maybe you like deep conversations but they’re kind of a dud. Or maybe you have a higher sex drive and your partners is way lower. Or maybe you love date nights but your partner is always too busy.
In any case, if your needs aren’t met, it’s worth a conversation. If no resolution or change can be reached, you deserve to have your needs met in another relationship.
Yep, you know exactly what I mean.
Those people who lull off to the most peaceful sleep on earth after their big hoorah while you’re stuck wide awake trying not to snuff the snores. You deserve someone who also cares about how you feel and will work with you to “get there.”
Also, if you bring up this problem and they complain, they’re also wrong. These things are uncomfortable to talk about. That doesn’t mean it’s ok for your partner to gaslight you.
If you want a serious relationship but the only thing going right is what happens in the bedroom, it’s time to rethink it. If you don’t like their personality or have anything in common or aren’t particularly attracted to them, the lust won’t last forever. And, even if it does, will just that fulfill you forever?
You can’t expect a relationship to transform your life or make you happy. However, you should expect it to add positive elements to your life.
Sometimes it’s superficial, like enjoying their company and having a partner to do your hobbies with.
Other times, the benefits are deeper, like growing together or your partner teaching you about yourself over time.
If you don’t feel any of these things though, the relationship may fall flat or be too dull. In this case, ask yourself, are you just in a relationship to be in one? Or are you staying to prevent the other person from getting hurt?
Success looks different for everyone as do the goals to get there. Being rich doesn’t have to mean success. It could simply mean earning a living to contribute to the family.
But if your partner doesn’t seem to care about anything that even hints “responsibility,” it’s probably time for a change.
Of course, partners who are actively working through mental health issues or are trying to succeed, but failing, don’t count. We’re talking about people who would rather you succeed for them while they put no effort.
If you feel like your partner is disrespecting you, it’s time to cut ties. Whether they put you down, downplay your accomplishments, or any other form of trying to make you feel less, they’re not worth your time.
Sometimes, we try to have discussions with people and their behavior in hopes that it will change. While many behaviors can and do change in relationships, disrespect is something fundamental that most people should already have.
Just typing this sends me back to all the rollercoasters I’ve been on and they all have one thing in common: They suck SO bad and they had no chances of working.
If you’re in a constant state of worry or anxiety about your partner or the state of the relationship, that’s unhealthy. I’ve yet to learn of an off and on relationship that’s become stable over the years. If there is one, chances are at least one party is unhappy.
Whether it’s because of constant arguments or their erratic behavior, it’s time to jump off the ride. The tumble off will be rough but it’s a lot better than the treacherous train and inevitable crash.
Everyone has bad days or situations they’re going through that make them sad or depressed. A good partner should be able to sit with you through those emotions, even if they can’t help you feel better.
You don’t need a partner that uses toxic positivity, downplays your feelings, assumes you should just “snap out of it,” or any other form of making you feel worse.
I should say that this annoying trait can be present in anyone, but most commonly in men since they tend to think of themselves as “fixers” who can fix issues. It’s more difficult to find men who are comfortable enough with their own emotions to sit with you through yours. But they’re worth it. And so are you.
If it’s early in the relationship, you’re still learning about your partner. Actually, you’re always probably still learning about your partner and even more so as you both change together.
However, if it’s been a long time and you still feel like you can’t get a grasp on who they are, that can be a red flag. Maybe it’s that the person has a hard time opening up. Or maybe it means they’re not that invested.
Whatever the cause, if they’re unwilling to change, you should be willing to leave.
Many times, relationships make us into better people because we learn about ourselves and how to compromise.
Other times though, the opposite is true. We may pick up someone’s bad habits or just become a ruder person in general.
If this is the case, ask yourself if your partner has contributed to these negative changes. In the end, yes, they are your actions and you can’t blame anyone else. However, the saying “you are your 5 closest friends (or boyfriends” has some merit. We tend to be influenced by the people around us, after all.
Of course, if you’re looking for a short fling or just hookups, that’s a different story. But if you’re in a committed relationship and you can’t envision yourself staying with them, what’s the point?
If you already know it won’t work or you’ve grown apart, you’re only moving the breakup down the line. That’s actually hurting you and the other person more in the long run.
The most simple, yet often painful, reason to breakup is because there’s no spark anymore. It’s hard to tell someone you fell out of love or that there’s no connection.
But if that’s how you feel, keeping it to yourself only makes the situation worse: The other person grows more attached with time and you waste time you could be happy (and time they could be truly happy too). Set the other person free to find their person. And, set yourself free too.
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