It's a question in life that you never REALLY want to answer: When is it time to end a relationship?
Things build up. Something feels off. The magic has faded. Fights have taken over. Whatever it is that's causing this burning question to rise to the top - it's not going away. So you have to figure out if this skepticism is permanent, or just a phase. Tough call.
Relationships have rough patches all the time. In fact, I call them "growing pains." Many relationships hit tumultuous times when two big personalities are adjusting to one another. It's normal. So, trust me when I say: not every rough patch means the relationship should be over.
Alas, the question remains: When is it actually time to end a relationship? When is a rough patch no longer a rough patch, but a pattern?
Here is how you know when it's time to end a relationship:
1. You don't like yourself in the relationship
You know how colors look differently when lined up next to each other? Your blue eyes POP when you're wearing navy, turquoise, or a lovely shade of purple. It’s gorgeous, really. But then you choose a comfy brown sweater over your gem toned top, and your blue eyes transform to a dull gray. And when paired with white? Forget about it. Your baby blues have all but disappeared.
The same happens with people.
People can complement our personalities in vastly different ways. There’s the comedic side of you - the girl who puts on a funny show at cocktail parties and is everyone’s best friend. You even kiss people on the cheek as they exit the front door! So bold of you! Love the confidence, girlfriend.
There’s the vulnerable side of you - the girl who doesn’t shy away from intimacy and deep conversation. She can talk about anything without judgment, and offers her soul to whomever she’s in conversation with. It’s a gift.
Then, there’s a not-so-glamorous side to you. You know, the side you proudly buried away after your rebellious teenage years and prayed you’d never encounter again. She was sassy without the charm. Undeniably insecure and ready to pounce on anyone who dented her ego. She wasn’t you. At least, she wasn’t the you that you were proud of.
And you hope with all of your heart that you won’t fall in love with someone who’s complementary dynamic reintroduces her with vengeance. Because the reality of life is, other then ourselves, our romantic partners have the most influence over these different shades of our personality. It’s not a crazy idea to fear old habits re-emerging when you meet somebody new. It happens all the time.
So you MUST be honest with yourself when you ask, do you like yourself in this relationship?
Have you been introduced to a dazzling, confident, and kind version of yourself that you adore, or are you regressing back to poor habits and immature tendencies?
We all have flaws. We all have demons. It's not that we want to completely erase them - but we don't want to highlight them, either. And if our partner consistently brings out the worst in us, it's going to be hard to thoroughly enjoy yourself, or the relationship.
I want to make one thing exceptionally clear: this isn't necessarily your partner's fault. Your partner most likely cannot help how their personality complements yours. But regardless - you deserve to be in a relationship where you feel like a better person for it.
2. There isn't perceived equity in effort
Do you feel like you're carrying the relationship? Are you the one always reaching out? Making plans? Showing affection? Sharing stories? Asking questions?
Geeze. You must be exhausted.
People share and receive love in different ways. Your relationship does not need to be quid pro quo down the line. But if you don't perceive that the relationship is equal - that is a massive problem.
Everyone is busy. Everyone has baggage. Everyone has obligations. But when you're in a relationship, you make time for it, period. Otherwise you guys can just date and casually enjoy each other's company while you keep on living your life. Relationships require effort and commitment. So if you're not perceiving either - then what's the point? You deserve to be courted just as much as you should be expected to court. Walking away at least gives you the opportunity to find a balanced relationship.
3. You don't feel loved
One of the best perks of being in a relationship is having the solid belief that you are *special.* It’s the most magical, delusional, and downright incredible feeling in the world!
They chose YOU.
You get their kisses. You get their compliments. You get their affection. You are the chosen partner, and they are yours. You might as well be Queen of the freakin’ world.
So...if you don't feel this way, again, what's the point?
Not feeling loved has got to be one of the worst feelings EVER. Yes, I am all for self-love and completely encourage women to love themselves so much that it doesn't matter what other people think. But subjecting ourselves to feeling not loved on a daily basis just sounds like misery-poop stew.
Ya. That's a hard pass from me. And it should be for you, too.
Look, life is hard. There are going to be moments in life where you don't feel intelligent. You are going to have days when you think all of your hard work has been pointless. There will be months when you feel like absolutely nothing is going your way. I promise you, it will happen. So in those moments, the last thing you want is a partner who doesn't help build you back up. It's hard convincing ourselves of our worth - we don't need the duty of convincing our partner, too.
Let them go, and find someone who is dead sure of your fabulousness.
4. You know you don't love them
Do not let guilt, fear, shame, or embarrassment keep you in a relationship. Not only are you doing yourself a disservice, but you are completely screwing over your partner, too.
Breakups are hard. People get their feelings hurt. But human beings are resilient. We are wired for survival. We are designed to bounce back. And the hurt that we suffer is *completely* worth it when we are finally able to find someone who treats us the way we deserve.
But guess what? You - nor them - will get that opportunity if you hold onto a loveless relationship because you're scared of short-term consequences.
I say this with love: Get over it.
You are going to hurt people, and people are going to hurt you. That's life. So do what you know to be right and cut people free when you can't give them what they deserve. And hope to goodness that they do the same for you.
5. You love them, but you don't like them
We all know there is a *massive* difference between like and love. You love your family - but you don't always like your family. You like your next door neighbor, but you don't love them (especially when their damn dog barks all day). (This is not a personal reference). (Ok, yes it definitely is).
So ask yourself, do you like your partner?
Do you admire their accomplishments? Do you think they are a good person? Do you like their friends? Are they nice to strangers? Do they tip their waitresses? Do you brag about them to your family?
If you are struggling to come up with concrete things that you like about your partner, that's not a good sign. You need to love AND like your partner. (Leslie and Ben style!) Life is too long to be with someone you tolerate. They can have a good heart, and still not be the one for you. Give yourself permission to find someone who lights your haystack on fire AND is nice to your mother. They're out there. But you won't find them, unless you end it.
6. You are putting your life on pause
Let's get one thing straight: relationships are bonuses in life. The goal is to have an independently happy life, find someone who also has an independently happy life, and share your fabulously independent lives together.
So if your life is being put on hold because of their choices - that ain't good.
It's ok if there is a little give and take. Your relationship responsibilities won't always be evenly distributed. But you should always be able to pursue your goals, keep moving forward, and build the life you envisioned while you are dating somebody else (who ideally is doing the same thing). The two are not even close to being mutually exclusive.
There's another way of putting this: your significant other is holding you back.
You can love someone with all your heart, but they just might not be on your same frequency. This might not be their fault. It might not be anyone's fault. But if you can't ignore the reality that your life isn't progressing the way it should because of this relationship - things aren't going to get any better the longer you wait. You're only going to fall further and further behind on your goals, and in the end, you will resent your partner for the lost time.
Don't do that to them. Don't to that to yourself. End the relationship, and keep moving forward.
7. The negative outweighs the positive
This is pretty self-explanatory. If the fighting outweighs the kissing, the crying overshadows the laughing, the knots consume the butterflies - then it's time to move on.
The vast majority of romantic relationships are not meant to last. They are meant to teach you something, offer you some amazing memories, and fade away. Give the relationship the dignity it deserves and put it out of its misery. It's dying out, and it deserves a proper goodbye instead of a toxic and abrupt ending.
Yes, it's hard. But you're going to be just fine.
Thinking about ending a relationship?
I’m sorry. I know it’s difficult. You don’t like hurting others - and the idea of putting yourself first feels selfish. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not. By being honest with yourself and putting your needs first, you are allowing someone else to do the same. And wouldn’t that feel nice?
Take a deep breath and assure yourself that this will pass and you will be happy again. In the meantime, come check out the original article here, and grab a copy of our free affirmations to push you through. Say them daily. They will make this process much easier.
And, once you are in the breakup phase, we’ve got a free breakup book that covers everything you need to move forward. You can also come say hi to me and my online life coaching team. We are ready to help if you need it.