How to Know It's Time to Break Up - 5 Unmistakable Signs

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By Alexandra Waugh, MA

Are you wondering if it’s time to break up with your partner?

It’s never easy to talk about ending your relationship. Maybe you’ve felt distant for a long time, or you’re struggling about whether leaving is the right thing to do.

Though every relationship is different, the patterns are often the same. If you’re struggling to find satisfaction in your relationship, these signs may be indicating that it’s time to break up.

Not every romantic relationship is built to last and knowing when it’s time to part ways can allow you and your partner to do so amicably. It’s often easier to remain friends and can save you both a lot of stress and heartache.

If you’ve been struggling in your relationship and you’re wondering if it’s time for it to end, keep the following signs in mind.

1. You Don’t Feel Like Yourself

The people we spend most of our time around often impact the way we feel about ourselves.

If you’ve felt bad about yourself for a while, or you just simply don’t feel like “you,” take a look at your relationship.

Do you feel worse when you’re around your partner? Do you feel like you must put on some kind of an act when you’re around them? Alternatively, how do you feel when you’re by yourself or with other people?

If you feel bad about yourself when you’re with your partner or even when you think about them, it could be a clear sign that they’re the wrong person for you and it’s time to break up.

Compromise is important in a relationship, but you should never have to compromise who you really are to be with someone else.

2. There’s No Authentic Communication

There’s a reason communication is often considered the key to a successful relationship. Without it, you’ll never be able to reach a deeper level of intimacy with your partner.

Not only does strong communication help when it comes to diffusing arguments, but it’s also necessary to genuinely feel connected to someone.

If you can’t share your deepest thoughts and feelings with your partner, you’ll never be able to fully open up to them. Over time, that could lead to resentment.

3. You’re in Denial

It’s not easy to break up with someone, no matter the state of your relationship. Because of this, far too many people stay in relationships that aren’t working out because they don’t want to believe it’s really over. More so, they don’t want to believe something negative about their partner, even when it’s right in front of them.

The longer you remain in denial about the state of your relationship, the worse you’ll start to feel.

4. There’s No Way to Make It Work

Weighing out the pros and cons of your relationship can help you to decide if there is any way to make it work.

Sometimes, no matter what you come up with, there simply isn’t a way to make things better.

If you can’t see a positive way out of the current negative state of your relationship, it might be time to break up. Don’t wait for things to get better if you know they probably won’t.

5. You’re Not Genuinely Happy

One of the best ways to determine if it’s time to break up is to gauge your own happiness. Ask yourself if you’re truly happy in your relationship, and with your partner. If the answer is no, think about the reasons why.

While your happiness shouldn’t be dependent on another person, you also shouldn’t feel unhappy because of their behavior, or because of the state of a relationship. Of course, talking with your partner about the way you feel can make things easier on both of you. Chances are, it’s not just one-sided. If you feel like something is missing in your relationship, it’s a safe bet that your partner feels the same way.

Accepting that it may be time to break up can be extremely difficult and heart-wrenching. The result of holding on to each other too long risks a buildup of resentment and anger for you and your partner.

Approaching your partner with your feelings of dissatisfaction, in a kind and caring way, and getting those feelings out in the open can sometimes help rebuild the relationship or make it easier for you both to realize you’re not the right fit for each other. It’s an emotionally-healthy and responsible way to resolve issues in the relationship with as little hurt as possible.

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Alexandra Waugh, MA, is a licensed professional counselor intern at the Relationship Counseling Center of Austin. Alexandra specializes in helping young adults navigate the rocky terrain that accompanies break-ups, and will make the journey with you to recognize your own self-worth. To schedule your appointment with Alexandra, you can reach her at (512) 270-4883, ext. 113, or request an appointment with her on the RCC Austin Scheduling page.